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Research Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen Blogs and Postcards

NAHSS experience by Serte

It has been a month since we arrived in Hong Kong. Hong Kong? Yes, Hong Kong. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Netherlands Asia Honours Summer School. This is a program that gives 100 students from the Netherlands the chance to attend a summer school in Asia, work on a consultancy project, and visit multinational and local companies. I’m one of the thirty lucky ones who were ‘sent’ to Hong Kong. We started early in April with our project for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), and Saturday the 24th of June we got on our plane to the far east. We are here with 29 people, fully enjoying all of the aspects that the NAHSS offers us. This is how I find myself currently writing this blog, sitting in a strongly air-conditioned room, surrounded by Asian students and with an amazing view outside.

Apart from air-conditioning and Asians, there are a lot of other features that define Hong Kong. If you walk through its impressive skyscrapers the green jungle covered hills are never far off. It is official government policy that at least 60% of the city is covered by national parks and nature, which means that the 8 million inhabitants are crowded together, but are surrounded by nature.

We live on a campus in two-person dorm rooms, which means that all of us live with a roommate from the NAHSS. The campus is a huge complex, characterized by height differences as its built of some high hills. This means that sometimes you’ll take an elevator to the 10th floor, which means you are at street level again. This height differences, next to leading to impressive sights, add an extra dimension to navigating, which is sometimes too much for my spatial awareness. Luckily, school busses cover the campus always ensuring routes from A to B, and fellow students are ever helpful to bring me to the correct bus. The campus is covered by lecture halls, colleges where the students live, restaurants, a pool, sports centers, a health clinic, a supermarket, a subway station and other facilities that in theory would ensure you would never have to leave the campus to cover all your needs.

But of course we do not let this stop us from frequently entering the subway to see other parts of this enormous city. We have view the business district ‘Central’ from the ground up and from the 55th floor down, visited Mainland China, took beautiful hikes through the jungle and hills, consumed one or fifteen drinks in Wanchai and Lan Kwai Fung (LKF for the intimi that we have become by now), visited the residence of the Dutch consul-general, visited companies and put our live at risk with the local cuisine.

Time here flies by, and it isn’t because of the time zone difference. Hong Kong is a special city, being Asian on one hand, but well organized and governed in a Western fashion. One moment you are walking through a dubious food market, and the next moment you are waiting in a perfect line for a perfectly timed subway. Our group of 30 duchies is very varied and from many different disciplines with an open nature, ensuring a very fun and inclusiveness atmosphere. It is no punishment to stay here for a few weeks longer.

Last modified:07 December 2016 10.07 a.m.