I found out about the Auckland exchange programme during my first year of university when some flyers were distributed in class. I had never been to Hong Kong before and had no idea what to expect, which was both nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. When I first arrived, I was fascinated with all the big skyscrapers and huge amounts of people everywhere. Nevertheless, I quickly adapted to this new, exciting environment I was in.
I was lucky enough to get a place at HKU’s student accommodation, which was very cheap considering HK is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in. I was also selected for a single room that I was very grateful for, as most of the student accommodation involves sharing a room. The accommodation I chose was also catered for mainly postgraduate students, meaning the rules were very relaxed - luckily!. Although the uni hosted an orientation, my first week in HK mainly consisted of discovering this new city with the fellow exchange students from my student dorm, which was lots of fun!
The course load at HKU was fairly challenging, however, I chose papers that only had coursework at the end rather than exams. Therefore, it wasn’t too stressful. Hong Kong is such an easy city to live in and has so much to offer. From great restaurants and amazing nightlife to beautiful scenery, there is truly something for everyone. The best thing about Hong Kong is that it’s located right in the heart of Asia, with cheap flights all across the region making it ideal for travelling. While on exchange I got to travel to mainland China, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
HKU’s campus is also in a great location and has all the amenities you can think of. The study library was open 24/7 and really well organised. Hong Kong is also great place to be if you like nice food. From it’s classy restaurants to street food stalls, I got to try all sorts of delicious Asian food. The local dim-sum places were a favourite among the exchange students, since they were cheap and tasty. What’s great about living in Asia compared to other places was that there was so much variety of food places that cooking at home wasn’t necessary. We could easily afford to eat out most nights, given that there was so many cheap places to eat out at.
Overall, the highlight of being in Hong Kong was that there was always something new and exciting to do. I also now have friends in different places across the world! The hardest part of the exchange was having to leave! I could definitely have stayed in Hong Kong longer, there was still so many things I hadn’t done yet by the time I left. For anyone thinking of going on exchange, you must do it! This year has definitely been the most amazing experience for me.