I arrived at the Hong Kong Airport on June 4 with two large suitcases, my backpack, and no Hong Kong currency. Leaving from Princeton Reunions where I knew so many people, overwhelmed by feelings of familiarity and arriving in a large city of 7.3 million where I knew none, feeling anxious and scared, was only a rather skewed introduction to the rest of my summer.
I was smart enough to actually exchange at least some currency at the airport and somehow navigated the extremely clean and well-maintained MTR, Hong Kong’s prime form of transportation for its proportionally high number of residents who prefer this air-conditioned, timely, and quick form of transportation than to be stuck in traffic in this hustle and bustling city. Within 30 minutes, I was already at my final destination, Hong Kong University. All was good until I learned that this city was built entirely on hills and slopes, and to my luck, the residential area of HKU rested atop a gigantic hill from the MTR Station. I was, however, extremely grateful for the opportunity to stay here. HKU is one of Hong Kong’s premier universities and offers extremely nice housing options for students. Although dying in the 90-degree weather and 70% humidity, I was ready to start my summer in Hong Kong.
Over the course of the next 8 weeks, I quickly became well-adjusted to my surroundings. On my second day in the country, I began work, while trying to fight jet lag at the same time. As an economics major pursuing certificates in finance and applications of computing, I decided to work for a fashion, e-commerce startup called Goxip. Our CEO’s vision was to create an app that would be able to use digital image recognition technology to detect where to buy certain articles of clothing on any person in any photo. And she did just that. Goxip is a stage 3 startup that has expanded to about 20 employees and is becoming the new, “shoppable Instagram.” My day-to-day tasks included creating daily product reports, building website reports, analyzing Google Analytics through Supermetrics, and refining the Search Engine Optimization. Although not something I want to do for the rest of my life, I definitely learned a lot.
Every day at work I would go out to eat with the employees who were locals and obviously knew the area super well. I was in for a treat. I had quite the time experiencing all the “authentic” and “local cuisines,” including hole-in-the-wall shops that had no English, forcing the employees to translate the traditional Cantonese to English for me. Macaroni soup and ham quickly became my favorite, traditional Hong Kong lunch.
Obviously, I didn’t just eat and work the entire 8 weeks through. I began taking dance classes at local studios, Studiodanz and Crewplayers, to continue the dance I was pursuing at school while also branching out and taking some hip-hop classes that were more out of my element. All these dancers are extremely talented and some of the best I’ve seen. Dance classes were a good way to meet the locals and once I even ran into a friend from dance in the MTR station 10 stops away from the studio. Just goes to show how small the city can be, even with a population of 7.3 million.
At the end of the 8 weeks, I was sad to go, but I knew that I would be back someday. Hong Kong isn’t a place that you just go to once.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have gone abroad this summer with the generous donation of Mr. Streicker!
In case you wanted to take a trip to Hong Kong as well, here’s my list of recommendations:
|Hiking at Dragon’s Back (literally one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. This photo is completely unfiltered!)|
|Taking the tram up to Victoria’s Peak both during the day and during nightfall|
|Visiting the hidden gems of Hong Kong: Montane Mansions|
|Riding the Star Ferry and seeing Hong Kong’s skyline|
|Visiting the lovely Goxip office full of lovely people!|
Jenny is one of 12 undergraduates who were awarded 2017 Streicker International Fellowships. Streicker Fellows design their own projects or internships in conjunction with a hosting organization. During her fellowship, she worked at Goxip, a Hong Kong startup that aggregates celebrity and community content from social media channels and blogs through its mobile fashion commerce platform.