High school student

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  1. #1

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    High school student

    Hi.

    I'm going to HK in about 2 months,will be there for 10 months and I don't know what to expect?
    I'm going to live with an HK family who will take care of me as I were part of the family. Problem is, I don't speak cantonese
    eeh, anyone have done anything similiar to this?

    Do people in HK understand english well?
    I know plenty of people who ethnicaly are hongkers but have lived here in Sweden all their lives. They all give me completely different views of how life is there.
    I will be placed in a ordinary high school, teachers will speak canto, and I will not get a word
    If placed in the Art programe, what will I study then?
    What do people do in the lessions? Are you allowed to speak freely about your oppinion?

    What to avoid and what to must do in HK?

    Are people crazy about blond, tall, causcian, ice-blue-eyed guys there?

    Thxs!


  2. #2

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    I think going to a Cantonese Highschool where you cannot understand a single word for only 10 months is pointless. You will not gain anything from it.

    If you are not actively making an effort to learn the language, the 10 months will make you miserable. The teachers will not speak English to suit you.

    The fluency of english is difficult. Most of my relatives cannot speak English at all. If you spend all your time in Central or TST, then you will find people who speak English. But if you are in Tuen Mun and try talking english, most people will think you are talking in Alien.

    If your HK family cannot speak English, you will have a very hard time. Try mastering sign language.

    Don't assume everyone speaks English.

    Last edited by XYZ; 04-07-2006 at 09:48 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Adamu:
    What to avoid and what to must do in HK?
    What to avoid? The Indians in TST who constantly bother you to make cheap suits or buy leather bags.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Adamu:
    Are people crazy about blond, tall, causcian, ice-blue-eyed guys there?
    HK is not Japan man.

  4. #4

    Hi Mr.Adam, i wonder why you dun go to study in an international school. its gonna be so much easier n fun for you. im not biased, but the teaching style of local school is gonna bore you to death. and depends on the grading of the school, some school kids' english level will be so low that it will be like you're studying in a school where kids are mute or deaf coz they cant communicate wiv you. haha but dont worry about being a tall alien with ice blue eyes. hk people are well used to caucasian. we have teenagers wearing funky blue contact lens too haha they can be ur friends.

    [QUOTE=Mr.Adamu]Hi.

    I will be placed in a ordinary high school, teachers will speak canto, and I will not get a word


  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by XYZ:
    What to avoid? The Indians in TST who constantly bother you to make cheap suits or buy leather bags.
    There are worse things than that to avoid, you do know that...or don't you?

    Why single out this characteristic in particular? I could list a hundred different things to avoid doing in HK and this wouldn't even come close.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Adamu:
    I know plenty of people who ethnicaly are hongkers but have lived here in Sweden all their lives. They all give me completely different views of how life is there.
    Are you swedish? If so, we should hang out at ikea together when we get homesick (im moving to HK for university at about the same time as you)

    As for the school issue i dont think it's crazy. Assuming that you're swedish this year in HK will mean that you fall behind one year, so not understanding a lot in school won't be hurting you academically. Personally i believe you have a better shot at learning cantonese if you're exposed to it, however, i also do believe that you will have a more difficult time and feel quite ailianated. I have friends who have spent a year in both japan and china, not knowing the language before they arrived, they have faced hard times but says it was worth it.

    Good luck =D

  7. #7

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    Yeah the answers were a bit... pessimistic.
    Everyone seems to think that it's an impossibility for westernes to learn foreign languages... Swedish people ARE quite good at it.

    Oh, another question, what's the difference between cantonese and mandarin? Are they the same language but different dialects or is it like comparing english with finnish?

    And I don't know yet if I will be placed in a international or ordinary, it's just that most people are placed in the ordinary.

    I'll hope there is much sport subjekts

    Are you swedish Hannae?
    I am.´

    Thxs for the replies!


  8. #8

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    languages

    Cantonese and Mandarin are both called dialects for political reasons by Chinese governments, but in reality the linguistic difference between the 2 are similar to that of English and Dutch, or French and Spanish. Not as close as Spanish and Italian. The 2 are not mutually intelligeable although its easier for speakers of one to learn the other, just as its relatively easier for a speaker of french to learn Spanish versus a Japanese speaker learning Spanish.

    Life will be challenging and fun, but not impossible. A few years back a European student wrote up his life after a scheme exactly like yours where he'd ended up becoming fast friends with his host family and learning basic Cantonese. This will be a once in a lifetime immersion experience, and highly worthwhile in the friendships you will make and what you learn about yourself.

    Wouldn't the organisation sending you here have previous 'alum' they can put you in touch with?

    Things to expect - heat, humidity and crowded living conditions. Along the lines of a bunk bed in a small bedroom shared with at least one other person. Observe basic rules of considerate behaviour - look at how others behave at table, around the house, etc and imitiate. You will also have relatively little privacy compared with the West - family space is public and shared, including teenagers' bedrooms. Your host family should be friendly and helpful - why else would they invite a stranger into their homes in this crowded city? See if there's anyone in the family you can email ahead of time to build a rapport with.

    School rules - uniforms are worn, and most schools/students take pride in their uniforms. Observe those rules and you'll avoid antagonising the staff. Short hair for males - usually there's something about hair not touchign the collar. No jewllery apart from wristwatches. If your school is English medium, most of the classes will be conducted in English. If it's Chinese medium - more of a problem as even the text books will be in Chinese. Do your best to ensure you're allocated to an English medium school. In general, HK secondary school standards are competitive with worldwide standards, particularly in the sciences, so I wouldn't worry about falling behind if you're assigned to the science stream in an English medium school.

    Basic classroom manners to avoid antagonising staff and fellow students - raise your hand before addressing any comment to the teacher and wait for permssion to speak. Check if the other students stand up when asked to speak and if they do, you should observe the same courtesy. Again, show sensitivity about how many comments and questions you pose in class - unfortunately the syllabuses are dense, class schedules tight and class sizes large, so it may become counterproductive if your questions and comments dominate the whole time. Usually I'd say 2-3 questions max on a topic if you're lost, and then follow up after class with the teacher for further questions. Of course, if the teacher asks if there are any questions and you have some, go right ahead as long as you don't take up the whole 30 mins for class. As for most boys progress at sports is valued, and if you're good at soccer or basketball or table tennis those are all great icebreakers. Schools don't worship sportsmen here to the same extent as in the US, but male students usually appreciate competence in sporting activities. Most schools have a wide variety of after school extra curricular activities, usually run by the students themselves - get involved in these and it'll be much easier to make friends.

    No, people won't go ga-ga over westerners, HK was a colony for 150 years and experienced a lot of negative behaviour from all types of westerners at the group and individual level, so show some sensitivity to that.

    General social behaviour - smile a LOT, all the time, and greet people, even if they seem to ignore you at first. Smiling is important in Chinese socieity. Ask your host family for guidance as much as you can, they'll find it flattering. Heavy drinking among young people in high school is frowned upon as anti social and unheathty, so be careful about drinking even beer within your host family unless they offer specifically. And if you go home drunk they will be very seriously worried about both your wellbeing and your effect on their kids. Ditto drugs. of both hard and soft variety.

    Bring books/CDs/videos/magazines in your native language for when the homesickness gets bad.

    Cantonese is not impossible to learn, most people don't try very hard because they believe it's either impossible or not necessary. A young Italian guy I know who had zero English was fluent enough to compose and deliever a 20 minute speeach in Cantonese after a 1 year course at Chinese University HK. So you'll be able to pick up at least a smattering if not more. The more Cantonese you try to speak, no matter how bad you feel it is, the more positively everyone will respond to you.

    Best of luck, this sounds like a wonderful adventure.

    Last edited by z754103; 05-07-2006 at 05:46 AM.

  9. #9

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    Are people crazy about blond, tall, causcian, ice-blue-eyed guys there?
    Haha good question, and the answer is No!
    I think we have seen enough of them for the past 100 years...well, just treat yourself as a local and everything will be fine.

  10. #10

    Where will you be staying? Do you have any idea?

    I definitely think it's important for you to speak with your family about going out and doing things. While some families encourage going out and meeting people, many are very strict about that. Many deem dying hair, drinking beer, going out as bad behavior. You should really bring this up with them early.

    In terms of school, I've read somewhere about the local schools taking in foreign exchange students, which is your case. From what that article, I think you will most likely be placed in a school where the teaching medium is generally English. You will be excused from the Chinese lessons, obviously. But still, you may still find it relatively difficult because many teachers in HK are not at all fluent in English. So even though you may be taught in English, you may not be able to understand them. And if the teachers are embarassed about their English, they'll most likely not speak to you at all. And no, I don't think any teachers, unless they were educated in the west, would ever let a student express any opinions at all.

    On the other hand, I think you will most likely get along with the students. From what I read in the article, many local students are interested in getting to know the gwei lo (that's white guy in chinese) because they want to practice their english. As far as being the tall blond caucasian guy, XYZ is right, we're not Japan.


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