Lau Hiu Tung, Eva
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
My exchange study at the University of Aberdeen has officially started! I can’t believe that I’m going to be living in Scotland, in this wonderful city, for nearly half year! Everything here is just perfect, the people are so nice and hospitable. A mailman even helped me take my luggage to the student residence after he saw I was struggling with it all. The seagulls soaring above the city make me feel so relaxed and at peace. The University of Aberdeen is not only a historic university in the UK but also a famous attraction in Aberdeen. I really hope I’ll have some fantastic experiences while studying here.
Orientation day was both funny and exciting! All the international students were grouped into teams so that we could play games around the university. We had to complete different tasks as fast as possible to win prizes. The photo is of one of the tasks we were set, where we had to find a sculpture of DNA on campus. I am totally amazed that there are so many beautiful and historic sculptures at the university. The biggest disappointment of the day for me however, was that I forgot to take a photo with a handsome Norwegian guy called Nick! He studies business too, so hopefully I’ll get meet him again soon in class!
We celebrated the start of the semester at a local pub. The most amazing thing about the pub are the activities they organize every night from 7:30pm, including bingo, drink and draw, and a speed quiz, which all allow us to either win cash or drinks. We decided to take part in the speed quiz. It was an all-round test of general knowledge, for example what is the name of a certain football player or the percentage of water in the human body. It was then we finally realized why our professor suggested the place to us. In fact, we almost won free drinks. What a pity! Next time, we will revise and be sure to win.
It’s my first day of class! And it feels just like how I felt when I first attended primary school. It was nervous but exciting! The building in the photo is King’s college, which is the central and most iconic building in my university. I had my first business lecture as well. The lecturer was so funny. He made jokes when he was teaching and the huge lecture theatre was full of laughter. It was also a time to learn from students studying here. They are well prepared and participates actively in class. At the end of the lesson, he asked us to guess the price of his car. The fastest student who guesses it correctly could get a free test book from him. Unfortunately, I had no idea about cars!
It was amazing to join a Scottish dancing night with my exchange buddies! The event was organized by the Scottish Dancing Society in my university. We tried the traditional Scottish food, which was a mixture of potatoes, beef and BBQ sauce. It tasted quite weird but the local people love it. The most exciting part of the night was the dancing session. We were taught by a professional dancer and paired up with others to have some practice. The strong and lovely man in the photo is Ben and he was my teacher and also my partner that night. At last, we enjoyed a big dance together. It was the most exciting night I have ever had in Aberdeen. If only I had worn a formal dress to this event, I would have no regrets!
After five intense study days, the wonderful weekend came! I had a day trip to Stonehaven with my exchange buddies, which is a small and beautiful town near Aberdeen. Can’t explain how excited I was when I saw sheeps eating at a shiny meadow! They were so cute! We saw a historic building called The Memorial, which commemorates the First and Second World Wars amongst others. There are lots of fresh flowers inside. I guess, some locals come voluntarily to keep it clean and beautiful. Apart from this magnificent building, we also visited a seaside castle and enjoyed a wonderful sunset at the beach. What a fortunate to have such a relaxing time away from all bustling stuff!
Have you ever heard of the Aberdeen’s Festival of Light? It is the biggest annual event in Aberdeen. The whole city gets lit up with colourful decorations and there are loads of interesting games to play. Look at me! I’m having a light bicycle race. All I had to do was ride as fast as possible to make the red lights cross over onto blue team’s side in order to win the game. Together with my new friend Katie, we tried three times and finally won. We actually met waiting in line to join the race. While we chatted, I discovered that she is a local university student who also studies business. What an unbelievable way to meet new friends!
It is very fortunate that the Festival of Light runs for a whole week! It’s so much fun it has become my daily night event. All the children were holding glow sticks and had fluorescent face paint on. There was even a puppy wearing a fluorescent ring. It was adorable! In the photo you can see how there was a light show projected onto the historic clock tower! I was totally amazed by the whole thing, how modern and cultural it all was. Another attraction of the festival is the graveyard adventure. It’s even held in a real tomb! There were a lot of scary sounds and projected animations. I was so scared, I didn’t take any photos, sorry!
It’s a snowy good morning! This was my first time seeing snow fall! I immediately got up and rushed outside to take a photo with my flatmates. It was a really memorable moment. Did you know that although Aberdeen is a northern city in the UK, there is actually very little snowfall throughout the whole of winter. Even the local students were coming out and celebrating! My little sister loves the movie ‘Frozen’ and her dream is to watch snow fall. I video called her and she was both surprised and excited, especially when my friend Angela started singing ‘Let it go’. We all loved it and had a great time!
It was Lantern Festival! So to celebrate this special day, we went to the Chinese market to buy sweet dumplings. Unfortunately, they were sold out, so we decided to make them ourselves. This was my first time making sweet dumplings. It was so difficult! First, we evenly mixed rice flour and warm water in a big mixing bowl. After that, we rubbed the flour through our fingers until it became dough. Finally, it was time for the filling! We used red bean paste, green bean paste, and even chocolate. While it was only our first attempt, they tasted amazing! Even though I was away from my family, I still enjoyed a homey time with my exchange buddies.
I can’t believe people in the UK also celebrate Chinese New Year! The Confucius Institute at my university had organized a series of traditional events on the main campus. My friends and I were so lucky to be able to take part in all of them! First, we enjoyed a gala performance put on by the local children. They were all so adorable! Although Chinese is not their mother tongue, they sang extremely well. Suddenly, there was a glorious burst of music and three strong men dressed in lion dance costumes jumped onto the stage to perform a lion dance. After the show, they invited us to try on some of the traditional costumes. This was what I looked like after I got dressed up. It was so funny!
After having a lovely Chinese meal in the school canteen, we went to the Chinese Carnival in the garden near our school. There were a number of booths all focusing on Chinese cultural traditions, like Chinese arts and crafts, dumpling making, and Chinese dance teaching. We were delighted to see so many of the students here enjoying themselves and treasuring our culture! There was even a Fai Chun corner as well, wow! We had been longing for something to decorate our flat with, so we wrote all of our wishes down on red paper and took an instant photo in the photo booth. This was the best Chinese New Year ever!
It was a rainy Saturday morning, so I went on a treasure hunt with my friends. It is no ordinary treasure hunt though, this is a popular annual event organized by International Centre. We felt so fortunate to be able to take part in this traditional activity. Randomly divided into four groups, we were given a detailed map of the city and the location of some important check points. In order to win, we had to solve a murder from the clues given to us at the checkpoints. This photo is of one of the important clues – the hospital where the victim had been before. We were so excited to have gotten a piece of vital information about the case. The game ended at noon and we got to talk about what we had discovered during the investigation. It was a pity that we lost, but it was still an unforgettable experience.
Over the last few weeks, the UK has been hit by a powerful storm nicknamed the ‘Beast from the East’, and it has brought a huge amount of snow to Aberdeen. On one cold afternoon, I went to Seaton Park with my exchange buddies. Seaton Park is a famous landmark in Aberdeen and it is right next to our hall of residence. The entire park was covered in beautiful snow and there were many people were playing in it. This picture is of our lovely snowman! It took us nearly an hour to build in the extreme cold weather. After that, we had a snowball fight and ran through the snow. Although it was very cold, we still had great fun in the park.
One of the most popular games in the UK is pool. There are a lot of places to playing pool at my university, such as in the university canteen, various academic buildings, and the halls of residence. It is therefore quite common to see students playing pool during their lunch break. Inspired, I decided to learn pool, and now I always play with my flat mates after dinner. One of my friends, Christine, is very good at pool and she told me that she started to play against her dad when she was still in primary school. She has taught me a lot of techniques and helps me practice. Plus, she is really nice and very professional! Thanks to her, I am able to play pool pretty well now. I’m sure I will become a pool expert really soon!
Aberdeen Sports Village is the biggest sport centre in Aberdeen. There are tons of facilities inside, such as a swimming pool, gyms, and even an indoor football pitch. The most exciting thing is that, being students at the University of Aberdeen, we can play sports and take lessons here free of charge. Therefore, we always go running in the gym during our leisure time. Here I am taking a yoga class with my friend Angela! Our teacher Linda is really nice. Since this was Angela and my first time doing yoga, Linda walked us through it patiently step by step. After the lesson, she suggested that next week we take her advanced course. We can’t wait to see her again!
This is our university canteen! There are many different types of food here, including Mexican, Italian, and even Chinese. The noodles sold here are amazing, and they taste similar to the ones in Hong Kong. It was a real treat for me as I have missed noodles very much. My favourite food here is the Mexican beef wrap meal, which comes with chips, a wrap, a soft drink, and a snack, such as chicken wings. The whole set only costs about HK$38. I was absolutely full after that meal. There are also temporary promotion booths which often give away free drinks and snacks. Recently, I got a special edition mini size Coca Cola that I had never seen before! It is a shame I cannot share the delicious food here with my dear friends and family back in Hong Kong.
This famous landmark at the University of Aberdeen’s is called the King’s Museum. A rather special museum, as the exhibitions constantly changes. More importantly, there is free entry for the public. I still can’t quite believe that there is a museum inside the university! The exhibition during my recent visit was called ‘The Scottish Warrior’. There were a lot of interesting items on display, such as traditional military uniforms and war badges. It was fascinating to discover that Scottish military uniform consisted of a traditional Scottish kilt. Scottish soldiers still wear it for ceremonial purposes even now. As I left, the security guard told me that the next exhibition would be about Scottish dance. How exciting, I can’t wait to go back!
Assignments are nearly due. How disappointing for us students! This quiet and modern café inside the university library is where I study. It’s great because I can read here while enjoying a delicious coffee. The assignment requirements are very tough here, especially for Business Law, which requires me to conduct a detailed analysis of Scottish and UK law. It’s been very difficult for me, since I only have a small amount of background knowledge. Fortunately, one of my group mates, Christina, invited me to study with her. With her help, I’m sure I will be able to finish my essay soon! Thankfully, there is the Easter break right after this tedious assignment period!
Wow! I enjoyed another fantastic event organized by the International Centre with my exchange buddies! There are lots of weekly events, such as language study groups and small local tours. Unfortunately, I cannot attend many of them because of my tight schedule. This event I attended though was called the ‘Taste of Aberdeen’ and it offered a lot of traditional local Aberdeen food, drinks, and desserts. It was a perfect way to talk to other people and make new friends. The green juice I was had was a healthy drink in Aberdeen and the locals drink it every day. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like it and I’m not sure I would have it again. Anyway, the beef, desserts, and vegetables all tasted very good! You should definitely come and try it for yourself!
This is me voting in the new students’ union at the University of Aberdeen! The election process is quite different from our university. People are voted for individually, instead of in teams, and they all must compete for the same position. Each candidate was promoting themselves enthusiastically with stylish posters and slogans. While at the university café, I was invited to vote in the election by Jason, one of the proposed welfare secretaries. He explained a lot about his future welfare plans and told me about some interesting places around Aberdeen. He even shared a little secret of how to get a discount at the canteen. He had so much to share! I was really touched by his passion, so I decided to vote for him.