A (Belated) 春节 Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

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Loyal readers (so, probably only my mother) I owe you an apology. Why? Because I have failed, quite comprehensively, to do anything out of the ordinary this Chinese New Year (春节 – Chūn Jié), much to my chagrin. I’ve been a boring Hong Kong tourist.

It wasn’t for lack of trying though. Promise. Continue reading

Funding: British Council’s Scholarship for Excellence

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With the British Government’s ever increasing tuition fees looking set to rise again soon, debt continues to be a problem that every student faces. Extending your degree by studying abroad for a year only adds to that debt. All is not lost, though. If you’re lucky and forward thinking, you can mitigate at least some of the cost. The British Council, in particular, offer a generous scholarship that I have benefited greatly from. Continue reading

Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong – Mooncakes and Bride Pools

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This is by far the busiest that Hong Kong has been so far. Thursday the fifteenth of September saw the arrival of Hong Kong’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节). Everywhere we walked, people shared Mooncakes and lit Lanterns up and down the packed streets of Causeway Bay. We were surrounded by thousands of people making their way to Victoria Park to see the shows and nearby Incense Dragon Dance. Looking around, we knew that this was going to be one of the highlights of Chinese culture we would see during our time here. Continue reading

On Food. Or, the beginning of an entirely inadequate summary of culinary fun in Hong Kong.

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All I had hoped for and more is true: ‘Hong Kong’ can confidently be labelled as synonymous with ‘good food’. The melting pot of cultures, styles and traditions means that you can’t walk more than a hundred metres without passing a veritable melange of international eateries. My claim – that if you want to eat well, you should be here in Hong Kong – is a big one, but I’m confident that I can justify it based on only two weeks of experience and the limitations of a student’s budget. Continue reading

Touchdown: First Impressions of HKU and Hong Kong

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I’m not a subscriber to the notion of fate. Despite this, I have recently noticed some poetic coincidences linking me to Hong Kong. HKU’s Latin motto, ‘Sapientia et Virtus,’ translates rather grandly as ‘Wisdom and Virtue’. My subject, Philosophy, therefore has a serendipitous etymological link to HKU. The Latin roots, Philo (lover of) and Sophia (wisdom), are quite fitting for someone who is studying at an establishment dedicated to wisdom and virtue. Furthermore, the very exploration of virtue began with the philosopher Aristotle’s famous treatises.

Of course, I didn’t choose to study here based on those little bits of trivia, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. Continue reading

Why the Pearl of the Orient? Choosing Hong Kong

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Two weeks to go. Near the end of August, most probably bleary-eyed after the long haul flight, for the first time in my life I’ll set eyes upon the Asian continent. Specifically, I’ll be seeing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China, my home for the next ten months. The jetlag is sure to be intense, but I’m not worried as seeing this skyline will indubitably make up for it in spades:

Hong Kong Panorama

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An Unofficial Guide to the Peking University Chinese Language Proficiency Exam

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机不可失,时不再来 (jī bù kě shī, shí bú zài lái)

– Opportunity knocks at the door only once.

This is a rough guide on what the Exam entails and how I found it when I took it last September and again in March. Provided the Exam and class placement system hasn’t changed since then, I hope this can be a useful tool to calm nerves and go in more prepared than I was!

Around 50 weeks ago, I was one of the nervous and jet-lagged exchange students sitting in a very large hall about to start the Peking University Chinese Language Proficiency Exam (“Exam” from here on in). Beforehand I had scanned the Internet for any friendly tips about what it might entail and was unsuccessful in my search, so I promised myself I would write a little guide for future students in my situation. Continue reading