On the morning of June 10th, the morning of my flight to Hong Kong, I woke up around 7am to make sure everything was in order. The night before I could barely sleep or eat from the butterflies in my stomach awaiting my 13 hour and 45 minute flight to Tokyo and a 4 hour and 45 minute flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. I was so excited but so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. But after I arrived, I realized that the wait was over, I was in another country!
To be honest, my very first day in Hong Kong, June 12th, was not ideal. However, spoiler alert, things got better by the next day. My advice to anyone visiting another country alone and scared: things always get better and don’t let anything get you down. We can’t expect everything to go right from the beginning, but a positive attitude will always get you through. That’s just my two cents, because my first day was rough. Many things went wrong, and even when I arrived at my housing the Wi-Fi and internet wasn’t working and my roommate was nowhere to be found so I was alone. I’m not a person who depends on Wi-Fi like it is life or death, but I was in a new country with no one to turn to and all I wanted to do was tell my parents I was safe and sound. I had to stay in my first day due to a typhoon warning and the rain kept pouring down. Honestly, I was just hoping for work the next day so I could interact with people and have some sort of help through my Wi-Fi/data problems.
Now, my first day was not the best, BUT by the second day and the days after that, Hong Kong just kept getting better and better. My housing is right next to my work, it’s an easy walk every morning, about 5 minutes. My room is air conditioned and spacious, but everything else is small, not surprising in Hong Kong. I met my roommate on the second day. She’s a local and she’s been very nice to me, helping me out and asking me how my day was. Everyone in Hong Kong is so kind. My first day may have been rough, but along the way, there were so many people who stopped to help me without me even asking. I had two suitcases, and I had to go up many flights of stairs to reach my housing and a woman on the road offered to help carry them up with me. She, and many others, were so kind to me when I needed it most that first day, I really appreciated their kindness.
The start of my second day, I wasn’t sure I was going to have work because of all the rain pouring from the typhoon happening far away. Luckily, I still had work, but I entered soaked head to toe! I met with the other Penn intern, Kathleen, at the elevator and we both entered soaked, a great first impression, right? But our coworkers were very welcoming and understanding. I knew from the beginning that we were all going to get along because they were making jokes from the start. We were introduced to everyone by name quickly, but once instructions were explained of what we were to do, we sat in the room with them and we all got to know each other well as we packed for the lessons we were to teach.
As the week went on, I became more and more comfortable at work and with my coworkers. Everyone is so nice and helpful. Kathleen, the other Penn intern, and I get along really well. We have a lot of things in common and we would go out for dinner after work to explore new foods and places. When Kathleen was sent on a small business trip over the weekend and she wasn’t in the same office for a couple days, I thought it would be awkward being at the office without her. But I was so comfortable with everyone and I really enjoy their company that it was perfectly fine! My first week at the Science Workshop was successful and I love it. Although packing can be tedious and hard to find things, I can’t wait for the lessons to begin. I taught my first lesson on June 17th and it was so fun! It was only one student for that lesson and I observed the topic the day before, so they allowed me to teach that lesson and the girl was so calm and easy to work with, the lesson went by smoothly!
One of my favorite things on the weekdays is after work dinner-exploring. Looking for dinner has been my way of exploring while still having an end destination of finding something new. I’ve tried so many different types of foods here that I would never have found in the states, it’s all been so delicious. Hong Kong really has the best variety. I attached some pictures of my favorites desserts so far, very traditional/touristy desserts but they are my best recommendations. The famous egg tarts and egg waffles (Oddies has egg waffles with ice cream!). I also found a restaurant that makes food look and taste delicious, Dim Sum Icon. My egg had a face on it and burger buns were made to look like a panda! My first week I was also able to visit Man Mo Temple, it was peaceful and beautiful! Due to the typhoon (just a lot of rain), not much else could be done, but adventures await!
Science Workshop, Hong Kong