Sleepless night lights, Jackie Chan, and the British relationship were all I knew about Hong Kong before I embarked on a year long journey. I didn’t know what to expect but I expected a lot.
I knew I wanted something special out of this opportunity so I decided to try something new and energetic. I thought why not join a school sports team. Lingnan offered a variety of sports teams and most of the students were involved with sports-related activities. This athletic environment made it easier for me to join the Dragon Boat Team(龍舟隊). I have heard about Dragon Boat before but I didn’t think I would ever have a chance to actually participate in the relatively unfamiliar sport.
The first month or so, I had a hard time catching up with the other members. I confess I was not a sport-oriented person. As the months passed, however, I began to look forward to the regular trainings and even started to voluntarily workout in my spare time. I loved the regular gym trainings but what I loved most were the Sunday trainings. On Sundays, the whole team would gather at the
With the start of the second semester, regular gym practices were replaced with regular Shingmun practices. Of course, there were some hardships on the way but I am grateful to everyone for creating an energetic environment so that the team can enter the competitions. I had the honor of entering four different competitions with a great team. We raced in the Festival of Sport Competition, Lantau Competition, Macau International Race, and finally in the Tuen Ng(Dragon Boat) Festival. Each race was different with different results-one gold, two bronzes, and the most precious last place. Results didn’t matter, what mattered was that we all had fun and did our best.
The whole year at Lingnan would always be like a little treasure box packed with great memories of Dragon Boat and most of all precious friends I met along the way. I feel that I have grown a little bit more. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to earn so much from such an unexpected experience. My exchange year was truly a result of the workings of serendipity.
Chung Na-hyun (English, 4) spent a year from 2007 fall to 2008 spring at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China.