Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Days: Diving Into Hong Kong

Following a long morning of skyping with friends (Desmond and Anna) and eating breakfast at the hotel lounge, I decided to trade in my hotel room for a dorm suite. It was time to go to campus!
The receptionist at the hotel wrote "The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology" in Chinese so that the taxi driver would know where to take me (in case he didn't speak English). However, I was lucky and got a taxi driver who spoke a good amount of English :)

Here are some pictures of my journey to campus:

Oh, Hey Taxi Driver

Double-Decker Bus
Racing Across the Bridge

Busy Road

Getting close...

When my taxi driver drove me up to the front of the school, my jaw dropped...
I was met by a beautiful sight:

HKUST Driveway

HKUST Entrance
I rolled my two heavy suitcases towards the entrance and found a sign that was pointing exchange students to the dorms. It would have been nice... if only it had been pointing in the right direction (It took me 5 minutes of circling the atrium to realize this)! However, A MIRACLE OCCURRED!
I ran into one of the exchange students I had taken care of at UT: Howard Y.

(From Left) Howard, Eric, and I at a UT Volleyball Game
It's hard to believe that that was last semester. Time has flown by so fast!

After greeting each other with a big hug, Howard helped me with my luggage and led the way to my future home for the next few months: Hall VII.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: HKUST is built on a mountain, so they use a lot of lifts (elevators) to go down to different levels of the campus. Hall VII is at the very bottom of the hill, near the bay. Howard and I had to take about 5 lifts to finally arrive on the road that led to the hall!

Upon arriving, I filled out a few forms and got my key.
Catch a glimpse of my room and my reaction below:

Awesome, right?! AHHHHHH :)

I didn't have much time to enjoy the view, since I had to meet my HKUST buddy, Adrian, to go to IKEA. He will be the person who shows me around campus and Hong Kong, while also giving me advice about classes. He also went to UT last semester and is good friends with Howard, so I had already met him!

So Adrian and I hopped on to the minibus (at the campus bus stop) that took us to the MTR station (subway system here in HK). We got off at Kowloon Bay and made our way through the mall there to a shuttle bus that would take us to the Megabox. The Megabox is the new mall that now houses IKEA.
Check it out.

Minibus to the MTR Station

Adrian Waiting for the next Train

Shuttle to the Megabox
Megabox Mall


Shopping with Adrian

After a long day of shopping and setting up my new cell phone, Adrian and I ended the evening by eating some Japanese noodles at Ajisen Noodle. Good service. Good food.
I gave it a A-.
Ajisen Noodle
ADDITIONAL NOTE: At restaurants here in Hong Kong, waiters do not come to you like they do in the States. If you are ready to order, YOU have to call THEM over. You could sit there for hours and they would never come over until you give them the cue that you are ready.

When I got back to the dorm with all of my things, I got straight to work and turned my entire dorm room upside down! Take a look at the transformation:



I hope to get some things on the walls so it doesn't look so empty and sad. It continues to be a work in progress :)

This all happened yesterday.

Today, I concentrated on getting settled into school. I visited my Advisor here, Wendy, at the Business School Office. She was very sweet and gave me instructions on how to connect to the Internet from my room and where to get my student ID.

I set up everything in the local computer lab. It wasn't the Mil Lab, but I will take it for what it's for :)

After answering 2183712938 notifications on Facebook, another exchange student from UT (Michael T.) invited me to the HKUST 2011 Exchange Students facebook group. All the exchange students here are using it to communicate with each other and let the rest of us know what they are doing during the day... and evening.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: For some odd reason, the night-time activities are beginning to outnumber the day-time activities... I wonder why? Hahaha ;)

Anyways, within a few minutes of being added to the group, another exchange student from Michigan, Caroline, wrote a post asking if anyone want to go to the city. I responded and am so happy I did! It was such a blast :)

I met some really nice fellow exchange students:

Caroline (Michigan)

Rita (Ireland)

From Left: Jeremy (Michigan) and Mariel (Washington DC)

We went to three places. 

This part of downtown is considered the heart of the city.

Old Supreme Court Building
Bank of China Tower

HSBC Piggy Bank Competition

(From Left) Caroline, Rita, and Mariel
Rubbing One of the Lucky Lion Statues, Stephen, Outside of HSBC

Pretty good food. B+

My Dish: Soaked Rice with Meat Dumplings

THIRD STOP: MONG KOK (AKA "The Night Market")

There are so many shops! You almost feel like you are in shopping-heaven... and to make things even better, everything is very cheap... EVERYTHING. Phones, shoes, scarfs, jackets, shirts, magnets, jewelry, etc.

We had a lot of fun here, but due to two reasons, I don't have any pictures:

1. Cameras are banned from the area
2. My camera battery died.

I am currently recharging it, and it should be ready for what comes tomorrow...

Signing out from Hong Kong,


  1. What an amazing adventure, Lina! Can't wait to hear and see more about it. Thinking of you :)

  2. WOW! What an amazing view! and the city at night is fantastic! aahhh I'm so jealous!

  3. Sounds like you're already enjoying yourself. Yippeee!!! I just bookmarked your blog, so I can check at randomd times. I.e. during class.