Luke Sanders – Hong Kong University

So as you may well know, as of September 1st 2009 I will be an official student of Hong Kong University. If you don’t know this, chances are you don’t know me, so I feel an introduction is need on my part.

My name is Luke Sanders, and I’m a 2nd going on 3rd year maths student at the University of Edinburgh, going on a foreign exchange with university. For 1 year I’ll be an exchange student in the “Special Administrative Region of China” or country (let’s keep things simple) in which you are not allowed to have private fireworks parties! (Told you I’d give you some interesting facts….). Now for anyone at university interested in doing a year abroad, it’s actually relatively simple. Most universities in the country offer some form of exchange program such as Erasmus(link at end) or other more international programs, which are open to most students providing you make the grade. Edinburgh University itself offers exchanges to a variety of places all over the world, but being the master of eating noodles and singing KTV (Chinese Karaoke) badly, I decided to apply for Hong Kong. It must be said I’m really looking forward to living and studying in Hong Kong. I hope to have an exciting time, have lots of exciting new experiences and meet lots of exciting new people, and fingers crossed my Cantonese language skills should improve too, (I’ll try and teach you guys a bit too in the process). But needless to say I’m slightly nervous about the whole prospect.

Now in reality I have nothing to worry about. They teach in English, everyone is very friendly (supposedly), my past travels in China should make the culture shock bearable, Hong Kong is a very safe city (again supposedly), But the prospect of living in a completely foreign city for a year is just a little bit daunting. For a start there’s the climate difference. With a subtropical climate, and average temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius in the summer, I’m in for a bit of a change from the strong winds and rain of Edinburgh (I have 4 bottles of factor 50 kids sun cream already)! Secondly I have living arrangements. Now I’d never affiliate myself with one particular religion. For me religion is a very personal thing, but I still wouldn’t describe myself as a religious person, and I really hope this doesn’t prove to be a problem next year when I’m living with the Jesuit fathers. Fortunately for me the Jesuits seem like pretty knowledgeable guys, and run one of only two student accommodation buildings featuring single bedrooms. The final worry is about the food. Now

don’t get me wrong I love proper authentic Chinese and Cantonese food, but 3 months without bread was bad enough, so fingers crossed there’s some Hong Kong bakers about that know how to make a decent loaf, in fact even a Cantonese Warburton’s would do me (Wongburton’s anyone?). So that’s all from me for today, I’ve lots of visa prep and packing to be doing, so thanks for reading.

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