Bringing home Hong Kong

The Hong Kong skyline lit up at night during the daily Symphony of Lights.

The Hong Kong skyline lit up at night during the daily Symphony of Lights.

Bringing home Hong Kong

By Barton Robison

Ten days from my return to the U.S., and I’m still dreaming about monkeys, street food and sewage treatment plants. Blame it on the jet lag (that I just got over a few days ago) or the weight loss (because China is very vegetarian un-friendly), but I’m completely worn out! Hong Kong was everything I had expected and so much more. Here are the three biggest takeaways I brought home with me.

Hong Kong is unique. Looking back on it, what stands out most are the contradictions of the city: forward-thinking, yet steeped in tradition; impossibly dense, yet run wild with nature; a pro-democratic culture overseen by mainland China. So many things about this place shouldn’t work, and yet it all comes together in one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever visited.

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Leaving a new world

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The CityU-ASU energy group outside Kowloon Walled City Gate.

Leaving a new world

By Maximilian Christman

Hard to believe this trip is already over; it was as short as it was jam-packed with activities and hard work. I can now say that I’ve visited four continents, and I hope that the rest will follow soon (including Antarctica). Hong Kong is the perfect model of a metropolis. The city copes incredibly well with very difficult spatial and geographic constraints and has set a high standard for urban design.

The final grind

In terms of classes, this week was a lot different than the last. Field trips and lectures were mostly replaced by group work time to be devoted to our final poster and policy presentation. We spent numerous hours every day this week refining our ideas, phrasing policy statements, absorbing feedback from Dr. Melnick and Robert Gibson (one of the CityU faculty working with our class) and deciding on poster layouts.

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Learning to learn: A cultural evolution

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Our group on day 1 at the top of Victoria’s Peak with a view of downtown Hong Kong, Victoria’s harbor and Kowloon City.

Learning to learn: A cultural evolution

By Amory Ford

My hand shoots into the air, along with the majority of the rest of the ASU students studying abroad with me. The professor ignores our eagerness to respond while he looks around for a less familiar hand to sprout up from the garden of thinkers. All of the Hong Kong City University students are more than capable of answering his question, but unlike the ASU individuals, these students are quiet group thinkers.

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Everything new, everything good

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Max at the beach in Hong Kong

Everything new, everything good

By Maximilian Christman

Wow, the days have really blown by here in Hong Kong. I feel like I just started this trip yesterday, but I’m already at the halfway point. With five straight days of intense classes, this laid back weekend has been much appreciated.

The daily routine

While every day has been different here in Hong Kong, there are some commonalities to each day of the previous week. We start in a classroom at 9:00 a.m. with a few PowerPoint lectures from various people. My personal favorite was one last week when we heard about the history of Hong Kong from Mr. Jason Wordie.

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Documenting sustainability solutions: A videographer’s journey in Hong Kong

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Our team on a field visit to Kowloon Energy East, a company working to redesign urban space for public use.

Documenting sustainability solutions: A videographer’s journey in Hong Kong

By Barton Robison

We’re currently on a bus overlooking one of Hong Kong’s three landfill sites, a hugely impressive (and terribly disgusting) expanse stretching across 110 acres in Nim Wan, Tuen Mun. This isn’t exactly where one hopes to end up on holiday, but this isn’t your average holiday.

I’m here in Hong Kong to document ASU’s study abroad program focusing on urban sustainability, a partnership with the local CityU in Kowloon in which students from both countries are teamed up to research problems facing major cities today, and working to innovate solutions specific to Hong Kong.  As a videographer by trade and a marketer by practice, my understanding of sustainability issues is ignorant at best. And after just two days here, it’s blowing my mind how important the work these students are doing truly is.

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What a journey, what a destination

Maximilian Christman Hong Kong

What a journey, what a destination

By Maximilian Christman

Seventy-two hours: thats how long I went without sleeping on a bed during my travels from Tempe to City University of Hong Kong (CityU). Those 72 hours doesn’t even include the 15 hour time change, so during that period I slept on planes, grass and benches before settling into my cozy, yet very firm bed here in Alumni Civility Hall at CityU.

To review my itinerary, I started from Phoenix and flew to San Francisco. From the Bay Area, I took an 11-hour ride on a Boeing 747 to Tokyo. Surprisingly, the landscape of Tokyo as viewed from the plane was very green and hardly developed. I know that Tokyo is one of the densest cities in the world, so the airport was clearly on the outskirts. My final flight was on a newer 767 operated by ANA Airlines, “The Inspiration of Japan.” Not surprisingly, they offer better amenities and customer service than any of the airlines in the U.S. I got into Hong Kong International Airport at 10 p.m. local time, and my two-week stay had officially begun.

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Minimalist Packing: A girl and a carry-on

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Minimalist Packing: A girl and a carry-on

By Amory Ford

What to wear? What to pack? Do I need this? What am I bound to forget? What can I buy there?

There are so many questions and such little time. With our trip to Hong Kong on the horizon, I’m sure we are all scrambling to make sure we have the international adapters we need as well as picking out the right clothes to accommodate all of our different needs.

For this trip, I have challenged myself to pack for this two-week study abroad and another trip immediately following Hong Kong (24 days total) in one carry-on suitcase.
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Getting serious about getting ready

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Getting serious about getting ready

By Maximilian Christman

Now that school and graduation are finished, I’ve had three solid weeks of nothing but free time. I knew that this period was coming, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t get bored. I would work out, watch movies and hang out with friends, but I would not get bored. I think I’ve kept up that promise fairly well, but there’ve been moments where I really wanted something substantive to do. So I think this trip is coming at the exact right time. I’ve been appreciating all of the recent communications from our TA on this voyage to Hong Kong, and I really can’t wait to get started.

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A Little About Me

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A Little About Me

By Maximilian Christman

I’m a senior, and this study abroad trip to Hong Kong is my last class at Arizona State University (ASU). I already participated in all of my graduation ceremonies and have fulfilled all my requirements and desired elective classes. So one might ask why I’m taking this class at all.

Well, first of all, I love to travel. I love to explore new places. I pride myself on my ability to adjust to new situations. Take, for instance, my decision to attend ASU despite being accepted to University of Wisconsin, which is 10 miles from my parent’s house. I wanted to know and explore a new place, so I made the state of Arizona my new home.

This trip is a rare opportunity to study sustainability in a completely new setting. Sustainability, more so than any other discipline, requires hands-on learning. Sustainability discourages cookie-cutter solutions, and as an aspiring sustainability professional, it is my duty to learn about new environments and how to adapt solutions to a unique situation.

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Hong Kong: Getting the low-down on what to do or not do

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Hong Kong: Getting the low-down on what to do or not do

By Amory Ford

To enjoy chicken feet or not to, that is the question. When traveling to Hong Kong, some say it’s a must do and others say it’s a must avoid! How will you know if they will be good or when to politely say you’ve already eaten?

As a foodie, I’m usually inclined to try anything at least once. In this case, that could mean a great adventure in my perpetual quest for cuisine or a hugely embarrassing story which is only funny years later. After some research, I determined that those who have lived in Hong Kong would advise you to try it, and those who have traveled there would advise against it.

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