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By Sammi FUNG (HSBC Prosperity Hall)

When you are heading back to the Student Residence with your tired body, every single part of the halls seems to be the same – regular windows, similar curtains etc.. But as well as the usual single occupancy and double occupancy rooms, there are actually studio rooms tailor-made for “special” residents living in the same environment as us in the Jockey Club Harmony Hall (Hall 7) – married student couples.

Safa and Jime are a married student couple from Bangladesh. They are both PhD students in the Department of Biology and Chemistry. They have been living in a Hall 7 studio room for three and a half years since Febuary 2007. However, when they first came to CityU, they had to live separately for a short period of time, as there were no units designed for married couples at that time. So they could not often meet each other and did not have much time for communication. At that time, studio rooms fully equipped with basic furnishing were established, to fulfill their needs. “Since moving into the studio room, we have more privacy and we are able to share our laughter.” Jime said. They are now living happily with mutual emotional support, which is remarkably beneficial to their studies.

Apart from their studies, Safa and Jime also enjoy participating in a variety of activities organised by the hall and Student Residence Office, e.g. the healthy cooking competition and inter-hall singing competition, in order to make contact with different new friends. They suggest that consecutive activities can be organised so that they can interact with different students and get to know more about their culture and beliefs as a way of embracing diversity. As a result, a warm and caring atmosphere is created in the Student Residence as a whole.

Both Safa and Jime enjoy their hall life very much as they can enjoy their personal space as a young family and at the residence they can foster friendship with others at the same time. “If you were now given a choice, would you still choose to live in this student hostel? ” I asked. “Sure, why not?” is the firm answer which Safa gives with a warm smile.