Start of Hong Kong Research Experience

This summer I’m participating in SURP– a research experience program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong- until late August. I have a better idea of the areas I want to work in in the future compared to a year ago (quantum computing has caught my eye) but I’m still happy to get to look at some new Physics. I didn’t get to do any programming as part of my degree this past year, so I’m glad I’ll be doing a lot of coding this summer.

It’s super hot and humid compared to what I’m used to in the UK. The average Brit is having a heat stroke just looking at a tempurature above 30°C. I thought I could coast by using the power of sheer melanin but I got a sunrash anyway. The campus is very pretty at least, which makes walking around in the heat more enjoyable. It’s on a mountain so there’s lots of verticality to it and there’s a lot of greenery. Coming from Durham, the scale of it all is mindblowing- there are multiple buses just to get around the campus.

The balcony on the ground floor of the accommodation has a pretty grand view of the campus

Compared to my time in Munich last year, the cohort is much bigger. There are around seventy or eighty SURP students and nearly four hundred additional students doing summer studies, compared to the small group of roughly twenty that were doing the MCQST program. With this many people it’s obviously impossible for me to get to know everyone. I’ve tried to be sociable and chat with people where possible and have met a few people- hopefully that will continue over the summer and I’ll have made some close new friends by the end of the eight weeks.

Seeing endless skyscrapers in a city as big as this is very novel after spending so much time in Durham

I’ve pretty much settled in now- though I’m struggling to adjust to the time difference and get good sleep. I want to get in a good routine quickly so I can make the most of the time I have here. When you’re basically given free-reign on these opportunities it can definitely be tough to stay consistent, but I know it’ll feel more rewarding if I put more effort in- I wish I got further into what I was doing when I was in Munich.

There’s time to enjoy myself too, though. Since the research project is very independent, there’s a lot of unscheduled time to dedicate to personal hobbies and projects, and there are some scheduled activities like group tours that I’m looking forward to.

I really want to feel like I made the most of my time here at the end of it all. My first proper chat with my project supervisor is today, so hopefully that goes well.

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