First Year At Swire

June 25, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

What could be more fun than living in a traditional hall? Swire Hall, located 3 floors above the Global Lounge, offers the excitement of living in a vibrant community of students – or as we call ourselves, Swirians. I’ve lived in Swire Hall for a year now and this is my journey so far.

Part one: Arrival

I still remember the first time I entered Swire Hall. There were a lot of ‘firsts’ for me. It was my first time living abroad and my first hall experience, so you can imagine how excited I was. I had a lot of expectations about how my new place of living would look like and it did not quite align with the reality. My heart kept sinking a little deeper, first when I was dispatched from the taxi, then climbing three flights up with my heavy luggage, and hitting rock bottom while registering at the overly-simplistic lobby – until I saw my room for the first time.

Then it got better.

Swire’s fully furnished double rooms are spacious and clean. Bathrooms are kept sanitary and anything broken is always fixed the next day. But it’s just the beginning of a hell of a year. Like any other excited newcomer, I simply unpacked everything, kept my room undecorated, and wandered around the bustling streets of Hong Kong.


Standard double room

Part Two: Observations

I had learnt to survive by doing laundry every two weeks, and soon I learnt the exact amount a dryer would cost to have my clothes perfectly dried – 8 dollars that is. Equipped with 5 washing machines and 4 dryers, it is surprising how I have never queued for that facility. If you’re on short of money or would like to save a few dollars for YiGei’sSai1 Mai5 Lou6 there are spacious hanging areas: it’s always empty, always available although not recommended when HK weather begins to fluctuate.

At this time I had come into terms with the fact that elevator access to/from GA floor is restricted. I have mistakenly assumed that some sort of elevator card would be given to every resident. The long 3 flights up of stairs are compulsory. And yes, they’re endless and can drive you crazy. However, it is a means for practical exercise, I could’ve sworn I had my thigh muscles forming after 3 months of back and forth trip.

Part Three: School Life

It’s come to the point where I began to cook.  I figured, with all the proper meals outside costing about 35 HKD up and mom lecturing about adverse effects of food additives, why not cook my own meal? MSG-free, hygienic, and cheap. But it turns out…no. Cooking and living in Swire Hall are just not compatible mates. However I insisted cooking in the pantry which can accommodate no more than 2 people. Within just two weeks, I mastered boiling, poaching, basically every cooking technique that does not require frying – as it is only allowed in the 6th floor.  I suspect this is one sly ploy to get us to dine at Swire Canteen regularly.


Floor Pantry

We also become all too familiar with Swire Canteen’s menu dynamics, befriend all the green eye-shadowed cashier ladies (I did) and cherish the fact that some of our own high table dinners are held outside of Taai3 Gu2 Tong4.

Being one of the two residential halls that are conveniently located on campus, Swire Hall has its students accustomed to quick and effective departure. After a while living in Swire, anyone would say how comforting it is to be able to leave your dorm 5 minutes before your lecture starts and still make it on time. And we get lazy too. I try to minimize my trip to Centennial Campusby not going there unless urgent (15 minutes on foot).

Swire Hall is very accessible too, with a 24-hour lift service that takes you down to the bus stops and taxi stand, ready to take you anywhere. It is safe too – one perk of living on campus. With adequately-lit surroundings and a bunch of guards frequently patrolling around, I have never been scared walking alone at night.

Part 4: Social Activities

By the time you have memorized the names of your floor mates and become acquainted with some of your hall mates, you’d probably wonder about the social scene at Swire. You may want to start with your floor mates as gatherings are often held. From birthday celebrations to Superpass dinner, every occasion is covered so you won’t have to worry missing out on one.

As one of the few non-locals in the Swire Hall choir, I felt so welcome, and that applies to other cultural and sports activities I’ve taken part in. Swirians are some of the most talented people I know so there’s definitely a lot of room to learn. If you’re a nature lover, feel free to join Swire’s weekly hike to Victoria peak or if you’re just into music, hit up one of Swire Hall’s proud investments, a fully-equipped, sound-proof band room and jam along with friends. Don’t forget non-locals get their own shares of activities too; our past events include Chinese dessert night and Easter egg hunt.


Swire Hall’s very own BBQ night event (Credits to Hon Lo for the picture)

That concludes the four aspects that I have experienced living in a hall, and these would most likely happen to you if you live in Swire. A year living in Swire has been a blast. I’m guessing it must have been the combination of the people and the place that made living alone easier, more bearable.

June 2014

By: Vesta Eresta Jaya, Year 1 BSc Student from Indonesia