We often form expectations, create mental images for what will happen and what it will mean. Yet none of which were able to match what we actually faced in Hong Kong. Upon departing the plane, even just walking through the tunnel the connected back into the terminal I was blasted with humidity and heat (Note, this was in six in the morning). Adjusting to the different environment was among the hardest challenges. Everywhere you went, you were met with a barrage of people. That included the endless stream of pedestrians that commonly overflowed into the equally packed vehicular roadways, to the interesting array of automobiles. With such human/building multitude, the experiences go far beyond simply visuals; as we immersed ourselves in the streets of Hong Kong, the city eagerly fought to control our senses. There were the blaring lights and car horns, the subtle humming of million air conditioning units, the arguing shopkeepers, and, of course, the sweet aroma of food. Not to say other cities are not vibrant and lively, but while many cities have their quirks that beckon you towards them, Hong Kong persona seems to assert what it has to offer, as it vigorously hauls you in.
Another challenge was the communication of ideas. Aside from the language barriers within the groups, there was the difficulty in presenting our research and knowledge on the poster or in words. Mainly, I found the most challenging part of this to be the consolidation of ideas. After spending approximately two days studying the landscape of Mei Foo, we gathered a plethora of sections, interviews, layout plans. Determining what to keep and use from became challenging, especially since each person perception of an item’s importance varied. During the first week review, one of the instructors suggested to search/ stay close towards the main idea, or take-away. Even if not all the points are strong/relevant as others, sticking and returning to a key idea helps to focus the audience. Our group decided to deploy that advice in the second project, production of a video, and we started with brainstorming for a single point we wanted to make.
In regards to my career path, this trip greatly reinforced my passion for architecture and design. The program being meant for landscape architecture students, and graduate students at that, evoked some distress, intimidation and fear of inability to comprehend the course material. Thankfully, that was not the case, in any regards. As shown through one of our opening games, everything is connected, whether be architecture, astronomy, or finance. All of the fellow UO/HKU students and staff were approachable and willingly elaborated when misunderstandings arose. Being surrounded by a group talented, gifted individuals was hardly daunting, but much rather humbling, edifying, and even entertaining at times. I am more than overjoyed to have participated in this study abroad experience and have nothing but affirmations and gratitude to everyone who made it possible.
Thank you, and until next time Zai-Jian!
Video link to project two: