Across the globe from Hong Kong to Price

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A feature on Rita Wong
Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2015 - 9:12pm

Rita Wong, a bright and spunky USU Eastern student, gave an insight as to the differences between her current residence, Price, and her original home of Hong Kong.

She found out about USU Eastern while in Hong Kong, “ I found out because during my mission times I knew a  church member. She had a business to help the students in Hong Kong who have the desire to study abroad. She found out the tuition is way cheaper than other colleges.”

Her decision to study abroad Wong says, was because “ I just want to gain more experience. Studying is the best purpose in my life again.”

Wong, who is fairly fluent in English, learned English at a young age. “We learn (English) when we are in elementary school, but we don’t really use it alot. We never have a chance to practice our speaking.” Wong’s original language is Cantonese, which is a dialect of the Mandarin spoken in mainland China.

“We understand Mandarin speaker(s),” says Wong, but “they do not understand Cantonese.”

The main differences she saw between U.S. culture and the culture in Hong Kong is the contrast in attention to fashion between the two countries.

In Hong Kong’s society “you have to learn how to comb [your hair], you should be gorgeous, you should be skinny, you should know how to dress up, [and do your] makeup,” Wong says, “ but in Price, you don’t do it. Girls, they can just do whatever they want. They just want to live their lives. They are not going to [live to] please people.”

For example, Wong says that “People (here), they just think ‘Alright, I want to be a soccer player. I will do it.’ But in Hong Kong people think ‘Oh, it will make me more muscular. I am not going to do it,” and because of their appearance, maybe, they don’t develop their talent.”

Wong also states that people have an easier time giving compliments here than in her country. “In Hong Kong people don’t do it, even if they think you are cool. If they think you are cool, they want to be better than you. [They have a hard time giving] a compliment because they think ‘if I give you a compliment that means you are better than me.’”

“In the small town, it’s like people emphasize on their emotions, their family, how happy they are.” Wong states, “we [in Hong Kong] mostly emphasize on material. We work 10 hours every day. Even though we earn much money, we have not much time to spend with our family. It’s hard to even take a rest. It’s hard to think about the meaning of your life.”

She explains how the search for happiness through material possessions will “never end,” and for those who pursue the path in this way, it becomes “quite stressful.”

Wong says, “You guys [in Price] hang out together. You watch a movie all to have fun. But in our place it’s nothing. We have to go to luxury theater [and] spend a lot of money to buy happiness like that.”

The simple life Wong has found here, [though sometimes boring], has become something she enjoys. There is beauty and diversity in both cultures and Wong is one of the many people on Price campus to be able to experience more than one. There are many students who come from around the world to study abroad at USU Eastern, and to them and all of the diversity they bring, we say “welcome home.

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