It’s only been a week or two since I arrived in Hong Kong and, wow, am I starting to fall in love with this place! I’ve visited so many places and eaten so many delicious foods that I don’t even know where to start.

School at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology started two weeks later than school at Texas A&M, so I was given an ample amount of time to pack and figure out what I needed. It was well-needed, too, for this was my first time traveling halfway across the world by myself, with no assistance! While I was nervous about starting school, getting around the city, and packing the right things, I was also excited to meet new friends and travel to a brand new place.

The one thing that surprised me when first getting off the plane was the fact that I couldn’t read many of the signs anymore. Though a lot of official signs and advertisements had English translations, quite a few of them were also in plain Chinese. Not being able to understand what was written was the biggest culture shock that I’ve faced immediately upon arriving. The ride to campus from the airport made everything worthwhile, however, as I got to see the city illuminated with its night lights.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is notorious for being a difficult school in Asia. So much so, in fact, that the locals have “lovingly” dubbed the university as the Hong Kong University of Stress and Tension. While the branding of this school seems quite intimidating, I also realize that this is why Texas A&M has chosen to partner with this amazing university, and will strive to work hard and return with more knowledge under my belt.

In the meantime, due to Lunar New Year this week, we have a break from classes from Tuesday, February 5th, to Thursday, February 7th. My newfound friends and I plan on hiking and touring many of Hong Kong’s landscapes and landmarks, including the Tian Tan Buddha statue in Ngong Ping. So far, I have been able to tour some of Mong Kok and the Central area of Hong Kong, watch the Symphony of Lights show on Victoria Harbor (which also happens to be the world’s largest permanent light and sound show!), and climb up to the top of Victoria Peak to get a nice panoramic view of the city. I cannot wait to see what other adventures await me for the rest of my time here at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology!