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Life in HKU’s Jockey Club Student Village III (Residential Colleges).

June 07, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

When I first began writing this article, I started by listing out the perfunctory pros and cons, threw messages to friends who used to live in the Jockey Club Student Village III for advice, but then I wondered what I could possibly say about life in JCSV III that hasn’t been said before.

Everyone knows the basics – formally known as the Residential Colleges (though I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the new name(s)…), the Jockey Club Student Village III (JCSV III) is in Kennedy Town, right at the top of Smithfield Road on Lung Wah Street, and about 10-15 minutes away from campus. There are four blocks (formally known as Blocks A, B, C, and D), Shun Hing College (Block A), Chi Sun College (Block B), Lap-Chee College (Block C) and New College (Block D). Each block has either 26 or 28 floors, and every floor is a medley of single and double rooms, with a shared kitchen/bathroom and a laundry room on the highest floors of the blocks. Opened only two years ago, JCSV II is the newest HKU student housing, and probably the most lavish…but like I said, this is all common knowledge.

So instead, this post will look at the little things about this kind of residential life – a few insider survival tips on how to make living on the Kennedy Town side of life just a little better. Consider this a basic cheat sheet – and previous residents, if I’ve missed anything out, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

VENDING MACHINE SHENANIGANS

As of now, there are three vending machines for roughly 1800 students – one with snacks (chocolate, cup noodles, cookies etc.), and two for drinks. You will soon learn that, due to obvious high demand, the vending machines are basically emptied within two days of being restocked, and pretty much remain empty for another 4-5 days. After enough experience, you should quickly master the art of getting to the vending machines as fast as you possibly can once they are restocked. Avoid disappointment, and pick up this skill as quickly as you can. Also, the food vending machine only takes coins.

LATE NIGHT HUNGER ALTERNATIVES

However, if the vending machines fail you, you’re up all night trying to cram for a paper, and desperately need something to keep yourself going, try the New College Snack Bar. This student-led initiative enables you, from 9.30pm till around 11.30pm, to stock up on junk food and drinks. It’s only open on weekdays though, and is located next to the college’s foyer. (To the students who started the snack bar: what a lovely thought. Your cans of coffee got me through a very tedious Common Core final; thank you.)

There’s also the infamous “3am Dimsum” place, located at the bottom of Smithfield across the VanGo. The place only opens at 3am, and fills up pretty fast, but it’s definitely an experience you won’t want to miss out on. And their custard buns are generally flawless, making the walk back up to JCSV III worth it.

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THE JCSV III PRINTER

I can say this with some degree of certainty: if you have an extremely major assignment that needs to be printed, and you head to the printer at night, the printer will most probably be out of service. Either the paper will be out, or it’ll be jammed, or your thumb-drive won’t be recognized, or some other unfixable issue will arise which will successfully inhibit your printing endeavours. Go to campus a little earlier to print, or ask a friend with their own functional printer. Either way, always have a back-up option. If you are using it, however, don’t forget your thumb-drive…I don’t think this is stressed enough.

THE SHUTTLE-BUS SYSTEM

If you have a 9.30am lecture/tutorial, start lining up for the shuttle bus at 9am. Lines will be extremely long, with people queuing up the stairs to higher floors. (If this occurs, don’t bother taking the lift from the 4th to the 1st floor – just start walking down the stairs till you hit the last person in the queue…you’ll save at least a minute). Your wait will be at least 15 minutes long, leaving you with another 10-15 minutes for the bus ride and the walk to  your class. Unless you’re catching the bus from 11am to 12pm, there almost always will be a queue, filled with people who are smart and proactive enough to get to the buses early…force yourself to become one of them. If you’re headed to the FMB, then punctuality is even more essential. The buses operating at 12.10pm and subsequent afternoon times are fill up fast, so planning ahead is again, valuable.

Also, keep the bus schedule saved somewhere handy, like on your smartphone (friendly link: http://www.estates.hku.hk/shuttle/)

SHARING TAXIS

Lets say, that by some cruel twist of fate, you missed the shuttle bus (and your alarm in the morning) – and there are a couple of others in your situation. Be the first to ask them they’d like to split a taxi. Unless this occurs in the morning (roughly 8am till 11am), you’ll probably end up reaching campus faster together. It’s also cheaper than taking a cab on your own, and you might make a few friends out of it too.

This option is pretty great when you’re standing at the foot of Pokfield Road too, waiting for  Mini-bus No. 13, as well. Split a cab, make some friends.

MINI-BUSES

If you live in JCSV III, there are three minibuses that you should be familiar with.

Mini-bus No. 12

This is the only bus that will take you all the way up to Kwun Lung Lau from Smithfield, and around the Kennedy Town Praya to Belcher’s Street, Queen’s Road West and through Sai Ying Pun. It’s also a saviour when you’re carrying bags of heavy groceries from Park’n’Shop on the bottom of Smithfield; it’ll take you right to the doorstep of JCSV III.

See the route here.

Mini-bus No. 13

This mini-bus is the alternative to catching the shuttle bus. You can catch it from the foot of Pokfield Road, or the bottom of Smithfield, and it’ll take you right outside Starr Hall (basically at West Gate). This bus also goes to Belcher’s Street through Sai Ying Pun, but stops at Second Street and stars from the Sai Wan Estate. This bus is especially great for when you don’t want to walk up Pokfield.

See the route here.

Mini-bus No. 23

Another great alternative to the trek up Pokfield. But once you reach the top of the road, where bus 13 takes a left, this mini-bus turns right – all the way to Queen Mary Hospital and the Wah Fu Estate.

See the route here.

LIFE IN K-TOWN

An element of what allows JCSV III to stand out, is its wonderful location. It is close enough to campus, but also a 5 minute walk from the heart of Kennedy Town. Kennedy Town is still considered a relatively green area of Hong Kong (especially given its lack of an MTR station – which is soon to change!!), but is nonetheless, extremely exciting, and I think living here is a real luxury. First, it is thoroughly convenient, filled with grocery stores and fast-food restaurants on every corner. Its shopping and dining does not fall short either – K-town hosts a plethora of bars/pubs, fancy eateries, and stores of every kind. You’ll find the area provides you with everything you need, so getting acquainted with it will can only benefit you. In addition, Kennedy Town boasts a beautiful pier, with benches overlooking blue waters that stretch till the horizon. Regardless of what time of day it is, this pier is the perfect spot for almost anything – it’s definitely one of my favourite spots in Hong Kong.

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LAUNDRY ROOM SKILLS

Each block in JCSV III has a laundry room on its highest floor, with five washing machines and five dryers. This might not seem sufficient for hundreds of residents per block, but if you know when to do your laundry, you’ll find almost no clashes with other people. There are certain times of day where it is almost guaranteed that you will find empty machines. Of course, the break of day and the dead of night are obvious timings where most people will be asleep, but in the early afternoons the laundry rooms are relatively empty too.

That said, weekends are the worst time to do laundry, and Sunday nights are particularly bad. Pick a standard weekday to turn into ‘laundry day’.

ELEVATOR SKILLS

JCSV III have either 26 or 28 floors, and you will consequently, be put through a real test of patience at least once a fortnight. In general, if you live on a high floor and just be mentally prepared for a elevator ride lasting a sufficient amount of time. On any given day, for example, if I was taking the lift with a group of other people, the lift would stop on an average of six floors before it reached mine (20th). And regardless of which block/college you’re in, on High-Table days getting to your foyer is a task. The lifts are almost always already full, and thoroughly slow. It’ll take several minutes before you actually make it down, and only after the lift has stopped at almost every floor in the block. Yes, you even have to plan ahead when it comes to using the elevator.

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MAKE FRIENDS

This is an obvious (and cliched) point, saved especially for the last. However, it can’t be stressed enough. Living in the JCSV III sets you apart from the residences of other halls in HKU. Most halls require you to participate in activities, they push you to do join sports an clubs – instead, JCSV III stands out because no part of the residential college life is compulsory. While they encourage you to be involved in activities, they force nothing upon you, and there are no ultimatums. So consequently, everyone who takes part in events or clubs does so because they truly want to, and not because an anchor is weighing them down. As a result, it’s much easier to make friends based on genuine interest and passion.

The general atmosphere is a striking contrast to other HKU halls just because of the colleges’ friendly and laid-back nature. This, in addition to the sheer masses of exchange students, brings to JCSV III an inevitable and thoroughly distinct ambience – one that is truly conducive to meeting some wonderful people. In my first year, just through a few initial friendly conversations, I’ve made some amazing friends and met a couple of very special people – something I’d recommend to everyone who makes a visit to the Colleges.

So with that, I conclude this “cheat sheet” of JCSV III survival. I hope that whether you’re a resident or a visitor, your experiences in the JCSV III are as special as mine. Remember to leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below: how do you find the Jockey Club Student Village III? What are the pros and cons? Let us know!

That aside, SUMMER IS HERE! Finally…!! I think we can all agree this year literally flew by, and one thing I’ve learnt is that wasting time only makes it fly by faster. So whether you choose to be productive or chilling out (if that’s possible in Hong Kong’s humidity…), make the most of whatever it is you’re doing this break. Have fun!

Image Credits:
Featured Image
3-Am Dim Sum
K-Town
College Hall 

 

 




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