Hong Kong, I’m ready for you! …Or am I?
That’s what I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. Only 10 days left until I’m leaving Finland. My first semester was very busy and in all the rush I’ve had, winter came faster than ever. During Christmas time I finally had some time to really relax. It was not until these weeks when I realized that I have to start packing soon. It feels weird that my everyday life is soon going to change so much.
So, why Hong Kong? I have always known that I want to study abroad. Last spring I searched for some information in JAMK’s websites and thought about my options. I could have tried to search for a place to study anywhere in the world but that would have been a very complicated process to do by myself. I had been told that it’s much easier to go to one of JAMK’s partner schools since they already do some cooperation. There were several options in Europe, but somehow it felt they were too near Finland. As a summer lover, I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm. I wanted something very different. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University…that sounded exotic. I don’t know why, but at first I had some doubts. It felt like such a big decision to make. Maybe that was because I didn’t know enough about Hong Kong. These days I can’t understand why I ever hesitated! I have felt absolutely sure about my decision after realizing what a great chance this is.
Arrangements and paperwork
Right now it feels like I’m forgetting to do something. But still, I couldn’t say that I haven’t done a lot for this opportunity. At first there was an application I did for my school. With my teacher’s help I decided the courses I will attend in Hong Kong and she checked that they are suitable for my studies. The application for the university in Hong Kong had to be done on a computer and there were many documents I had to upload there. I had to get a bank statement in English, take some photos for my visa application, fill the visa application correctly, scan my passport and my passport photos, get a proof of my credits so far, make a CV…When that application was done I just waited for approval. I remember it was the 7th of November when I got to know by email that my application was approved! After that I for example made my learning agreement and checked my vaccinations and insurance. In December I dealt with stuff related to my accommodation place, the student halls of the university.
One of the best things in this whole process was that PolyU handled my filled and signed visa application and sent it forward so I didn’t have to worry about it. But there was one problem – I had to wait for my visa for two months! I was starting to wonder if there’s some kind of a problem. I booked my flights right after receiving it. Hong Kong student visa and my flight timetable printed on a paper, holding both of them in my hands – that was the first time I felt that I was really going there.
The time in Hong Kong is six hours ahead of Finland’s time. It’s kinda bad because in the mornings I’ll be so dead if I don’t try to get use to the time difference before travelling. That’s why I turned my watch to Hong Kong time. Just to remind me of it and to help me adjust myself to it. I must start going to sleep earlier… So far I haven’t succeeded in it very well.
Another thing I’ve tried to prepare for: eating with chopsticks. I’m not good at that, so I got my own sticks and I’ve eaten at some Chinese restaurants lately as well. It’s just still so hard! We’ll see how it goes in Asia. I expect some struggles with spicy food (I don’t like it very spicy), but I take eating it as a challenge!
There’s one girl who taught me some basics of Cantonese last month. Not very many things but it’s good to know at least some words or phrases. It seems polite to use local language in a foreign country.
It’s the 30th of December and there are still some things I don’t know yet: for example my subjects (I’m not sure if they will be the ones I planned), my timetable and my room in the student halls. I’m not stressing about those, though. I’ll be informed next week. I’ve received so many emails with great details and information, so I feel secure. And I think I don’t even have to know everything yet. Tomorrow I’ll celebrate New Year’s Eve and next week is about packing things up here in Jyväskylä. Next time I’ll be writing in Hong Kong. So weird!