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By Jasmine HUANG (Hall 9)

“It was a perfect cultural exchange!” For many students at City University, the Student Residence is not only their second home, but also a school where they learn and grow. With students coming from all around the world, the Poon Choi and the high table dinner offer a great opportunity to promote the exchange of diverse cultures for the student residents.


On the night of 7 February 2010, like other halls, Hall 9 held a Poon Choi Feast, a traditional type of Hong Kong food of different varieties cooked inside a huge pot. Eighty residents sat together and celebrated the coming Chinese New Year with the delicious Poon Choi and played games in Multi-function Hall A. With over ten different ingredients complementing each other to form one big tasty pot, the dinner represents the diverse cultural environment of the student residence, different but harmonious, yet somehow synergetic.

“It was really unique and it made everyone get involved in the excitement of Chinese New Year,” said Alexis, who was celebrating her first Chinese New Year in Hong Kong while on her exchange from the United States. Sitting around the table like a family, sharing the food with chopsticks, and watching the lion dance performance, it was an unprecedented experience for Brooke, a student from New Zealand. “I felt like a kid who kept asking questions,” Brooke smiled, “The food looked weird to me at the beginning but I fell in love with it at the first bite!” She picked up a piece of meat with chopsticks and put it into a Chinese student’s bowl, “we feel like a family.”

Compared to Chinese Poon Choi Feast, the Western high table dinner, another important annual event, is completely different and special. High table dinners originated from the formal dinner in UK's prestigious boarding schools. On this memorable night, all the participants will dress up and have a formal Western dinner together. The most exciting part of the dinner is when a local celebrity in town is invited to give a speech about his or her success story and when the hall residents share the joy of their hall life. This is a valuable opportunity for Chinese students to learn about Western culture, especially dining etiquette, which will be beneficial to their career development.

“It is my turn to be the teacher!” said Johansson, an English exchange student, with a smile, after demonstrating the use of different forks to his Chinese floor-mates. For most mainland students, it is the first time they have experienced a Western dinner. “I really learnt a lot from it. Especially Western table manners. And the guest speaker inspired me a lot,” said Yating, a mainland student in an elegant dress, “It has broadened my horizons.”

When different cultures meet each other, they create sparks. These lively sparks make our residence life more exciting and colourful.