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Journals from Hong Kong Baptist University

2010-11-30 Info for Incoming exchange students

Here is a list of four things I wondered about before coming to Hong Kong.

1. Luggage--
Personally, one large suitcase for check-in and one small one for carry-on were more than enough to carry what I needed to Hong Kong. Remember to allow for enough space to hold things you buy in Hong Kong/on your travels. Unless you’re adamant on bringing your own, bedding, pillows, and dishware can be purchased cheaply at an IKEA two MTR stops away.

2. Meal plan/ daily meals--
The canteen (dining hall) at HKBU offers food that ranges from $HK10 - $HK25. It’s the cheapest ready-made food around campus. However, I wouldn’t advise eating there every day. The menu does not change; most of it consists of grains and very few vegetables. For example, rice or noodles with some kind of meat. Grocery stores and one traditional Chinese produce market are located within 15 minutes (walking) of campus for those who want to cook for themselves. Each floor in the residence halls has one kitchen. Just as far away are several restaurants that are priced starting around $HK30.

3. Transportation--
The MTR underground railway is the most convenient way to get around the major centers of Hong Kong. Fill out the form on the first week of school to claim ‘student status’ on the card you need to get around, the “octopus card.” This allows you at least 50% off of the fare. The Kowloon Tong MTR station is a 15-minute walk from campus, and, if you plan on doing anything in Hong Kong, you’ll make the trek there, often. Mini buses and public buses are available and allows you to see more of the city but are less convenient, require more knowledge of the schedules and, sometimes, you to speak in Cantonese.

a) When you first arrive in Hong Kong, you’ll wonder why the IPO office advises you to bring warm-weather clothing. The humidity is extremely hard to get used to in the beginning, and be prepared to sweat, a lot. After October, the temperature drops about 20 degrees F and you’ll need to modify your wardrobe some. Though it seems much colder, the temperature here has not dropped much below 70 degrees F. A lot of warm- weather clothing isn’t necessary, a light jacket, jeans, and a sweater are fine.
b) The most important are a light sweater or a scarf. The temperature difference between indoor and outdoor Hong Kong is extreme! Even now, we’re chilled by the Air Conditioner that constantly blasts in the classrooms. Every mall I’ve encountered has AC, as well, so always have a sweater or scarf on hand.
c) Rain-- The first half of the semester displayed the most sporadic torrents of rain I’ve ever experienced. Even though I'm from Oregon where the weather is highly unpredictable, the rain here still surprised me. Most people have an umbrella on hand at all times during that time. Raincoats don’t seem sufficient for the ocean that comes out of the sky at these times.

Don’t worry too much about the difference between Hong Kong and your home. In a short time, you’ll forget about that concern.

Michele Wong

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