Going on this study abroad was both a treat and a challenge for me, since I was just starting out in school and I had no confidence in going on a study abroad so soon. I had two major challenges that I saw right away before even starting on this program.
The first was my lack of confidence in working with others, especially with people older than me. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with my teammates because I would be too intimidated. However when the groups were picked out for the project, I couldn’t be happier with my teammates! Both could speak Cantonese and Mandarin so there was no problem with the language barrier. And even though both of them are graduate students and older than me, I felt as if I belonged and had a place in that group. They gave such good advice for both academic and personal life that I feel as if I know them already for a long time. When we went to our site for the first time as a group, we were all excited to start on this experience together. By the end of our program, we were all sad because I had to go but we made a small promise to see each other again; whether it is they come over to the US or I go back for another study abroad in Hong Kong!
The second challenge was working with the professors. Meeting and working with new professors for the first time is an intimidating process. I was worried that I wouldn’t, again, be able to communicate my thoughts and understand the feedback they would give me. However, getting to know Gavin was such a treat! He is the funniest and so far most mesmerizing professor that I know. On the first day, we took a tour of Hong Kong and he kept all of us on our toes trying to catch up with him and giving us important facts and information about the old Hong Kong. And usually I am too shy to talk to professors but this whole program gave me many chances to talk with the professors and strike up conversations both about academic matters and somewhat personal matters as well. I learned that professors are easy to talk to, no matter what the topic is.
My experience in Hong Kong has led my future plans down a different direction that what I thought I would head down. Now, I am also thinking about yet another study abroad back in Hong Kong; except this time I would like to stay longer and actually take a quarter or semester there to see what it’s like to be a full time student there. However, this experience also just strengthened my long-term goal of maybe finding a job there. I wanted to work there before because I like the busy lifestyle in Hong Kong and I like the environment there. Plus I have lots of friends and family there so I won’t be so lonely if I live there! And, the UO Alumni dinner was also a plus because I got to meet people who actually work in Hong Kong and talking with them gave me yet another connection to Hong Kong.
Overall, I thought that this program is great! Although it was only two weeks and it was jam-packed with the projects, it was well manageable. The only thing I wished was a bit more efficient would be the planning of the events. The events were great, however the time to prepare for the events or making the itinerary was very short and I felt rushed at times.
For the future study abroad students, I would say to get to know the language of the place you’re going to! It would be very helpful and you can communicate better with the other students from there. And don’t be afraid to go to new places; you’re there for the program but also for yourself! Have fun and explore… you never know what you’re going to find!
Video Link: https://vimeo.com/139266509
Cheers and see you all soon!
During the second and last week of the study abroad program, we had to create a video about the place that we researched for the first week. My role in this assignment was to partly video record and piece together the video, as my teammates did not exactly know how to do that. To remind everyone, my place was Ma Wan Island, which is the home of some luxurious residents that can afford so in Hong Kong. Filming here was easier than expected and we did the first part with ease. The second part of the island however, was a little harder to record since the villages that still reside on Ma Wan Island do not like to be filmed and asked questions.
My Team: Bernice, Edward, and Bella
Doing this video and seeing it in film reminded me of a place near San Francisco called Sausalito. Sausalito is small, and is home to some wealthy residents who like to be in a “quiet spot” of their own. There are small restaurants and stores, just like Ma Wan Island, and the residents like to walk along the shore throughout the day. The only difference there is between these two areas is that there are no twenty-story apartments for the residents at Sausalito! But they do have the same height because most of the houses in Sausalito are built on the hillside. Ma Wan Island was also the same, except I had no idea there were two kinds of residents on the island: the rich Park Island residents, and the Ma Wan villagers. Still seeing that there are still the old ways in Hong Kong makes me happy to know that there is still an authentic part of Hong Kong left.
View of the Tsing Ma Bridge: Ma Wan Island
When presenting this video, it was very different than what we had to present for the poster board. The first is that, there is animation! There are a lot of things you can do; the possibilities are endless with animation. I had to be careful to piece clips together to make sure that the video would tell some sort of orderly story, or else it wouldn’t make sense in the slightest. And making a video brings life from the stillness of the board; it brings out the noise and small activity you would never have guessed.
Taking a break from filming
Making the video was fun, and having my teammates’ opinion on some parts made it even better in the end. Without their help, the video wouldn’t have ended with such a dramatic ending! And hearing the audience laugh along while watching the video also gave me a sense of relief that they also enjoyed watching the video as much as I enjoyed making it. My group consisted Bernice, the camerawoman who filmed some clips that were most enjoyable, and Edward, who was the “director” of our little film crew! We each had a part but we also shared each other’s parts. We weren’t scared to voice our opinions out and give suggestions to what might make the video even better.
The original entry gate of Ma Wan island
I’m sure everyone had a great time making his or her videos, and hopefully everyone enjoyed the experience as much as I did!
This week was exceptional to say beyond the least! Even after all of my trips to HK, this has to be the best one yet! This first week of this program came with expected and unexpected turns. I expected everyone to be students who want to work hard, yet have fun in the process of making the project. The most unexpected, I never would have guessed that this would be so hard! Although it is a simple assignment that the professors have given to us last week, there was so much thought put into the process that we simply did not have enough time to do what we wanted for the first project!
But let me start off with the beginning of the week where we got to meet the students of HKU for the first time. We started with a physical activity that was creative beyond words and had hidden depth and imagination to it. During this activity, I basically met half of the HKU students in 10 minutes! In the afternoon, we went to basically walk from mountain to seaside of Hong Kong and it was breath taking to say the least… literally! It was hot that day and we were all sweating crazily where I couldn’t feel that I was drenched. The next day, we were introduced to our assignment for the first time and I was put into a group that had the wonderful and beautiful Bernice from HK, and hilarious Edward from Guangzhou area! Luckily, all of us can speak Cantonese so that it is easier for us to communicate each second we’re together! Although I have to say, they were extremely surprised to know I could speak Canto. It’s a wonderful feeling to work with fellow students who can speak in the native tongue that you were brought up in. Although I wish sometimes that we had a fellow student who could only speak Mandarin and English, that would have been fun to be talking in three different languages all at once!
Andrew and Austin hiding from the sun
My site visit was at Ma Wan Island, which is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from Central. This island, in the past, was for fishing villagers only and they lived a content life until the British decided to make it into their land and buy it off from the villagers to create a more peaceful and better environment for Hong Kong people. My group has to study the well-off residents of Ma Wan Island, also called Park Island (for them). We quickly took pictures, sketched a couple drawings, and walked around until I had to leave for the UO alumni dinner, which was great because we all got to meet successful architects who graduated from UO!
Panorama of Park Island, view from the ferry entrance/exit
Delicious, rich and creamy tiramisu. Complimented with white wine, which was an excellent pair
The rest of the week was basically doing the project, which, I think, turned out splendid. My group had a simpler approach towards the project that is both fascinating and unique from all the other groups. After the presentation time, all of us went to celebrate a HKU student’s birthday with a wonderful seafood dinner and a visit to Lam Kui Fong. The weekend was packed with a personal afternoon tea session with my guardian, Clare, on Saturday and dinner with my other family friend. On Sunday, we all went to Macau where we had the most unusual entrance! But afterwards, we each had fun. The most hilarious thing is, I got to split open a coconut with my hands! And meeting with some family afterwards was also great, I haven’t seen them in 12 years!
Delicious Portuguese sausage 🙂 it goes great with bread
This day started off with a rainy morning filled with thunder and heavy rain, making my trip from my guardian’s house to Robert Black College very nerve-wracking. We (the students and professor Cheng) all met up and we were shown around campus by two second-year graduate students, Jasmine and Laura. During our tour around campus, we happened to pass by an enormous HKU sign and I thought that it was a great welcoming sight for the new study abroad group, even though it was raining!
After we went to grab lunch at a seafood restaurant, we went to the history museum in Tsim Sha Tsui. There we learned about the history of Hong Kong from the Paleolithic Age to the Present Day. Inside this exhibition was a life sized street from the early times and it was amazing to see how it really was for people living at that time. There was also an interesting European building that was included with the Opium Wars section that I loved the design of! However, the most interesting part of this exhibition to me was learning about the Hakka people and their way of life. Since my father’s side is Hakka, it was most interesting to learn about my ancestors and what they did during that time. I got to see the type of house they lived in and, for a moment, I felt like I was part of that time period.
After the museum, we went to cross Kowloon Park and saw the beauty of exotic plants and trees that keep the air of Hong Kong as clean as possible. Afterwards, we saw the skyline view of HK and spent a good time over there to cool off and catch a breeze before heading down to take the infamous Star Ferry back to Central. From there we decided to head back to RBC since everyone seemed to be tired from jet lag. Not long after we settled down in our rooms again, we went to grab dinner back in Central. We tried searching for a place but couldn’t find it so we all decided to eat at a small place tucked into the street called Crab Noodles, which their main theme on the menu is… crab!
Afterwards we walked around a bit before deciding to head back and let the others have a good night’s rest since they just arrived two days ago. Until next time!