QMUL Law Student Kendall Watkinson shares her story of living and studying in Hong Kong!
On 23 August 2017 I boarded a flight from London Heathrow to Hong Kong, nervous but excited for what was lying ahead of me. I had so many questions, so many concerns: would the locals understand me? Would I like the food? Would I fit into the Chinese culture? I have just completed my first semester at the University of Hong Kong, and can now say that doing a year abroad was the best decision I’ve ever made. It really is a once in a life time opportunity and I would advise anyone who gets an opportunity like this to grab it with both hands!
The University of Hong Kong is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and being a student there is a privilege. HKU’s huge campus is located amidst a rainforest- a very unique setting for studying. Everybody on campus speaks English, and there is a very international atmosphere. The opportunities at HKU are incredible. Since arriving, I have started to learn Mandarin (which isn’t as hard as it seems), and have joined the university’s netball team. There are also a number of mooting competitions which law students can participate in. Despite my concerns, the workload at HKU is very manageable and I have found lots of time to explore Hong Kong. Living in halls in Hong Kong is an interesting experience. The rooms are a little smaller than what we’re used to in the UK, as land is very expensive. However, I live in university accommodation which is just 2 stops away from central, and I have amazing views of the famous Victoria Harbor from my room. I have made so many friends in my accommodation and there are lots of other English exchange students which really helped me settle in quickly.
There is a huge variety of delicious food in Hong Kong, and it’s a perfect place for food lovers! Food prices vary, and you can get a meal for anything from £2 to £50. I have tried lots of new food since being in Hong Kong, including chicken feet (which was disgusting). A restaurant highlight was the ‘Hello Kitty Cafe’, which serves Hello Kitty themed Chinese food.
The nightlife is one of my favourite parts of Hong Kong. The infamous ‘Lan Kwai Fong’ a.k.a. LKF, is the most popular party district, and is packed full of locals, workers and students every night of the week. There are a variety of bars and club, offering a range of music for all tastes. My favourite day of the week to go out is Wednesday- ‘ladies’ night’. On ladies’ night women drink free in bars and clubs all night, you really can’t wish for much more.
The tourist opportunities in Hong Kong are endless. From hikes, beaches, temple visits, cable car rides, to festivals, theme parks and water parks, I have done so many amazing things so far during my year abroad, many of which I would never have been able to do had I not moved here. A personal highlight for me was spending my 21st birthday surrounded by my new friends in Disneyland Hong Kong- it was a day I will never forget! Being located in Asia, there are so many cheap travelling opportunities. We have visited Macau and some parts of China so far, which you can get to quickly by ferry. Next semester I am planning to visit Thailand, Australia, Vietnam and Cambodia- all of which are quite cheap to get to by plane.
Find out more about the Global Law LLB programme.
Photos by Kendall Watkinson.