Tuesday, March 8, 2011

School Days

Following all the pre-school activities, we started school on the 7th of February... FINALLY.

Class Overview:
MARK112: Principles of Marketing
The professor is Canadian and is pretty engaging when she speaks. However, she has a reputation for picking favorites and can be a bit... aggressive with her personality. She is known for being the hardest professor in the department, so I lucked out on that. Just to give you an idea about what students think of her, I will tell you that I was wait-listed for the course... luckily 2/3's of the class were trying to drop or switch out of her class!

ISOM235: Telecommunication and Networking
This class counts as my MIS 365 class back at UT. THE PROFESSOR IS AWESOME! I MEAN... AMAZING! Professor Byars might have some competition for "my favorite MIS professor of all time". The class is basically like an overview of the Internet and how it works. So interesting and fun. It is my favorite class here! I have a lab on Tuesdays where we go to a private computer lab and play with the equipment (routers, hubs, switches, Ethernet cables, etc). Very NERDY, I know.
Don't judge :p

SOSC185: Intro to Sociology
Three words: BORING, BORING, BORING. Not to mention, it is also over-rated. Sociology is my minor back at UT, so I have taken too many upper-division sociology classes to deal with this woman. She has a bit of an accent and is very strict with attendance! I have had a grudge against her ever since she didn't excuse me from class after working at the exchange fair... even if I had a legit sealed/written note from the exchange advisor. STUPID RULES. STUPID CLASS.
I lucked out on this one too :(

LANG113: Mandarin Chinese I
Pretty funny class to end my Tuesday and Thursdays with! There are only exchange or international students in the class so we all bond and support each other as we stubble to speak mandarin to our professor.
It's a small class, so we all know each other now. I love it.
Ni hao.

Not too shabby. Right?
 Class from Monday to Thursday?
I'll take it!

Now, school here is very different then back home in the States.

MAIN DIFFERENCES:
1. No homework... or it's very rare for professors to give homework. Most of the kids are expected to go to lecture and read on their own. It's a lot more like self-paced learning.

2. Because there is no homework, grades depend a lot on your midterm and final... A LOT (60-90%)

3. Running for an officer position in an organization is a big deal here (I'll talk about this more in a bit)

The campus took a little while to get used to. It isn't 40 acres (like UT) so walking to class from my dorm isn't bad at all. It's pretty good exercise and the scenery is unreal :)
Take a look at me trying to find my classes on the first day:


Atrium

Walkin' Through the Crowd

Entrance to the Academic Building

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Remember how I told you that HKUST is built on a cliff so we have a lot of lifts (elevators)? Well, they implemented a similar system in the academic building. Different lifts go to different areas of the school, so you not only have to look up room numbers... you also have to look up which lift you have to take!

HKUST Lift Map

Following the first few days of class, the atrium suddenly transformed from an open public area to this:


Remember how I told you that one of the main differences is that "being involved in school" is a big deal here? This is what I meant. Students dedicate the first few weeks of school to promote their organization in exchange for votes at the end of the promotional period. IT IS COMPLETE MADNESS!

Signs, fliers, tabling?
That is an understatement! These organizations get custom-made jackets, build unique booths, and choreograph routines and cheers... all while skipping class... 3 weeks worth of class!
  
Take a look at some organizations in action:
video

UPDATE:  Elections and voting was last week... so many of the organizations brought their "A-game" through using propaganda to have people vote against other people/organizations and cheering/stomping louder then they had ever before. I mean, it was LOUD... SO LOUD, that they had to hire two men to sit on the edges of the atrium to measure the decibels so as not to disturb classes or the people studying in the library! Don't believe me? Take a look/listen at the mayhem that occurred during the final day of voting...

video

Besides school work and listening to cheering from the atrium, the exchange students have found some pretty fun things to do when we are free... Take a look.

1. GAMBLING AT HAPPY VALLEY RACECOURSE
Horse racing in Hong Kong is as big of a deal here as football is at UT. People come in the evenings to bet it all on their favorite horses and hang out with friends. It is a very posh environment and many socialites seem to go there. I have never seen so much fur and designer riding boots in my life!

Happy Valley Racecourse (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong)

Stadium
Jin (Korea) Trying to Take a Closer Look
Jonathan (UT) and Caroline (Michigan) Waiting for the 1st Race to Start!

Magdalena (Austria) Celebrating her Win!

Cheers!
Step 1: Choose your Horse
Step 2: Make a Bet (10HKD minimum)
Step 3: Cheer for Your Horse
Group Picture!



2. UNIBAR
We have a bar... ON CAMPUS! It's the University's bar... hence the name "unibar." It is VERY pricey, but we tend to go there for a drink and to mingle on nights where we are too lazy to take the hour-long MTR ride to downtown. You can always expect to meet some new/interesting people :)

"Shot Song" - Pitbull
Hey Guys!
Michelle and Jeremy
Jens and Jonathan
Jonathan and Brian
Honza and Our New [Intoxicated] Friend: Rupert

3. HANG OUT WITH YOUR BUDDY
Each exchange student was assigned a buddy (an HKUST student who studied at or wants to study at your home university). They are supposed to show you around HK and answer any questions you may have. If you can remember my second entry, I introduced ya'll to my buddy: Adrian :)

Through out the semester, HKUST is planning activities for us to do together. However, Adrian couldn't make it to the event we had recently, so I hung out with other exchange kids who were also missing buddies.
At the most recent (only) event we have had, we visited Stanley Market and Victoria Peak. Take a look!
Stanley Market
Bargaining
From Left: Jason, Jonathan, Me, Honza, and Mikey Mai
Victoria Peak
Honza Striking a Pose
From Left: Jonathan, Honza, Me, Jason
Taking the Tram Back Down

4. MARSHMALLOW-ROASTING PARTIES ON THE BEACH
  HKUST students tend to use the Bar-B-Q site on the beach very often. Recently, I threw a marshmallow-roasting party with Jens for our friends. It was interesting to see how many of them didn't know what a smore was! AHHHHH! Anyhow, the get-together was a success, and the marshmallows were delicious.

Party Planners!
From Left: Honza, Caroline, and Gustav (Sweden)
From Left: Miguel, Jason, Jonathan, Doris (Austria)
From Left: Anita (Australia), Michelle (Rice-Houston), and Miguel
Brian and Jeremy
Jens and Mikey-Mai enjoying a laugh
Bar-B-Q Site
Our Roasting Area
 
Roasting
From Left: Brian, Anita, Michelle, Miguel, Mariel, and Mikey-Mai

Hangin' Out
From Left: Jason, Honza, Caroline, Me, and Swan (Mainland China Full-time Student)

Group Picture :)

5. GOING INTO THE CITY...
for some good food and frozen yogurt :)
Good Luck Thai Food  = A-
(Located in Central HK)

Sitting Area
Pad Thai
"AWWWWW... Jason"

Frozen Yogurt at Smooch (SoHo)!
Enjoying Frozen Yogurt
Sugar Rush!

Group Picture
Jonathan at Buddah Bar
Caroline and Honza at Buddah Bar

6. GET A MAKEOVER
Getting a haircut at the salon on campus is rumored to be a "BAD IDEA"... so if you want a hair cut, you should go into the city and pray you get someone who will understand what you want.
Check out the new looks that Nancy (Maryland) and Mariel (Washington DC) got:

BEFORE
AFTER (Mariel)
AFTER (Nancy)
7. CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS
Two of my exchange friends have celebrated their birthdays here while abroad: Audrie (Canada) on February 12th and Mikey-Mai (Canada) on March 3rd. Take a look at the damage we made...

Audries's Birthday:
Midnight Celebration Shot Cake
Birthday Girl
Signing Audrie's Gift
Jason Leading Us to the Pankcake House
Pancake House = B

Caroline and I Striking a Pose
Trend: Boyfriend Trench Coat

Group with Birthday Girl at Pancake House
"Happy Birthday to You..."

Birthday Group
(Birthday Girl got a Head Start to LKF and is not in the Picture)

Birthday Girl with her Gift and her Buddy, Henry, at LKF!

Mikey-Mai's Birthday:
To give you an idea of what this close guy pal of mine is like, take a listen to the pick-up line he shared with me during a dinner:
video

HAHA. Pretty suave. Yeah?
We had a great time celebrating his b-day. Jens and I were party planners once again and planned a surprise dinner for him with all of our close friends... Check it out:

Dinner at Man Fa Hung Hotpot (Central) = A-

Opening a Gift from Jens and I
Happy Birthday!
From Left: Miguel, Jason, Doris, and Michelle
Cleaning their Utensils

Caroline, Jonathan, and Jin

Let the Party Begin...
Cake #1
Wish #1

:)

Cake #2

Wish #2

Group Picture
Walking to Karaoke at "Our Favor Bar"
Caroline and Mikey-Mai Singin'
Jens and Honza Singing "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson
Hitting those High Notes!

video
 

Caroline Rockin' Out

Jason and Mikey-Mai Singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"


video
Duet
video

video

Speaking of birthdays... My birthday is just around the corner... the big 2-1.
Oh lord.

And the fun continues from HK,
Lina

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