17 Nov - 15 Dec 2018
I had an amazing time and would like to thank my wonderful host family for showing me around Hong Kong as well as teaching me the ropes of the confusing MTR. My first week of school was quite unique as I was lucky enough to join their Student Activities Week, from which I learnt more about the culture and heritage of Hong Kong. Thanks to the school or I
wouldn’t have known how or where to explore these exotic locations. I also enjoyed school life at SPCC where I got to see how classes were run in comparison to my school in Australia. I had great teachers who made sure I had things to do with the class and I already miss all the new friends I have made.
I had been to Hong Kong before. I had been there many times in fact. So, what made this exchange special for me? It wasn’t the alien landscape, wasn’t the hustle and bustle, and wasn’t the packed schedules. No. It was the fascinating insights into the daily lives of the locals that I gained.
As soon as I landed, I was greeted by my host family as well as some of my classmates. I really appreciated the hospitality as I’d never received such a warm welcome before.
On my first day of school, I was a bit taken aback by the sheer amount of transits and changeovers we had to make on our daily commute. Soon I discovered that this was common for many people, and the trip was made easy by the efficiency and speed of the MTR, something Sydney transportation had yet to achieve.
Upon arrival at the school, I found the timetable rather peculiar. Although the 15-minute roll call before school started allowed me to mingle with classmates, or watch everyone relax before the day began, which was very similar to St Andrews, this was where the similarities ended. Having assembly at the beginning of every day took some getting used to, as well as all the breaks and the extremely long lunch. However, I soon saw the merits of having the breaks as it allowed students more time to absorb what was learnt in class or to clarify concepts with teachers.
My buddy’s packed after-school schedule offered me a glimpse of the musical talents of the Wind Band. I was also impressed by their professional diligence and efforts during their practice sessions which often ran quite late into the night.
My host family was very kind and thoughtful in preparing for my visit and in ensuring that I saw as much of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage as possible. I delved into a side of Hong Kong which was entirely new and unique to me. From visiting local museums and old villages, to going on walks at the Monkey Mountain and Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, I had a taste of Hong Kong’s non-touristy side.
Although my stay was only two weeks, I was very impressed by the full hospitality both my host family and SPCC had displayed, which made my stay a very special experience.
When I first arrived, I was welcomed with open arms into my exchange family, and it was easy to settle in. Going to school when I didn’t speak the local language, I didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was extremely nice. My friends, Andrew and Cyrus, even invited me to play in the class soccer competition, and also to play basketball after school. Their friendliness made me feel comfortable around them. When it was finally time to say goodbye, they even came to the airport to see me off, and surprisingly, handed me a gift.