The best part about traveling is experience the culture and life of the people around you. When you embrace different aspects of the culture, you come to find out new things about yourself that you never knew about. The Chinese culture is very different from the American and Trinidadian culture that I am so used to back home. When I knew I was coming to Hong Kong, I was very excited to experience a culture so different from mine. The food, the festivals, celebrations, and the daily life is unique in their own special way that I always wanted to experience more about them. The Global Student Programs Office here at HKUST set up different cultural immersion experiences for the exchange students to do for the first month here in Hong Kong, such as hiking on certain islands and making some traditional goodies. I was able to sign up for two workshops that would help me get more involved in the Chinese culture.
Before I left for Hong Kong, I asked my friends at Drexel who are from Hong Kong and Mainland China, what different things I have to try as a newbie to Asian culture. They gave me such a long list of things to do and try. One of them was trying mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival because of how much they mean to the Chinese culture and what they stand for. When I saw that the GSPO was having an event for learning how to make snowy mooncakes, I knew it was a great opportunity for me. I could not only eat mooncakes, but also learn how to make them and let my friends try them when I return home. When the event came up, we got to go to a local cooking class shop to learn how to make the mooncakes. Everything was set up very nicely for us and we were able to learn how to make two types of mooncakes.
The first mooncake we made was a custard one and the second one was the icy mooncake. Both had their own different ingredients and different ways to make them. The icy mooncakes had two different fillings, custard and purple sweet potato, and when you eat them it is chewier than the custard one. The lesson of cooking the mooncakes was really a fun experience because I was able to do something that I love and learn something new. Being able to make the mooncakes helped me to meet other exchange students and bond with the friends that I made here. Since I know how to make them now, I will be able to make them for friends and family and help them to enjoy a little piece of Chinese culture!