Hong Kong Academic Trip
Year 9 students Liam , Ben and Joshua left for Hong Kong with Mr Martin and Mr Houlihan on Friday 23 October. The trio will be living with host families and attending classes at La Salle College Hong Kong for 11 days, over which time they will gain significant exposure to the highly academic environment of La Salle College, and experience first-hand the daily practice of students who are highly academic, motivated and competitive in pursuit of their own academic excellence.
The following blog updates are from Liam.
Hong Kong Trip Update
Day 1 – arrival
We all arrived at about seven o’clock, and caught a double-decker bus to our host houses. My host family lived in an apartment six stories high. The first thing I notice when I walk into the apartment is that the size of the living space is much smaller than in Australia. The apartment was only three small rooms, not including the bathroom. I can already see how much of a different lifestyle it is to the lifestyle we live. Holdee, my host student, was at swimming training for most of the night, so I had dinner with his dad. We had a chicken and pork curry with lots of rice — I had more rice than my family would usually have in total when we had such meal. Overall, a good first day.
Day 2 – The Peak
Today we went to the school in the morning and had breakfast, I had noodles with spicy pork cubes (that sounds like a dinner to me). After breakfast we had a group tour of the school. La Salle Hong Kong is seven stories high with a different form on every level, and the Brothers live up the top. The school has an eight lane swimming pool, many basketball courts, and an athletics track with a grass oval/field in the middle; pretty impressive! After that we took a double-decker bus (I still think that is so cool) to the Victoria Harbour, where we went for a walk and then went into Harbour City Shopping centre. This place was massive but didn’t have many shops that interested me, mainly stuff like designer clothes, makeup etc., and it was all very expensive.
For lunch we wanted to stick with the cultural food, so we had Maccas, and I was amazed, my lunch which would usually cost close to $20 in Australia cost me around $6. After lunch we caught a ferry to Hong Kong Island. At Hong Kong Island we had a small stop at the markets, but the main attraction was ‘The Peak’. The Peak is a place on top of one of the mountains, it is taller than all the buildings, which is close to 500m high. To get to The Peak you take a very steep tram ride up the hill. The wait for the tram was about 10 times longer than the tram ride itself! At the top of The Peak there are a few shops selling merchandise and memorabilia, although all are very expensive. We had dinner up there, which was noodles with dumplings and wontons. The main point of ‘The Peak’ is the view of the city and the harbour at night, it is a magnificent view. When we got back home, we watched James Bond and just relaxed.
Day 3 – Sneaker Street
Today was a day to follow the host family’s routine, but the three host students decided to take Josh, Ben and I to some of the markets. Before we went, we attended church with Darren – it was thankfully an English Mass. After that we took a train (which come every 1–2 minutes might I add) and then hit the street — Ladies Street to be exact. Ladies Street is a very long market, and they had just about everything, from clothes, to phones, to paintings, to hover boards! So as any teenager would, I purchased some items. The highlight of the day definitely would have to be Sneaker Street (Ben made up a theme song for Sneaker Street). Sneaker Street was basically just a street with a few shops, the twist was though, that every second shop was Nike and every other was New Balance, Adidas or Asics, basically any Australian teenager’s dream! The best part about this street was that every Nike store was different, one might sell shoes, the next basketball gear, and then the next Nike apparel — every shop was different! For dinner I went with Ernest because Holdee was at swimming. Ernest’s parents said to call them Uncle Chow and Aunt Viv and they were funny. After that I caught a train back to Holdee’s house and just relaxed, my feet were very sore from walking all day — Ben’s Fitbit said we had walked close to 15km.
Day 4 – First day of school
Today we had our first day of classes at school, waking up at 7:00am and going to school to have breakfast there like we did on Saturday. After breakfast we had a school assembly at which Josh, Ben and I were made to stand up on the stage in front of the whole school, and I was the only one without a blazer! At least I didn’t wear shorts like Josh, everyone called him ‘shorts guy’. First class of the day was double English, my favourite. After recess I had a full house of Science, double Chemistry, double Physics, followed by Biology, what a day! The classes were quite different from those in Australia; they’re more of a lecture, you don’t discuss content, the teacher just talks and not much book work is done (lots of homework though). After school Holdee had meetings until 5:30pm, so Ben and I watched Ernest do athletics training. Back at the apartment we had rice with fish, BBQ pork (ABSOLUTELY AMAZING) and pigeon. Pigeon basically tasted like funny chicken but really hard to eat, due to the bones and me using chopsticks. While Holdee was at swimming his parents and I went to Temple Street, which is another tourist market. This market was not as good as the Ladies Market but I still managed to snag a few bargains. After the market, we picked Holdee up and went home for bed.
Day 5 – P.E.
Today was a bit of a quiet day as Holdee was mainly practising for his swimming events on tomorrow. We went to school, had the usual breakfast, followed by double sport. It was pretty much too hot to play any sport, so I chose the one with the least running – badminton. I’ve never played it but it was very fun. After recess we had Maths, and then an English essay. At lunchtime the cheering team were practising their chants for tomorrow. They were very loud and had many similar chants to the De La Salle ones. After lunch was Physics and MORE Maths; I had three periods of maths today! When I got home, my host parents took me to a local market to do some more shopping. For dinner we had more rice with beef, fish and pork, YUM! After that, Holdee went to swimming, I did some homework and that was the night.
The following blog updates are from Josh:
Day 7 — Waking up in Hong Kong
Waking up in Hong Kong is something else — it is stinking hot, even with your air con on full blast. The sounds of car horns echo through the city, there’s a little kid crying through a wall six feet from your head and there’s a couple of old ladies squabbling outside. Waking up is an experience in itself.
Darren (my host) and I head off to school at about 7:50am — it’s a short two minute walk. School today was a pretty normal day for the La Salle boys. The day started off with some sustained silent reading, then Economics, followed by Business, Accounting and Financing, then it’s recess. After recess we had double Maths which is pretty much just a lecture from our Maths teacher Mr Lai. Then we had Liberal Studies, which is about how to positively contribute to the community, and more specifically in today’s lesson, how retirement affects people and how we can help the elderly during that time. Then it’s lunch time.
After lunch we have Chinese and then English, where we did some listening activities. After school Darren and Ernest (Ben’s host) took us to Hong Kong Island and we caught the tram around the island. We got on and off several times and stopped for a visit at Times Square. Afterwards we got back on the tram to head back home. The tram was a terrific way to see the city. For dinner we went out to Darren’s cousin’s restaurant where pork is the signature dish — boy it was good. After dinner we came home and I just hit the wall, Hong Kong wears you out. It was a great day!
Day 9 — Bargain Hunting
We had a cracking day today. Back at Darren’s place we had a well-earned sleep in after last night’s adventures around Ocean Park. We woke up a tad late for the breakfast menu at the local traditional restaurant so we jumped straight into lunch instead. Lunch was out of this world, all this pork and noodles with this to die for sauce served on a sizzling platter. You don’t go hungry in Hong Kong.
After lunch I got dropped off at Liam’s place and we headed back out to the Ladies Market. After looking in every single Nike store in Sneaker Street we came to the conclusion that there isn’t a pair of size 12 shoes in Hong Kong. Big shame because they were so cheap. After Sneaker Street we headed to the Ladies Market again. You can drift in and out of form when shopping in the markets, sometimes you’ll get a good deal and others you’ll regret a few seconds later. But tonight was something special, everything we touched turned to gold. We saved about $750 HK dollars between us just through bargaining, which was a pretty awesome effort. We must also thank Liam’s host parents for helping us break through the language barrier. After emptying the wallets we headed back to Liam’s place for some dinner. After dinner Darren came to pick us up and we headed to the park to show some of Daz’s friends how we play basketball back in Aus. It was a massive day and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.