A Learning Lifestyle
Working and living in a country to which you have never travelled is an ongoing, 24/7 learning experience. This is what I mean. As would be expected, the hours of the day spent doing work for the company provide a massive influx of information, but that doesn’t stop when lunch comes around; sitting to eat with my coworkers and superiors, I am bathed in seemingly unlimited experience and knowledge with regard to the culture that surrounds me in this foreign place. Favorite restaurants and nightlife, temples and monuments, hikes and attractions, social and professional customs. I take in all of the knowledge that I can before plates are empty and employees are back at their desks. This is my queue to log back in and continue the information absorption via my laptop. Then as 6 pm rolls around and the workforce clears out to tend to their families and decompress, I find myself at it again—learning—whether I like it or not. I walk out of work and am nearly clipped by a public bus hurtling towards its next eager patrons. Look both ways and, more importantly, understand the importance of timeliness in this city. I walk to the MTR (subway) station and am asked by locals to stand on the right side of the escalator, leaving the left side clear for others to walk up. Understand the expectation of order and efficiency in every aspect of daily life as a Hong Konger. I arrive at my apartment and hop in the shower only to learn the hard way that I need to flick a switch 15 minutes before I shower in order to have hot water. Understand the frugality and environmental consciousness of the people. I head out for a night in Lan Kwai Fong to see friends, listen to music, dance, and de-stress. Understand that the hard work of the city is rewarded with hard play.
Now, it would make sense if I said that I wake up the next morning and do it all over again, but I don’t. The next day I am researching something different at work—learning even more. I am having a different conversation with new people at lunch—even more. I get off the subway a few stops early and walk home—even more. I hike up a mountain overlooking the sunset—even more still. Suffice it to say that every waking hour of my time here has taught me something new about this place, the world, the people, or myself. I have long been excited for this internship knowing it would be “cool” but I see now just how much I underestimated the value of it. It is not only “cool” but downright critical for my personal and professional development and I could not be more thankful to be here.