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Journals from Hong Kong Baptist University

2010-09-28 Arrival in Hong Kong

Upon my arrival in Hong Kong the humidity greeted and refreshed me like a used towel.  This uncomfortable feeling best describes my first impression of the city.  Since Hong Kong is my birth place, I did not expect to immediately experience homesickness.  Nevertheless, this was the case.  What should have been a home-coming welcome, instead, made me second- guess my decision to study for a semester abroad within the first hours of setting foot in the place.  The guide on our bus tour of Hong Kong (complimentary and part of our Exchange Student Orientation) described the city as a “concrete jungle.”  This comparison explains the reason for my initial homesickness.  The cold, colorless hue of the towering skyscrapers can make a person feel insignificant and unwelcome.  However, on that same night, I found a source of warmth within this chill atmosphere.  At 1:30 A.M., after many failed attempts to connect to the internet and my family on the other side of the world, my despair increased as did the temperature in the sweltering 90°F room, as well.  In a desperate attempt, I called to a male student who was passing in the hallway for help.  The student not only agreed but stayed for twenty to thirty minutes attempting to solve the problem with my internet connection.  During that time, the Floor Tutor aka Resident Advisor (RA) welcomed me to the eighteenth floor and paid for a night’s worth of air conditioning for my miserably hot room.  Though the internet problem did not go away that night, my homesickness did.  Without friends, and nice people, in general, my time abroad would be completely different.  Being open to meeting people from different countries allows you to develop the cross-cultural aspect of your study- abroad experience.   The friends I’ve made here sustain the warm and welcoming feeling that makes me see the nighttime jewels, the twinkling city lights, embedded in the grey skyline. 

Michele Wong

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