Picture this: frantic waiters race a variety drink orders across the room while a group of assorted QUT alumni introduce themselves, and one of my study tour colleagues Angus (“Aussie Angus”) bellows a G’day greeting to them at the top of his voice. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when you mix a bunch of excited Australian students with a group of eager mentors whose brains they can pick, the answer is best summarised with one word – noise.
It was yet another scorching hot evening in Kowloon as we made our way to a local Italian restaurant at the glamorous Festival Walk shopping precinct. Our event organiser James Ho warmly introduced us to the rest of our dinner guests – seated at my table were the lovely Elsie Wong and Jon Lam, while table 2 dined with James, William Lau, Fiona Tsang and Anna Lee.
Over the course of the next couple of hours the Hong Kong locals enthralled us with their experience and insights about living and working in Hong Kong. A point of particular note was how common it was to work up to 18 hours a day! William – who runs his own business – actually seemed to fondly look back on a time where he “only” had to be at work from 10am in the morning, to 2am the next morning. I still haven’t been able to decide if that’s impressive or horrifying. Horrifyingly impressive perhaps?
In their own words, the locals make up for this by adhering to the old adage “work hard, play harder”, and they were more than happy to provide us with a variety of tips for enjoying a social life in Hong Kong. Life here really does seem to run at 100 miles an hour, and the people throw themselves into every endeavour with the kind of effort and enthusiasm that puts even the most energetic of us to shame.
After enviously drooling (sometimes literally) at all that Hong Kong has to offer over the past weeks, it was nice to learn that all of the alumni looked back fondly on their time in Brisbane, with some even expressing a desire to return at some point in the future. But for now, it’s life in the fast lane, pedal to the metal, high octane living for our Hong Kong friends.
A large part of me is terrified by it, but an even larger part is fervently eager to join them.
If you’re a former QUT student, be sure to look out for your local alumni chapter! The QUT Alumni – Hong Kong Chapter can be found on Facebook.
Top tips from Hong Kong locals:
- Knowing some level of Mandarin and/or Cantonese is hugely beneficial to Westerners working in Hong Kong
- Finance and real estate are some of the booming industries
- Be prepared for an extremely up tempo lifestyle
- October is the best time of year to visit for a holiday