Ding Ding Smile — Welcome to Hong Kong!

“Ding ding” is what the buses are called here; one of the many names Hong Kongers use where sounds are incorporated into the naming. Aside from the names, there were many other things that shocked me upon arriving and for the last three weeks that I’ve been here.

But before I dive in, let me backtrack a little so you have a better idea of who I am. My name is Sarah and I’m a fourth-year biology major and psychology minor. If you’re a biology major, you know how hard it is to study abroad due to our course requirements and schedule — but I made it!

“CUHK is on a hill and it is very green and beautiful. I have an ocean view from my room and you can see the city in most areas on campus.”

I’m studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) doing research! The program I’m in is called Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and it had many research topics and people from all over all the world are attending. Although I never thought about visiting Hong Kong, I knew it would be a great experience to visit a country I knew nothing about.

So here I am!

I just finished my third week and I am in awe! Hong Kong is known as Asia’s world city and this is place is crazy! It’s so vibrant, so alive and there are SOOO many people. The biggest culture shock was the sheer number of people. It doesn’t matter where you go, what time of day it is or what day, there’s always so many people around. During rush hour, the amount of people crammed into the train is insane!

Speaking of the train, the transportation system here is incredibly efficient! It can get you anywhere. Living in San Diego, it’s hard to get anywhere without a car; It’s possible but either time or cost ineffective. Here, the train comes every 2 minutes for every station! It is also very air-conditioned, which is a relief.

I do not think I’ve appreciated San Diego weather or air conditioning as much as I do now because of this experience. It is very hot and humid in Hong Kong during the summer. Prepare to sweat no matter what you wear in addition to being drenched in rain. It rains almost every day!

But it is because of this weather that the scenery everywhere is gorgeous! There is so much green. CUHK is on a hill and it is very green and beautiful. I have an ocean view from my room and you can see the city in most areas on campus. I have never seen this much green and I love it.

Since I have come here I have gone out with other SURP students and the amount of walking I have done probably is more than I have done in San Diego the past couple of months. But it is still great!

I absolutely love it here so far. The people here are super nice and would go out of their way to help you. The people I’ve met on the program is amazing, as well. This is my first time traveling on my own and I’m out of my comfort zone most of the time so I’m still getting adjusted, but it’s so fascinating experiencing such a different culture.

Below are some pictures of places I’ve visited, as well as my school in Hong Kong!

Sunset at the university from the dorm’s patio.
View from the college’s rooftops at the university.
Second day of exploration in Hong Kong.
Food at Dai Pai Fong — it’s like dine-in street food.
Big Buddha!
Lastly, my happy face after eating a really delicious bowl of ramen. Ichiran, the Japanese ramen chain is in HK and it is amazing!

Sarah Shamasha is a third-year biology major and psychology minor. She is studying this summer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for eight weeks.


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