It’s been exactly a week since I came to Hong Kong for my internship. I’m already certain that this is one of the best decisions of my life. These are a few Hong Kong expat life lessons I’ve already learned from the past 8 days.
1. Nothing good ever comes from staying in your comfort zone
The culture shock and the language barrier are some of the things that made me realize I was way beyond my comfort zone. But I was excited because I knew I was embarking on a once in a lifetime moment that would influence my career path and enhance my personal skills at the same time.
I am interning at one of the biggest NGOs in Hong Kong. It has only been a week since I’ve started and yet I have already learned so much. In addition to the to daily tasks, I’m lucky enough to be working on playing my part in the collective effort to transform the world. I’m also privileged to interact with people from all over the world that are brought together by their passion to make a lasting impression on our planet. I get to sit at a table with these people and interact on a personal level way beyond my comfort zone, which is helping me broaden my horizons.
2. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try
The first night I got here I was very eager to taste authentic Asian food. I went to a restaurant and, after ordering, I sat down with delicious looking cuisine. As hungry as I was, I was petrified of using chopsticks for the first time in my life. That didn’t stop me from trying even though I knew I was going to fail the first few times. I believe this tiny task is a representation of a hugely important lesson. It’s a big wide world out there and in order to conquer it we an need an international experience like this at least once in our lives to push us to try new things, however scary they may seem from afar.
3. Whether it’s Africa, Asia or anywhere else in the world, we have more similarities than we do differences
Sometimes it’s easier to focus on our differences especially when you are working with people from more than 22 different countries. It is easier to notice what separates us than focusing on what brings us together. It is really helpful working in environments like this to appreciate that even though we are from different backgrounds, our goals are the same.
All photos by Hiwot Adane Haile