by - August 25, 2013

The Blog

This blog is going to be a bit of a departure from the old model.  In terms of target audience (believe it or not I like to think that this blog isn’t a total exercise in self-gratification), I hope to use it as a way of not only keeping friends and family updated, but also of informing would-be exchangees about the various processes involved.  By its very nature, my year exchange to Hong Kong is not going to warrant the almost daily updates that I have been used to writing on my travels.  This trip will be blogged at a more leisurely pace and (I like to think) will offer a more holistic overview of life in Hong Kong, as opposed to the “I went here here and here” style of the past.  Given a more flexible brief, then who knows, I might even go into my own thoughts and feelings about my experiences.  That’s not to say, however, that I won’t write in the ‘itinerary’ style from time to time - I have every intention of using Hong Kong as a base for further adventures which will be chronicled accordingly.

The Plan

So first, an overview of the plan.  A question that I was asked a surprisingly often in the build up to the trip was 'why Hong Kong?’.  I guess I must have asked myself that question in the early stages of the process, when given the opportunity to anywhere on a big list of international universities, but its difficult to actually work out a sensible answer. After briefly considering some North American universities, a combination of average grades and a realisation that the American 'college life’ (based almost entirely on what I have seen in Hollywood films) didn’t seem particularly up my street made me think a bit further afield.  The choice came down to Hong Kong versus Singapore and frankly I chose the former because I had been to the latter and therefore knew more about it.  My total lack of knowledge about Hong Kong proved a good excuse to gulp up some history books on China, the Opium War, the Empire and obviously the island itself and from what I have read I like to think I have made a good choice.

The university that Bristol has its exchange partnership is called the University of Science and Technology.  Its a young university (pretty much the same age as me), but has jumped up the world rankings pretty quickly to be a world leader in science, engineering and business.  On top of that, just look at the campus:

Sat on the east side of Hong Kong on the cliffs above the South China Sea, it has to be one of the more scenic world university campuses.  From what I gather it even has its own beach.

The exchange will cover my third year of study and is a direct equivalent of the year that I would have done had I stayed in Bristol - I’m obliged to do similar modules to the ones that I’m missing.  The whole process is very surreal - when I come back at the end of the year many of my friends will have graduated and joined the real world.  Despite this, I am hoping that it is possible to just put my UK life on hold for a year and come back where I left off in a year’s time.  It is exciting, but the concept of your existing life becoming a memory for a year, with friends and family only coming to the foreground through Skype and Facebook, is very strange.  On top of this, and possibly even stranger, is the concept of entering a society that you have never seen before with none of the structures that make up your life in place - from the mundane things like a phone number and bank account to the important things like personal relationships.  I guess that is the nature of adventure though and learning to accept changes is an essential life skill.  My previous travels have made me pretty good at leaping out of my comfort zone - I think that this year will be an exercise in leaving it for good.

You May Also Like