HKU Academics / Final Overview

For my studies at HKU, my group observed the area Jardine’s Lookout. Working in groups is always an interesting experience, and even more so when you’re mixing them with different languages and cultures. I enjoy the process of meeting new people, and figuring out a way to make the group its most successful, and hopefully most enjoyable for each team member. There’s a need to quickly assess each others skill sets, and devise a team plan for the project, especially under short deadlines such as we had. Then next, it is set out tasks and get to work. One thing that I learned no matter your culture or background, is the importance of finding a connection with each-other. While academics, and work are important, at the heart of life is human interaction. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my teammates, even through the sometimes extremely long days and nights.

Our group consisted of myself, the dashing designer extraordinaire, Sherlock, the charismatic leader, and Susan, the one of a kind behind the scenes hard worker. We headed off to our site to understand it’s people, location, history, and overall and most importantly its story. What is this place now? What did it use to be, and where is it going? How do the people interact in this space? We observed, but knew that we would have to interact with the inhabitants as well. The area was very inactive, with the majority of people that were on the streets waiting at bus stops. An occasional dog walker, some housemaids, and lots of nice cars.

The area was named after the businessman William Jardine, who used the hillside to spot ships to get information on the world markets quickly. As time progressed the British used the hill to fight the Japanese, but ultimately got defeated. The site continues to be used for its views, but now mostly for pleasure. The area is occupied by very wealthy business people and celebrities, and is very closed off from the public. High walls surround the houses, and lack of public space keep outsiders from staying and enjoying the area. Space really defines this area. The hillside attracts a certain demographic of people that can afford the view, and keeps those out that can’t.

For project one I was in charge of researching the history of our area, as well as creating a visual timeline showcasing how Jardine’s Lookout has changed over the years; taking lots of photos to highlight the area, its people, and the housing; creating and coloring 3D models for housing development; making graphics and maps of housing, and migration from other areas of HK to Jardine’s (these didn’t make the final cut); and a couple of graphs highlighting demographics, and income. On the second project I was the host and film editor. Both projects were very different, yet worked to inform one another. They both took a lot of hard work to make, and I’m very proud of what our team accomplished. Not only was our work great, but I think the class as whole really produced outstanding work.

Take a look below, and I hope you enjoy our work.

UPDATE 9/14/15

Finally looking back over the trip the biggest thing that I wish we had was more time. The experience was amazing, and we learned and explored so much. Things just felt a little time crunched as we packed everything together. There weren’t a lot of huge hurdles to cross per se, when making the transition to Hong Kong. It was just adapt and take in as much as possible. The food was amazing, as was the culture. The biggest transition was coming back to the states and trying to readjust to life here. The biggest thing I noticed about people in general is that we can adapt to any situation. So no matter the area you live in whether in the states or in Hong Kong and its many diverse communities, people will adapt and make a life there. That being said, life can always be improved through better created environments which is a large part of why we study what we do. Looking back to the studies and moving forward, I’ve taken away the insight of humans being able to adapt and create communities even where none existed before. As a designer it’s part of my responsibility to create better resources for people so that quality of life can be improved no matter where you live.

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 presetProject One PDF Link

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 presetTeam Awesome



Week 1 – Recap

Week One was full of non-stop adventure. The views pretty much say it all in these pictures as we explored Hong Kong through its history, architecture, and most importantly food. After the weekend of orienting oneself to the fast paced life of the city, Monday arrived along with our first day of classes. We did some morning exercises with the class to meet each other; not the workout kind, but walking around the campus could qualify as such. Taking class tours, group tours, and personal walks, have made me appreciate Hong Kong not only on the surface level of aesthetic and design, but on a personal level and all its people that make up the city.

To be honest since I’ve arrived, the trip has been stringing each day together as we’ve been going non-stop; so it’s nice to take time to write a post and collect oneself, or sit down at a meal with the HKU students, our own group, and the UO alumni to just appreciate simple human connection. It’s been great getting to know each person on this trip, and I hope we continue to keep in touch and maybe one day join the great UO alumni in this amazing city.

The first week was a blur in my mind, as we went non stop from place to place, morning to night. There was so much to process, but a lot that can’t be processed until after the trip really. In order to make the transition to a place like Hong Kong you kind of just have to jump in and live at its pace. Granted this was a short academic trip, so we were on the move even more so than a normal study abroad or visiting trip. I attribute most of the pace to just that, trying to see and experience as much as we could in such a short time period. This could be the best way to experience a culture such as Hong Kong; jump in quickly and learn fast. By the second week I felt more confident in my understanding of space and environment and could see myself living in a city such as this. In a lot of ways I was reminded of the larger bustling cities in the states, but they still didn’t compare to the dense non stop life of HK. Life was abundant here late into the nights, seeing even families with kids walking around in the crowds as the clocked ticked further on.

To be honest I still am not sure of how I feel about the place. I mean I love it here, the city, the people, but I feel like I still need time to truly appreciate it. It’s like watching a great movie or reading an amazing novel, sometimes it takes time to appreciate and understand the experience that you just went through. Sometimes you need to experience it a second time to really understand something more on a deeper level. That’s the way I feel about the trip right now, its been a lot, but not enough at the same time. I need time to sit and think on it, and I need to revisit Hong Kong again to really solidify my relationship with it.


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Day 1- Exploring HK

We all made it together for our first official day in Hong Kong! Feeling slightly jet lagged from arriving late the night before, we met for breakfast to greet each other and prep for our first day of exploration.  But first let me take you through the journey of my day.

It was a rainy morning, with deep rumblings of thunder off in the distance. After taking a refreshing shower and getting dressed, I walked outside to the outside balcony off of the “Executive Suite”. I instantly started sweating. The air was thick, hot and muggy which reminds me of Alabama’s weather, where I often visit my mom’s side of the family.

After my morning stretch and trying to fully awaken, my roomie Wei and I headed downstairs for breakfast to meet up with the rest of the crew. Happy to see everyone, we dove into breakfast and made plans for the first full day.

That’s all the time we have for now. Stay tuned and find out if Kellie ever finds a camera charger, if Andrew gets lost, and if we ever get to have smoothies.

To be continued…

Update 9/3/2015

I’m going through to add to this post, post trip to talk a little bit more about my experiences on all of the tours that we’ve had. Thinking back to this post a couple weeks ago, and thinking about all that was going on is still a little bit difficult for me to fully process. Honestly I don’t think it will be until I get back into the swing of life and school back here, will I really start to unpack my experience. Arriving just the night before on little sleep from the exhaustive plan ride, the firm mattress in our rooms were very welcoming. I arrived that night with my classmate Andrew, riding the airport express and taxi to Robert Black. It took a while to figure our way around, but figured it all out easy enough. By the time of the second week we would all become pros at navigating the city with the help of the MTR, buses, and taxis. I met my roomy for the trip, Wei, that night and we talked a little bit before I completely knocked out asleep.

The next morning not really sure if I was awake or tired, we met all together for breakfast excited for the weeks to come. Sparing no time for rest we embarked on our experience of Hong Kong. I didn’t really know what to expect from the trip, nor was I worried or apprehensive. I’ve learned over the years, the best way to take on a new experience is to take what is given to you and make the best out of that moment. We were there to learn, experience, and grow as individuals, and also to bond as a team with our group and the HKU group. I don’t think I ever really got over my jetlag, and sleep is very important, but experiencing the city with the UO team and HKU students was priceless. Its the experiences we have with others that we can continue to share with each-other throughout the years after. I wouldn’t have changed anything about this trip, maybe a little more time and sleep, but isn’t that what every student wishes for.

Also to answer the questions above, Kellie did buy a charger, Andrew didn’t get lost, he actually became quite the expert. Wei did get stuck on the MTR by himself once, and almost didn’t make it through customs in Macau, but we all stuck together and made it out. I did have one smoothie, but beyond that, there was this ice cream I had that was beyond amazing.

Here’s to an amazing trip, and many more to come.

Gānbēi (Cheers),


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