For the past two years, I was able to spend extended periods of time abroad due to an exchange semester at the University of Hong Kong and an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). My absence from Vancouver has made me realize things that I definitely took for granted in the past. Ultimately, these are the three things I miss most about studying in Vancouver.
Growing up, sports have always been an important part of my life. Whether it was high school or university, I’ve always had multiple golf courses, ice rinks, and sports centres within 15 minutes from my school.
During my time in Hong Kong, I coached ice hockey for players aged 6-19. As expected, the number of ice rinks in Hong Kong was significantly less than Vancouver. Therefore, most people in Hong Kong live at least 50 minutes away from the closest arena.
The benefits of nature can be easily experienced in Canada. On study breaks, I would often take walks at nearby parks, or even kayak at a lake, to clear and refresh my mind. In addition, I miss Vancouver because I don’t get to experience the feeling I get when I inhale the fresh Canadian air. On the other hand, the environment and population density in Hong Kong made it difficult for me to be submerged in natural surroundings.
There is no doubt that Hong Kong has some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world. However, the famous restaurants usually come with a very high price, which is definitely not in a student’s budget. I mainly went to more affordable restaurants, or restaurants on campus when I studied at HKU. When comparing the lower priced meals between Hong Kong and Vancouver, I find that I was able to find much higher quality food in Vancouver.
Additionally, something else I definitely took for granted in Vancouver was the clean and crisp tap water. Walking over to the tap for a glass of cold water was not an option in Hong Kong. Similarly, many other places in the world also do not have drinkable tap water as well.
I have just finished an internship in Hong Kong and will be heading back to Vancouver soon. While I truly enjoy being in Hong Kong and hope to be back soon, I’m also very excited to head back for the final year of my undergraduate degree at Simon Fraser University.