Study Abroad and Exchange Travel

(More than) halfway-mark at HKU

Taiwanese Street Food

Since my last blog post, so much has happened – it’s almost week 10 of exchange, and time is flying past!

About three weeks ago, a group of exchange students – from the Netherlands, Germany, England, Canada – and myself went on a backpacking tour of Taiwan during our mid-semester break. There had been a lot of to-and-fro within this group as to where we wanted to spend the week of no classes – and it was on the recommendation of many others that we decided on Taiwan. In hindsight, I just can’t believe how underrated a destination it is. There is everything on this amazing island – hipster laneways in Taipei with cafes and retro clothing stores; hikes along the beautiful Taroko Gorge; endless waves to surf in the southern town of Kenting… The best part? Night-time food markets open in every city, every night, serving everything from sizzling plates to marshmallow toast!

Taroko Gorge Taiwan

Hiking along the Taroko Gorge, Taiwan

Taiwanese Street Food

Taiwanese street food

Eating Marshmallow toast in Taiwan

Marshmallow toast… Only in Taiwanese food markets!

Coming back from that week-long adventure was intense – I found myself right back into study mode after such a relaxing break. I also noticed, though, that my perception about being in Hong Kong changed too; it was now my ‘home’ away from home, the place I could tune-out of ‘tourist mode’ and get back to a (slightly?) more normal lifestyle.

I also had the chance to briefly visit Shanghai last weekend. With roughly the same population as our entire country, this is a place that just does not stop leaving you in awe! There is a beautiful contrast between ‘old’ (in the form of the colonial-era settlement on one side of the Huangpi River) and ‘new’ (just Google Liujazui and you’ll know what I mean…). Indeed, you need to be prepared for crowds and smog; but this doesn’t detract from an impressive city.


View of Oriental Pearl Tower, China from above

View of Oriental Pearl Tower from above, Liujazui, Shanghai – China

Back in Hong Kong, things are getting busier – exam schedules are out, more and more people are hanging around the all-night study rooms in the library… After all, there is less than a month till exams!

I’ll be heading to Beijing tomorrow to attend the APEC 2014 Youth Summit – a meeting of students from the Asia-Pacific region discussing the future of trade and diplomacy. This is going to be an awesome opportunity, but I’m having to spend any free time I have in the library, catching up or getting ahead of class so I’m not too far behind!

Anyway, I really do have to go now… I’ll let you know how the conference goes in the next post.


– Julien


You Might Also Like