April 11, 2013

Dialogue in the Dark

Greetings from Hong Kong! This week is my spring break and my program has taken our group on a week-long trip to the great city of Hong Kong.A view of Hong Kong, China, with a street, the water, and tall buildings behind the water

Although Hong Kong is technically a city in China, it’s nothing like the China I know. The people of Hong Kong refer to their city as “one country, two systems.” This means that Hong Kong, being formally under British rule, is quite unique. It is apparent that there has been a large amount of British influence seen through the widespread use of English, along with the policy of driving on the left side of the road, but Hong Kong is technically a Chinese city.

I have spent this week doing a lot of different things. Unfortunately though, the weather has been less than ideal. It has rained almost every day, making it harder to get around and to see all Hong Kong has to offer. Luckily, the IES program has arranged multiple activities and trips for our group. So far we have listened to two guest speakers and learned about Hong Kong’s role in the world today and its history. In addition we were taught about education in Hong Kong, as well as religion, and we toured the Bloomberg office along with the IFC (International Financial Center). A display of paper currency behind glass in the Bloomberg office in Hong Kong, ChinaWe got to visit a secondary school in Hong Kong and were greeted by the students and we were permitted to observe their class.

After comparing this school to the high school I intern at in Shanghai it is easy to see that we are no longer in Mainland China. Mandarin was not spoken in the classroom, and unlike the students in Shanghai, the students in Hong Kong are much more similar to American students in their mannerisms and attitudes. Overall, this week has been very eye opening in a lot of ways, and I’m eager to continue exploring Hong Kong over the next 2 days.

My favorite thing that I’ve done this week has got to be participating in an exhibit called Dialogue in the Dark. It was here that my roommate Katia and I experienced life as a blind person for over an hour. Megan Goodman and her roommate, Katia, stand before the sign for the Dialogue in the Dark exhibit in Hong Kong, ChinaWe were brought into a room and given canes to use and were introduced to our tour guide, Henry. We were instructed to use our senses along with our canes to find our way around, and if all else fails we were to scream out to Henry for help if we were lost (something that I surprisingly only had to do once).

Next we were placed in a room that was pitch black. First we entered a make believe forest.  As a team we figured  out where we were through talking with our tour guide and each other, using our senses to hear birds, feel trees and grass under our feet, and smell flowers. We continued to go through the exhibit and using our senses we figured out that we visited a mock grocery store, mall, concert hall, and a café. The most fascinating part about it all was that our tour guide was actually blind since birth. We were able to ask him questions and learned a lot about the struggles he goes through everyday. I really learned a lot from this experience and am also grateful for being able to make it through without any bumps and bruises.

Another fun activity I did this week was going to the Hong Kong horse races. Megan Goodman and her roommate, Katia, pose at a racetrack in Hong Kong, China, while horses race in the backgroundKatia and I persevered through the rain and found ourselves at this immaculate and vibrant racecourse. Although I didn’t officially bet during the races, I had a good time watching them and experiencing this famous event. I am looking forward to my last day tomorrow when I will finally visit the famous Victoria’s Peak and explore Macau at night! Back to Shanghai in 2 days, so I have lots more to see and do.

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1 Comment

  1. Hong Kong sounds like a different and fascinating experience. I too am shocked that you explored life as a blind person for an hour with only one time screaming for help and no real bumps and bruises!! It sounds like an amazing eye opening experience…

    says sari
    April 11, 2013 at 10:52 am
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