By Olivia Hunnybun.
Leaving England behind was not difficult for me, mainly because the whole thing did not feel real. For now excitement, curiosity and novelty surpass any feelings of anxiety or isolation from people I care about… So hey I may as well enjoy it while it lasts!
Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport!
If I were to do this trip with hindsight I would do 3 main things differently;
1. Leave more time for possible delays
My accommodation (at Wah Ming Centre) check-in closed at 5, so after 2 delayed flights it was already too late. To make things worse Tom’s bag got lost in transit so we hung around to fill out forms then extended the journey time by taking the train to Hong Kong station. I was practically falling asleep standing but I was amazed by all the skyscrapers. It is worth arriving in the morning if you want to check-in that day! Luckily I was able to pick up my keys from Tom’s accommodation and, after being particularly underwhelmed by my flat, tried to get some sleep.
2. Eat and drink plenty
My first day was spent chasing paperwork and trying my best to remember the names of people I was meeting. It is extremely hot here and there are steep hills everywhere you go (basically the direct opposite of Manchester!), so it is easy to get dehydrated. I was with a group of new people planning to get food together, but by the time we had got lost on campus several times and made it to a restaurant it was 7PM. I realised I hadn’t eaten all day and felt really sick so I headed back to Wah Ming Centre. It is a pretty horrible feeling trying to find your way home not knowing whether you are going to faint or throw up on the side of the road. Actually it was the latter. After lying down in the cool for an hour I felt almost back to normal which I guess proves the importance of looking after your body in a foreign place.
3. Pack appropriately
Just the thought of wearing any of the denim jeans I brought makes me sweat. I don’t think I anticipated just how humid it is here! The university dress code is also much more formal than in the UK; therefore smart clothes for certain events and frequent high table dinners are needed. Stupidly I only have flip flops, trainers or pumps, which is not ideal when everybody has such small feet here. No shops nearby have any shoes (save for sandals) that go up to UKSIZE 6 – Big shame I’ll need to go shopping at Causeway Bay!
What I have realised is you don’t know what you don’t know and therefore lots of things seem to go wrong at first. However it hasn’t damped my experience as the discovery of this vibrant and busy place has made for an awesome beginning.