Living on the other side of the globe from your family and friends can be really tough at times. It goes by quickly, but there are periods of homesickness. My CityU program duration is about four and half months. That’s a longer time away from home than if I were in Madison for the Spring semester. For me, it was one of the best experiences ever to have my parents, sister, and aunt visit me in Hong Kong.
After we booked my own tickets to Hong Kong last August, my parents moved on to planning their own visit. My dad, being the ultimate travel planner, was excited to plan their next adventure. March 6th couldn’t come soon enough.
My mom, dad, and sister had never traveled to Asia before, so I felt a little giddy about getting to be their tour guide. I was able to give them the low-down on manners, riding the MTR, and food. Best of all, it was relaxing and refreshing to be surrounded by the people who know me best.
I took my family to the Nam Shan Estate, a public-housing estate nearby the City U campus. At night, you can find eggs waffles, street meat, ice cream crepes, mango desserts, and more.
So, should your family come visit you during your study abroad experience? Yes, if it is possible to do so. Every family is different, so maybe you can only handle your parents for one week. Or, if you and your parents are very compatible, then maybe have them stick around a little longer and take breaks when you need to.
You may also be wondering when is a good time for your parents to visit. I’m biased, but I truly think that having them come in the middle of your stay is a great idea. For me, it provided a break from worrying about classes. I was able to be a tourist again as we explored areas in Hong Kong that I hadn’t been to yet. If my parents had visited me at the end of the semester, I may have had the feeling of wanting to go home to Minnesota and already may have experienced all of the tourist sites.
Luckily, my parents came with ideas of what they wanted to do, so it wasn’t up to me to plan everything. My dad booked us a weekend getaway to Singapore and a short trip to Shanghai. I realize that not everyone has the luxury of traveling to other countries once they are already abroad, but it was exciting to experience new cultures together. I recommend trying to discover new places so that you aren’t a know-it-all to your parents about everything.
We ventured out on a day-trip to Cheung Chau Island, a 40-minute boat ride from central Hong Kong. It’s known for the annual Bun Festival, but on an average day you can eat some fresh seafood.
I never thought that my family’s visit would have any downsides, but there is one. I had to say goodbye to them all over again. It will be another couple months before I see them again, but I’ll be on a plane to Minneapolis before I know it. So thank you Mom, Dad, Elle, and Heidi for being open to new experiences and letting me take you to a back-alley, tarp-covered restaurant for the best honey-glazed beef and potatoes. With all that being said, have your parents visit if they can, it gives you a chance to proudly share your new home but feel at home at the same time.
Talk to you next time!