Apologies for the extreme lack of updates as I have been away having fun and not missing Auckland at all 🤪 Jokes (…🤫)! Seriously though, I’ve been having an absolute blast in Hong Kong, in some way it feels like school camp (just not in the woods and, I’m gone for a very long time). Talking to some of my friends back in Auckland, I’m hearing a bunch of ‘wish I was there’s. Not going to lie, it is really great here and I’d absolutely recommend exchange to everyone, but I thought I’d share some of the things I miss about New Zealand and UoA, just so you guys can take some time to appreciate it too.
- My family and friends.
I just googled and I’m 9,406 km away from home. For most of you guys, home is much closer than that. Even though I lived in halls while I was at university, I went home nearly every weekend to see my parents so despite being an independent person, let’s just say there was a slightly teary moment at a Café de Coral one night.
- Nice lecture theatres.
I think it depends a lot on your lectures and what you study, but currently all my classes in HKU are held in rooms with a flat surface plan and desks that you rest one hand on (not a great explanation but see picture below). It’s during my three-hour lectures that I really start to miss the cushy seats of OGGB. Also, when I’m sitting behind someone particularly tall, or actually someone even remotely tall, I cannot see. This being said though, the centennial campus of HKU and certain larger classrooms have very nice seats (sometimes even cushier than OGGB) that are staggered for better view of the front as well.
- No class participation marks.
There’s a huge misconception that classes in Asia have no emphasis on active participation, in fact it’s the absolute opposite. Class/tutorial participation counts for about 25% of my mark in one class and 15% in another class, in addition, group project/presentation counts for 25% and 10% in those same two courses, a third course has a group presentation worth 30%. If you’re someone that prefers asking/answering questions on piazza (like me 😛), or someone that prefers not asking/answering questions at all, be thankful that UoA doesn’t count class or tutorial participation marks (correct me if I’m wrong though!). Again though, not all classes in HKU are like this, none of my friends on exchange have class participation so it depends a lot on what you’re studying, group work and group presentation is present in nearly every course though, so enjoy 😊.
- Meat pies.
I’m not usually a pie eater, in fact I probably have one every year or two. Ever since coming to Hong Kong though, I’ve been craving a humble meat pie because honestly, I don’t think anywhere does a pie as good as New Zealand.
- Having a car.
Public transport in Hong Kong is extremely convenient, and a huge percentage of the population of Hong Kong don’t own a car. But living in suburban Auckland means I’ve gotten used to the comforts of having a car and someone driving me around (cheers mum). Especially when I’m subjected to the elements here (if you’re wondering, it’s still veeery hot) a nice air-conditioned vehicle to drive me where I need to go would be nice. On second thought though, parking would be a whole other issue, so maybe not 🤔.
- The normal temperatures.
Leading on from my last point. I’ve really come to appreciate New Zealand weather while I’m here. Bright blue skies, and all four seasons, I don’t miss the scorching sun or the strong winds but at least it doesn’t still feel like a sauna in autumn 😔.
- Great scenery.
There’s a bit of beauty in everything, even the concrete jungles of Hong Kong – in fact one of my closest friends who also came from UoA particularly loves this. But whenever I’m prompted on where I want to go, the reply is normally somewhere scenic or somewhere we can see the ocean. If you look hard enough, Hong Kong does have some extremely beautiful scenery (pictures down below), but it does make me wonder whether I could be doing a bit more travelling when I come back to New Zealand.
Aaand there you go, everything I miss about New Zealand. The benefits of being on exchange definitely outweigh these pangs of missing home, so I would definitely still recommend exchange for everyone!
Until next time x