St. Paul’s Co-Educational College
Today I went to my buddy's school, St. Paul's Co-Educational College. I was rather afraid but excited at the same time as I have never been to an overseas school. Furthermore, this is a co-ed school and I have never attended one before. Fortunately, the students in the school were very welcoming and friendly which made me feel like home in a very short time.
This morning, to go to school, my buddy and I took the light rail tram to Yuen Long MTR which the same as Singapore’s MRT. But it was very crowded and people behind us would just push and try to squeeze in. It was really hard to get use to it as back in Singapore, I would still get my personal space despite the train being crowded.
The first thing that I noticed about the campus was that the new building was very tall, instead of being wide. It has about 11 floors and my classroom was on the 7th floor. I realized that the school does not have a track, unlike CHIJ. For morning assembly, all students would gather at the Hall and be seated. They were very well-disciplined and punctual. They would then say prayers and sing hymns but they do not have a flag-raising ceremony which is one notable difference.
(Pricilla Patra Tedja)
As I entered the class and sat down at my table, everyone was chattering incessantly in a boisterous manner, even the girls. However, when the teacher entered the class, this immediately took a 360 degrees turn. The students were quiet throughout most parts of the lessons, albeit a few light jokes here and there. Instead of having a timetable of 5 days a week, they have a timetable of a set of 10 days. Each lesson was an hour long and there would be a 15 minutes break in between every lesson, with lunch from 12.20 pm to 1.30 pm.at 12.30 pm.
Today we headed to Shek O for a Geography field trip. This is a beachside village on the south-eastern of Hong Kong island. To me, this was a Geography lesson on a whole new level as there were actual natural features to be observed. It was a completely different side of Hong Kong, unlike the towering buildings and skyscrapers that are commonly found in the urban areas. Being away from the usual hustle was a nice change. The air felt fresher at the countryside and the overall environment was cosy. Despite walking in the sweltering sun, it was nice to have a change for once and fully indulge in the beauty of nature. Each group had five group members and we had a total of four locations to head to and complete the worksheets given. I was not told about the exact plan so I did not know the route and merely followed my group mates. I couldn't fully participate because there was a communication barrier between me and the students as they mostly speak Cantonese. However, I tried my very best to be part of the group as well as enjoy the entire experience. We started from a beach where we observed waves and its nature. Next, we walked past the houses at the area as we headed towards a blue bridge. Lastly, we climbed up a small mountain and reached the peak. This doesn't sound much but in total we walked continuously for a whole 2 hours, albeit pausing along the way. It was rigorous and tiring but ultimately I still enjoyed myself thoroughly. Along the way, I was able to take many pictures that are simply breathtaking. The experience allowed me to see the most beautiful sites in the most beautiful ways.
The relationship between the students in this school is rather unique. Although, being teenagers they may tease their classmates when they interact with someone of the opposite gender, the boys and girls are on friendly terms. It is obvious that there are cliques, but unlike our school, there does not seem to be any rivalry or hatred between friendship groups, and everyone is amicable to their classmates. I feel that this is something that the students in our school can learn from - to be less inclusive while still maintaining strong friendships.
My English teacher at SPCC is Ms Hannah Tok. On the first lesson, she told me that she is from Singapore and studied at CHIJ too! Though we just met , I felt like we knew each other for a long time. I believe it is the IJ sisterhood that connects us.
In this 5 days in Hong Kong, I observed and realised that Hong Kong is a fast-pacing country with the locals walking at a very high pace. At first, I was not used to the walking pace of the locals but soon enough, I managed to keep up with the people walking on the streets. When I take the bus to school, I observe that Hong Kong has many high rise buildings, just like Singapore's HDB flats. In SPCC, the students have many other lessons such as Religious Studies and Liberal Studies which are different from our school. Even though these subjects are new and unfamiliar to me, I find them interesting. It is such a great experience to learn new subjects! I look forward to more fruitful and enriching experiences in Hong Kong!
I have made several observations while in St Paul’s Co-Educational College (SPCC). Firstly, the SPCC students wear black leather shoes with white socks while we wear white shoes, either canvas or sports shoes with white socks. Secondly, the SPCC students have such a hectic timetable that they barely have enough sleep. Thirdly, the SPCC campus has a main building, a west wing and an east wing. When moving around the school, I tend to get lost. It feels like I am finding an escape route in a maze. Everyday I climb up to my form class on the 6th floor while Pricilla’s and Anastasia’s form class are on the 7th floor. I am amazed at how the students at SPCC are able to climb this many stairs everyday. This has made me realize that climbing up to the Celestial Studio in IJ occasionally is not as tough climbing up to the 6th or 7th floor for lessons everyday.
Today we went to Ocean Park. It was quite crowded as it was the weekend and because it was Halloween. We spent almost the whole day playing and it was very fun and tiring at the same time as the park was very big. The queue timings varied from 30 minutes to 1 hour. We played many rides such as Hair Raiser which was a roller coaster that had a few loops and the flying swing! I had a very enjoyable day.
(Pricilla Patra Tedja)
Out of the entire week, this weekend was one of the best days out of all as i did not have to wake up early and I truly enjoyed myself throughout the 2 days! Today, I went to Ocean Park with Pricilla and her buddy and spent an entire day there taking high-thrill rides such as roller coasters! It was a really overwhelming day as we rushed from one ride to another without hesitation. However, since that Saturday was Halloween Fest and it was a weekend, there were many people in Ocean Park and the queues were immensely long which resulted in us waiting for an hour or so to take a ride. Nonetheless, it was all still worth it!
Today my buddy brought me to Ocean Park Hong Kong with a few friends. There was a Halloween Fest at Ocean Park because it was 31 October and we had a splendid time there. We took the rides in the day and when it was night, we queued to enter the haunted house. When we entered the haunted house, I was so scared that I shut my eyes as I was walking and held tight to the friend in front of me, letting her lead the way. At one point, I walked past a 'ghost' and he whispered into my ears. This sent shivers down my spine and I screamed. We ended our time at Ocean Park by taking a group picture with a guy wearing a horse head.
Today my buddy and her family brought me to walk a heritage trail at Tong Fong Tsuen. They brought me to an old temple where they said that there used to be a lady who lost her husband and son in an accident. Hence she became mentally Ill and she treats the pillows as the son and husband. After the walk, we went to watch a movie called OUR TIMES (我们的少女时代). This movie is currently very popular among teenagers as it talks about the love story during high school years. We went to the Citywalk cinema at Tsuen Wan West where the screen was curved! This is unlike the usual flat screens in Singapore’s cinema. After the movie, we went to eat the sichuan noodle in Tai Tong Road, where the noodles were handmade and sliced by using a knife and not big machines.
Today I went to the science museum. There were many exhibitions such as Life Sciences and World of Mirrors. I had a lot of fun learning about science and playing around with the hands on experiments! I watched demonstrations on molecular gastronomy and liquid nitrogen which were very amazing. I also watched a show which involved balls moving and creating an effect on this whole system which was built on the ceiling of the science museum. It was very interesting as I've never seen it before. Overall my weekend was very fun and enjoyable!
(Pricilla Patra Tedja)
Today, we all woke up early in the morning, filled our stomachs with breakfast and headed straight to Stanley (a famous place in Hong Kong known for its traditional shopping district and its nice scenic view of the habour). I enjoyed myself so much i was reluctant to leave as it was such a beautiful and breathtaking place! After that, I went to Mongkok next which is known as an affordable shopping district. As usual, it was crowded with many locals and tourists but I managed to look out for good deals and bought some souvenirs for my family and friends. Even though I was tired and lethargic after so much walking, it was sure an exciting experience!
Today after school, my buddy brought me to The Peak. The Peak is a place where you can see the view of Hong Kong from a high area. As we went in the evening, we got to see the night view of Hong Kong and it was breathtaking. The view was very beautiful and the weather was quite chilly which made it even better! Another fun thing about going to The Peak is riding the Peak Tram. The tram route was very steep and I saw many housing estates along the tram route. It was very fun and I also learnt more about Hong Kong from the visit to The Peak.
(Pricilla Patra Tedja)
5 Nov 2015 marks the last day of my exchange programme at St Paul’s Co-educational College (SPCC). This is because my buddy has a piano exam tomorrow and hence we will not be attending school. The time spend in SPCC is very memorable as my classmates were really fun and had included me as one of them. We went around talking about the boys in school. They knew that I am from an all-girls school, they asked me to rank the boys according to their looks. I found this very amusing. Throughout my time at SPCC, I most enjoyed their geography lesson and their Geography teacher, Ms Low. Despite the class being noisy, Ms Low managed to get the class to participate in the lesson. At the end of school day, we took a class photo together.