Guest Post by: Zachary Wong, a Foster Junior studying Finance and Accounting. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient who participated on Foster Exchange at the University of Hong Kong for Fall Semester 2018.
When first arriving in Hong Kong, I noticed a few differences from life in Hong Kong versus life in Seattle. First off, there were so many taxis! I had never experienced anything like this ever before. The quickest method of transportation, although probably the most expensive option, was by taxi. There were many ways to get around Hong Kong including big buses, mini buses, the MTR, taxis, and the trolley. Many of my days included bus rides to campus and MTR rides down to Central, where many shops and great restaurants were. Most people took the bus or MTR when they needed to get places. Transportation in Hong Kong was both convenient and affordable, considering the number of people who live there.
The second thing I noticed that was considerably different was the temperature. As soon as I left the airport when I first arrived in Hong Kong, I was sweating. Arriving around the back end of the monsoon season, the first two weeks were considerably drenched with heavy rain and high winds. Being born and raised around the Greater Seattle area, I rarely used an umbrella when it rained. But because of the humidity and the rain, I was convinced that umbrellas were the best way to keep me dry and also allow me to wear loose clothing, so I wouldn’t be too warm. Though after the raining stopped, the weather was absolutely amazing. Perfect beach weather in October, which is unheard of in Seattle. Although, it was quite odd for me that the air conditioning in HKU’s classrooms were so chilly that I usually needed a sweatshirt. However, when I was outside it would be too humid and warm for me to wear a sweatshirt.
Another major difference I found in the lifestyle in Hong Kong was the fast-paced culture. Everyone was always on the move. I was not used to being surrounded by so many people when taking the bus, MTR, or trolley. During prime-time hours, roughly 9am or 5pm the MTR would be stuffed with people and I’d find myself shoulder to shoulder the entire ride. This difference took me the longest to get used to. I had never experienced public transportation this way. I found myself standing in the MTR the majority of the time because most seats were already taken when I got on. Although public transportation was often crammed, it was quite convenient to use for getting from place to place. I had very little trouble using Hong Kong’s public transportation system once I downloaded the CitybusNWFB app, which showed all bus routes of Hong Kong.
Nonetheless, once I got used to the environment and culture of Hong Kong, I fell in love with the city. From the rich night life, to hikes leading to a beach, Hong Kong is filled with many adventures. Though it took me a while to get used to Hong Kong, I learned to appreciate the lifestyle and hope to return to Hong Kong and work for a few years there in the future!