Reflection: Semester Abroad

It’s been over a week since I’ve been back to New York from my semester in Hong Kong. I wish I could’ve been there longer, but all good things must come to an end. I wouldn’t exactly say that this was a life-changing experience, but it was one where I learned a lot about myself and discovered what I want to do in the future.

I was feeling somewhat lost at the beginning of this academic year. I was feeling uninspired by my usual surroundings and needed a change of pace from my routine. I always believed that in order to grow, one must always leave their comfort zone and seek for greater heights to achieve. That’s one of the many reasons why I chose to go abroad. However, being abroad wasn’t all fun and games. It was challenging but I was able to learn and grow from this experience.


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A Day on Lantau Island

Lantau Island (大嶼山) is the largest island on Hong Kong, which is adjacent to the Hong Kong International Airport. It is also the home to Tian Tian Buddha and Tai O, both popular tourist attractions.

My friends and I left campus around 8:30 am and arrived at Prince Edward Station to meet up with my mom and a few of her friends before heading to Lantau Island. We took the red line on the MTR from Prince Edward to Lai King Station, then we transferred to the yellow line and got off at Tung Chung. There are two ways you can get up to Ngong Ping Village where the Buddha is located: the bus or the cable cars. We decided to get a one way trip on the standard cable car which was $130.00 HKD. (I would’ve preferred to take the Crystal Cabin, which has a clear glass bottom, but my mother is acrophobic.)



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So It Begins…

Here I am sitting on a plane en route to China. My stomach all cramped up from the butterflies that filled my stomach. The thoughts about missing everything that is going on back home scares me even more (#fomo). Besides me, my mother is excited for the next few weeks she will be back in the country she called home till her teenage years.  Seven years ago, l’ve visited China, but my thirteen year old self hated it because I would much rather be home than to be surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes and smoke everywhere I go. However, I came back from the trip as a different person. To see the small town and village that my parents grew up in made me realize how fortunate I am to grow up in a country where there are many opportunities to succeed. A lot of things have changed in seven years, including the economic state of China. They’ve grown exponentially and continues to grow. Now seven years later, I am now back in China for a semester to study abroad. Never have I thought that I would be studying abroad in Hong Kong. It’s not the usual European study abroad experience, but it will be just as exciting. There’s so much to see and so much more to learn about this side of the world. I am going to miss my friends back home in New York and The District. I am nervous for what is to come, but I am excited for this new experience in a city like Hong Kong.

Day 1: January 4, 2017

It was still dark out, and I was up and out of the hotel room we were staying in for the past week to catch our bus to Hong Kong. My mom and I was visiting her home town, a small town in the providence of Guangzhou in China, before we made our way to Hong Kong. We took the 7 a.m bus from there and arrived at the Shenzhen Bay Port at approximately 10:00 a.m. There was hundreds of people going through the port, so definitely be careful and conscious of your personal belongings (especially phones and identifications). (Note: It is required that you go through customs whether you are going from and to Hong Kong to China even though Hong Kong is now a part of China.) It took about 40 minutes to go through both the Chinese and Hong Kong customs. Once we got through the boarders, we were on Hong Kong land. There was about another hour drive before we get to Kowloon, Hong Kong (main district of Hong Kong). The bus was stationed at Prince Edward (太子) Street, which was right across from Metropark Hotel Mong Kok, the hotel my mom was staying in (they have two other locations: Kowloon and Causeaway Bay). It’s a pretty affordable hotel in comparison, to others options around the neighborhood because the real estate in Hong Kong is really expensive.

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