By Alexandra Ure (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
I cannot believe that I am now halfway through my study abroad experience in Hong Kong, which is constantly shaping up to be the best year of my life. Semester two commenced a few days ago so I’ve been settling back into the Asian lifestyle after spending the past few weeks back in the UK over the Christmas period.
I am excited to be back in Hong Kong to continue to explore and immerse myself in this vibrant, colourful city and to complete my bucket list. Although it has been somewhat bittersweet returning as the majority of exchange students were only here for a semester, so it is odd not having the same friends surrounding you but is also exciting to meet a whole new bunch of exchanges!
Spending Christmas back in the UK was lovely as, for me, I wouldn’t have been able to hack the full year here without seeing my family and friends and having a good old roast! However, many of my friends who are also on a year exchange did not go back home and took the time to continue travelling; some changed flights to do so whilst others still returned home, so it really does depend on how you feel as the semester progresses. I would make sure that you book flights either with British Airways as they always charge a £100 fee to change flights, or STA where you can buy a flexi-ticket for around £80 I believe; I booked through Travel Trolley and it would have cost me over double to reschedule. I would have also loved to travel but my bank balance would not have thanked me, so I have been awaiting my next loan instalment, true student style.
During semester one I travelled to the Philippines and Japan which was truly amazing. I will never get tired of Asian cultures – I find every aspect so refreshing and interesting. Studying abroad has opened up a whole new world of opportunities for travel which I have not been able to experience before and can’t wait to continue experiencing. Regular national holidays and professors’ accommodating natures allows you to easily hop on a short plane journey to fulfil your travelling needs! With Chinese New Year being just over a month away and having a whole week off university, I hope to take my itchy feet to China (and maybe put my Mandarin into practice).
Below are a few photos of my travels to the Philippines and Japan, including a video of Japan.
Reflecting upon my first semester at PolyU in Hong Kong, for the second chapter of my Asian adventure I hope to continue to promote Manchester and the study abroad scheme, meet more people from around the world and continue to enjoy studying at this renowned fashion University.