15 Jul My First Weekend in Hong Kong
Arriving a day early after around about 22 hours of travel I had a bit of time to catch my breath in Hong Kong. Having been here before I had some idea of what to expect and a very vague idea of where to go, so it was a relatively painless process making my way to the accommodation. The rest of the interns were scheduled to arrive the next afternoon, so while I waited for them I brushed up on some Cantonese, learning some characters for ‘chicken’ ‘beef’ ‘noodles’ etc. (I think my rationale was to not get caught off guard by food here, but everything is in English anyway so this turned out to be a little unnecessary.)
The first evening consisted of the standard meet and greet routine, the group is incredibly diverse in terms of background; we have a Spaniard, a Bulgarian, a guy from Ireland and two very Italian Italians, to name a few. I can’t say this is a particularly new phenomenon for me, studying in London guaranteed this, but I still appreciate the variety. Talking to people during the sponsored dinner I’m beginning to develop some first impressions of the group and it’s looking like we’re going to get along really well. Everybody is friendly and approachable, and despite the fact that there are already a group of interns here doing the second part of a 2 month program already I’m starting to feel comfortable.
It wasn’t long before I found myself on a rooftop bar in LKF – Hong Kong’s local watering hole. Unsurprisingly, this made everyone a lot more amicable within a short period of time and by the early hours of the morning I felt a lot more relaxed about the prospect of spending a month with these people. We spent the rest of the weekend sightseeing while simultaneously recovering from one too many drinks in LKF, although it’s much easier to deal with a hangover while taking in the breathtaking views on Victoria Peak. I’m staying with another intern, Paul, and we’re getting along ‘just grand’ as he might say, I could imagine sharing a room would be difficult if you really didn’t get on with someone, but we both seem easy-going enough to make the arrangement work for the time being.
One thing I’m pleasantly surprised about is the incredibly social nature of a primarily work based program. I’ve had a few jobs in my time, and after a month you start feeling like you fit in, so to only be here a month could potentially have been a struggle on my own. I needn’t have worried, there’s a wealth of activities planned for us over the coming weeks, and from my impressions of the group that’s here already, it seems they’ve bonded tremendously well in the space of a few weeks.
Hong Kong is a lot to take in over a weekend; I’m still getting to grips with the food for one – my favorite food is steak and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that I’ll be able to afford that here. The transport system is also pretty confusing to the point where we spent an hour and a half messing around trying to get a bus home when we could have walked in 15 minutes…not my finest moment but a lesson learned. Overall though, I’m a lot more relaxed about the whole experience now, and with my internship about to start it’s looking to be an incredible experience.