This blog has been created to share the College of Staten Island (CSI) students’ experiences around the world. Dolphins across the Seven Seas provides the opportunity for CSI students, staff, faculty and beyond to gain insight into the study abroad experience. Additionally, Study Abroad Peer Advisors provide reflections upon their experiences as well as advice to potential study abroad participants. CSI is the single senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), located in the borough of Staten Island.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ni hao from Hong Kong! ~Loren Lemberg, CSI Exchange Ambassador to Hong Kong

Never could I have imagined that I would be living in Asia for five months, studying, traveling and meeting people from all over the world. It has been a little over a month since I moved into my residence and started classes. I share a triple room with a Hong Kong local and a girl from the U.K. Being thousands miles away from Staten Island is quite the surreal experience. Hong Kong reminds me of Manhattan in some ways. There are lots of bright lights, buildings and sidewalks filled with people. The difference here though is that I can’t understand most of the signs being that very few are in English. Street vendors here don’t sell the typical hot dog, pretzel or soda. Instead, they sell Fish balls on a stick, tofu and pig intestines, how’s that for a quick snack?

Locals here love the west! I have seen so many people wearing clothing with the American and British flag, it is quite comedic. Also anytime someone asks me where I am from and I say New York their reaction is pure awe. They have a million questions for me and ask what it is like living there and how much they want to visit one day. There are about 18,000 students enrolled at City University of Hong Kong and 300 of those are Exchange Students. Many of the International students are from Canada, Sweden and parts of Europe. I am one of the few Americans and am the only student from New York City. Even though English is the main language amongst students, walking around campus many languages like French and Swedish can be heard spoken.

I’ve done some exploring in Hong Kong and around Asia already. I am getting to know Hong Kong as a resident and tourist. I visited a 10,000 Buddha monastery and saw statues of life sized unique Buddha’s. I went to Victoria’s Peak, a high point where the cities beautiful night skyline is viewed. I saw quite a few temples, went to a Chinese New Year’s flower market and experienced the CNY parade. I’ve also gone souvenir shopping in a few markets. Things that could be found in the door booths are miniature statues, watches, shoes, handbags and jewelry. Also, there are so many malls here in Hong Kong, well over a dozen and they all sell very expensive items like bags and brand named designer clothing.      

My outside of Hong Kong traveling ventures are slowly building up. I spent a week in beautiful Boracay Island in the Philippines with about a dozen other Exchange Students. We went jet skiing, snorkeling, island hopping parasailing, six person tricycle riding and more! While there, I learned the word “salamat,” which means thank you in Philippine. Every time I said that to a local they smiled and were amazed that I knew the word. I also spent a weekend in Singapore with my British roommate. We went on a Night Safari, saw a water and light show projected from the bay, rode The Flyer which is the largest observation wheel in the world, saw some art work including a piece by Andy Warhol and more in just a few days. Since we have a Student Visa we are considered a resident of Hong Kong. This has given us the privilege to wait in the short Hong Kong residence line at customs!

I am having a one of a kind experience In Hong Kong. I never imagined I’d visit Asia let alone live here. Studying abroad is turning out to be an unforgettable adventure and I am extremely glad I am doing it. My eyes have opened up to a whole new world literally. I’ve been meeting people I would never otherwise have and am seeing things I never expected to. I am being spontaneous and giving new things a try. I am really looking forward to what the next few months will bring. In the meantime I am off to do some more exploring!


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