Columbia’s Center for Career Education has provided us interns with free housing during our internships in HK. NTT International House is an eleven-story dormitory of Baptist University, which is nestled in the Kowloon Tong (九龍唐) district.
For all intents and purposes NTT is a hotel. The rooms are set up like hotel rooms. There are two twin-size beds, two pairs of white, disposable slippers tucked under the nightstand, and individually wraped little bars of soap. There’s even a woman who comes to my room every morning to change the sheets and replace the towels. All that’s missing now is a towel elephant with complimentary chocolate mint for eyes eagerly waiting to greet me when I return from work.
At least a dozen schools, ranging from kindergarten to post-secondary, surround BU. On weekdays, students, easily identifiable by their school uniforms (boys wear button-down, short-sleeved shirts and slacks while girls dress in blouses, skirts, mid-calf high white socks, and black ballet flats), travel in packs to school and socialize in the local Festival Walk mall. Since school authorities discovered 12 cases of swine flu among students last Thursday, however, the HK government decided to close the city’s 1,800 primary schools and child care centers for two weeks. Schools are now scrambling to reschedule final exams. Meanwhile, I’m sure, students are rejoicing.
A block away from NTT is Kowloon Tsai Park (九龍仔公園), an expansive recreational space featuring tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, a running track, and (my favorite) a 50m 8-lane swimming pool.