Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hong Kong Planning

Flight reservations, done. Hotel, also done.

The idea is to immerse myself in the language and the culture. I dream of living oveseas but I wonder if I am truly capable of it. So this is kind of my experiment. At worst I will just a wonderful vacation in the land of my dreams.

After some research I decided I would take a 3 week intensive course in Cantonese at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. But the application and the student visa required are making me rethink this. Maybe this is a bigger deal than I want it to be. I want to improve my Cantonese but do I want to work that hard on my vacation? I could study Cantonese more informally while I am there, it might even be more fun. I would be taking the beginner class and I am not strictly a beginner so it wouldn't be all brand new material, but it is 3.5 hours in class every day for 3 weeks with nightly homework. I like the idea of having somewhere to go everyday and it would fortify my foundation.

Then I think that I have been learning the language in a classroom long enough, now I need to go out and use it more informally. So maybe just some tutoring sessions or less formal classes would be fine. Again, I am thinking--my vacation. And having such an academic routine may not achieve my objective of immersing myself in the language and culture--I will be living the life of a student, enveloped in an academic bubble for 3 weeks. But adding a CUHK certificate would look good on a resumé, really good.

Pfft. Clearly I need to think on this some more. Maybe some divine inspiration would be good.


  1. Hi Diana! I'm actually leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow night. Unfortunately, it's a short trip -- just 5 days. The main reason for going this time is to see Connie Chan perform Cantonese opera at the HK Coliseum.

    Will this be your first time to HK? If so, I suggest just enjoying yourself and practicing Cantonese on your own. You can always go back again and take the course, and maybe then you could even get into a more advanced course.

    You're going to have a great time! :D

  2. Dave's right! He knows Hong Kong for sure.

    I'll be there for 16 days in April. When are you going to be there?

    And is it your first time there?

  3. This will be my second time. I was there for Andy Lau's concerts in December of 2007. So I did do some sight seeing then.

    I forgot to mention I will be there for 34 days, I arrive on May 29th and leave on July 2nd. So even if I do take the class, I will have almost a week before and after it to play.

  4. Well, if that's the case, go ahead and take the class! I think having some structure would benefit a visit of that length. Plus, like you said, it would nice to have that certificate.

  5. Have you thought about taking Cantonese lessons from Cecil the Norwegian? Her is her blog: http://www.chinadroll.com/ . She has a bunch of Cantonese video she has made on her blog, and you can decide whether she is right for you. I am in no way pitching for her. In fact, I am a Hong Kong native living in the US. But I have watched her videos and found her to be passionate about the language. Although she is somewhat off on the tones, she definitely speaks passable Cantonese. It seems she actually takes her students out to some really local hangouts, not some posh joints in Central of TST, to help them learn and practise the language. This might serve your purposes of going to Hong Kong, ie learning and practising the learning and having a fun time. Just a thought.

  6. Hi Fridayboy! thanks for the referral. I discovered Cecilie awhile ago, in fact I listen to her radio show via podcast on my ipod. I read her blog and I have to admit her intense personality is a bit much for me--so I am hesitant to test that out in a learning situation. I will definitely consider it, but I wouldn't make it my only avenue for studying the language while I was there.

    duriandave, thanks, that is exactly the advice I would give myself! lol I am going to chalk my moments of doubt to my winterblah inertia.

  7. Hey Diana, Good to see you've taken the dive!
    I wanted to send you a private msg, but couldn't figure out how via this blog.
    If you want, drop me an email at joycehclau@hotmail.com.

  8. Hmm, Joyce, I don't know how to turn on that option, if I have it. My email is djmblue@gmail.com.

  9. Hi Diana --

    Didn't realize you had a blog! (D'uh -- am slow that way...) It might be nice to feel like you're not "just" a tourist while in Hong Kong. But yeah, that class does sound quite time-consuming!

  10. Hi, YTSL, welcome! The blog is still new so you haven't missed much really.

    I wrote to CUHK to ask about homework and they said an hour per hour of class time--so a 3.5 hour class, 3.5 hours of homework--YIKES! But again, I am taking the beginner class so a good portion of this material shouldn't be new to me, so hopefully it won't be as bad as that.