Wong Man Chi, Maggie
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
This is the start of my study at the University of Aberdeen, UK. It is not easy to take a normal photo like this because daytime is really short in Scotland at winter time. Only 6 hours of sunshine a day, which from 10am to 4pm. I need to treasure every moment of sunlight here. #10Jan18
My host university has prepared many welcome gifts for exchange students, including SIM card which is very useful. Another remarkable gift is a voucher of the gym membership. I can use most of the sports facilities without any charges. The Aberdeen Sports Village is the largest sports centre in Scotland. It includes two standard swimming pools and four indoor football pitches. You will be surprised too when you visit it. #9Jan18
On the orientation day, the organisers divided all the international students into many “Clans” in order to meet other exchange students from different nations. I had a great time in the ice-breaking game and invited a Norway boy, Endre and a Denmark girl, Stephanie to have dinner with me. It was their first time to try my “Winter Melon Soup”. They thought it was weird to not eat the pork in the soup. #CulturalDifference #10Jan18
Let’s look at the amazing antique castle behind me! It is Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland. It is surrounded by sea and it has a strong defensive location. This castle played a prominent role in the history of Scotland. I had taken many pretty pictures here, with sky, castle and sea. You can definitely fetch tons of “Likes” on Facebook if you post a photo of here. #17Jan18
I was so happy to celebrate my birthday here! Glad to have friends from different nations to have a nice night with me. You can buy these pretty props that we are holding at a cheap price in shops called “Poundland” or “Poundworld”. Most of the products were sold at £1 only (~HKD $11) including large pack of snacks, stationary, shampoo etc. Be careful of spending too much money. #shopaholic #21Jan18
I have a bike now! No rental fee is needed, but only £40 deposit. “Becycle” is a NGO just next to the University of Aberdeen. They receive many bike donations from Aberdeen citizens and so they rent these bikes to students around the neighbourhood. The only cost is time. Most of these bikes have some certain defects to them, and so we have to fix the bike by ourselves, such as fixing the brake and brushing the rusted chain, but assistance and tools are provided. Travelling is much more convenience and cheap with these bikes. #skillful #27Jan18
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, UK. Therefore you must visit this city if you have the chance. The vintage architecture behind me is one of the buildings inside the Edinburgh Castle. The entrance fee (£17) is worthwhile because it has plenty of exhibitions inside this castle including the Scottish history, music, ancient jail and many more. You will be well equipped with Scottish knowledge after this visit. #sunnyday #03Feb18
Look! We were tasting the famous Scottish Whisky. We joined the Scotch Whisky Experience and listened to the history and manufacturing procedures of this amazing whisky. The alcohol percentage is high, usually up to 40%. A small portion of whisky (25ml) is equivalent to a whole cup of red wine. Our faces got red soon after this activity. #LowlandWhiskyTheBest
Do you know which ship escorted our last Hong Kong governor to come back to UK? Yes, it is the Royal Yacht Britannia. This gorgeous ship retired soon after this last mission. Therefore, this ship is very meaningful to Hong Kong. We tried the Victoria sandwich cake on this ship’s cafe and it was so yummy. The elongated phone that we are holding in the photo is actually our tour guide machine. We were surprised that it supported Cantonese, too. #AcademicTrip
During my computer course, a group of students visited my lecture theatre to promote a Lightbulb Competition. The competition was organized by ABVenture from the University of Aberdeen. It encourages students to propose a business idea and persuade judges with a short pitch. The winners will be rewarded with a £850 cash prize. This competition seemed interesting and innovative, and therefore I decided to sign up!
In this photo we were preparing to present our 45-second pitch in front of the judges. After three hours of brainstorming and modifications, my partner Joe and I came up with a ‘Kidsports’ app. Our idea was to provide a social networking platform for kids to do sports in order to counter growing obesity rates. No PowerPoints were allowed. Instead, we drew an outline of the app on paper in order to visualize our idea to the judges. We were elated to be chosen as semi-finalists!
A week later, we prepared for the semi-finals of the Lightbulb Competition. It was a stormy winter’s morning and only one judge managed to show up. The organizers came up with a solution – a Skype conference with the absent judges. Therefore, we needed to give our pitches in front of two notebooks, which was extremely funny. We didn’t become finalists but we learnt about many inspiring ideas. This was a fantastic competition and I recommend all CityU students to join.
Let’s have a hall tour: This is my little room in Grant Court – a medium-priced student hall in which five students share a flat. An average flat includes five rooms, a toilet, a bathroom, and a kitchen. The level of security in this flat is high. We are required to use our student cards to enter the building, the flat, and our room. Grant Court is a new, clean, and stylish hall. I recommend other exchange students to choose this hall.
This is our kitchen and common area, which is spacious and fashionable. A good quality set of induction stoves and ovens are provided for our cooking needs. In fact, dining out is quite expensive in Aberdeen (at least £10 per meal). If you are not good at cooking, don’t worry. Most supermarkets provide fast-baking and yummy meals that can simply be placed in the oven – tasty and economic!
My flat has a large bathroom with many cleaning utensils. Unlike the CityU halls, no one helps to clean for you. Therefore, we have to keep the flat clean by ourselves, including moving heavy rubbish bags to the recycling station and cleaning the drains. However, these chores help develop my housekeeping skills and overall independence.
In the southern part of Aberdeen, there is a coastal path great for cycling. It starts from Victoria Road, goes via St Fitticks Road, and runs along the Coast Road. Eventually, you reach the end of the route – Cove Bay. Along the way, there are vast grasslands on one side that extend as far as the eye can see and the boundless sea on the other. It is a great place to breathe in the fresh air and get away from hustle and bustle of school for a bit.
In addition to the natural landscape mentioned before, I discovered a ‘free zoo’ on my trip. Crossing the road next to a farm, I saw cows, horses, and sheep. The farm owner gave me permission to feed, touch, and take photos with his horses. If you are ever in Aberdeen, I recommend taking this cycling path if you are an animal lover.
Finally, I reached Cove Bay. There were many seagulls flying overhead. Watching the sunset here was both comfortable and romantic. Getting to sample some of Aberdeen’s natural beauty was a priceless experience. The air in the UK is so much more fresh than the dusty air in Hong Kong. I cycled for four hours and by the end of the day my trousers were covered in mud. Remember to bring wet wipes and plenty of water if you go on this trip.
Apart from Aberdeen Sports Village, there is also another sports centre called “Transition Extreme Sports”. There is a skateboard park, climbing walls, and an outdoor rope park. All extreme sports, the cost is rather pricey. My friend, Sally, is a qualified climbing coach and thus, I was able to get a discount. Rock climbing really challenged my limits and I was able to get over my fear of heights. You cannot find an extreme sports centre on this scale in Hong Kong. If you are fearless of heart, you should definitely come and try it for yourself.
Infohub is the one and only canteen at the University of Aberdeen. Serving a wide range of food, including Asian and Mexican, there are also many vegan options. The girl in the photo is Rafidah, she is a mum of two and a postgraduate student majoring in education. We talked about a lot of things, including how I was getting along on my computer courses, as well as some of my suggestions for them. It was interesting to discover that there is no age limit for postgraduate studies at the University of Aberdeen.
This is Seaton Park in the background. It is a 15 minutes-long walk and the main route from the student accommodation to campus. However, as there are no street lights, it is better to go another way home at night because it is completely dark. The guy behind me is an exchange student from CityU called Jonas. We had gotten together to talk about our exchange experiences. He told me that he really misses the food and culture of Hong Kong.