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Study Abroad What is it like to study in Hong Kong

Study Abroad: What is it like to study in Hong Kong?

Before anyone points it out, yes –  I’m Hong Kong-born and raised. However, attending The Chinese University of Hong Kong allowed me to meet many fantastic international students who’ve become my good friends for over four years.

I’m privileged enough to have them let me share their unique experiences with you. And of course, I’ll share my insights as well if you want that true local perspective on Hong Kong education!

What is it like to study abroad in Hong Kong?

Studying abroad in Hong Kong can be an exciting and enriching experience. As a major international hub, Hong Kong offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures, providing students with diverse and vibrant surroundings. 

The city boasts a thriving capitalist economy with private ownership and extensive industrialization. 

Its low taxation, free port trade, and international financial market enhance opportunities for aspiring leaders and institutions, making it an exciting destination for students.

Top Reasons to Study Abroad in Hong Kong

To understand what it’s really like to study abroad in Hong Kong, here are the advantages and unique features that make studying in Hong Kong an attractive option for potential international students.

Academic Excellence

Universities here focus on student-centered learning, encouraging critical thinking and holistic development. According to the QS Asia University Rankings 2023, Hong Kong boasts nine universities in the region’s top ten, making it a popular choice among international students.

Here are some of Hong Kong’s most popular universities for international students: 

  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) stands out globally for its programs in engineering, science, and technology. With a blend of Eastern and Western educational values, HKUST offers a range of degrees tailored to various interests.
  • Founded in 1912, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is the city’s first-degree-bearing institution. Located on Hong Kong Island, HKU prides itself on impact-driven programs, fostering innovation, and interdisciplinary studies. 
  • The City University of Hong Kong, situated in the heart of Asia’s World City, celebrates cultural diversity and intellectual exchange. Their faculty members, drawn from across the globe, ensure a rich learning environment. 
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) offers a unique blend of Chinese and Western educational traditions. With a campus that attracts talents from around the world, CUHK provides ample opportunities for education, research, and knowledge exchange.

In Hong Kong, you’ll experience a vibrant international community. Universities tailor their programs to balance theoretical knowledge with practical application. 

Regular exams are the norm, but fear not – professors and tutors are there to support you, often combining lectures with small group tutorials to ensure personalized attention. 

Cost-Effective Living and Accommodation Options

For international students in Hong Kong, understanding the cost of living is crucial. Tuition fees range from USD 11,500 to USD 34,000 annually, depending on the university and program you choose. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of scholarships accessible to international students. Some are provided by the local government, while others come from educational institutions or public/private organizations.

If you meet the criteria, don’t hesitate to apply. After all, it’s money that can significantly ease your study experience.

Although the city is known for its high rent, student halls provide budget-friendly accommodation, even in sought-after locations like Hong Kong Island.

Living expenses can vary based on your lifestyle and extracurricular activities. It’s advisable to budget carefully, but rest assured, there’s a wide array of options catering to different budgets. 

While there are upscale restaurants and shops, Hong Kong also offers an extensive selection of local eateries and traditional shops that won’t strain your finances. 

Language Advantage

While English and Cantonese are the city’s official languages, the institutions predominantly use English as the language of instruction. This means that even those with no background in Asian languages can fully engage in their studies without language barriers. 

Hong Kong’s bilingual environment ensures a smooth transition for non-native English speakers, making the learning experience both inclusive and enriching.

Endless Exploration

In Hong Kong, education extends far beyond textbooks. While focusing on your studies, you’ll also find a wealth of opportunities waiting to be explored. 

From networking events that open doors to future prospects to indulging in a diverse culinary journey encompassing global flavors, every day is an adventure. 

Imagine yourself navigating vibrant street markets, savoring international cuisines, and immersing yourself in a multicultural melting pot. 

Moreover, the city’s strategic location allows effortless travel to neighboring countries, making your study experience not just enriching academically but also culturally and personally. 

Tips for International Students Studying in Hong Kong

As an international student in Hong Kong, you’re in for a vibrant cultural experience. To make the most of your time here, we’ve put together a list of essential tips to help you enhance your international student experience:

  • Dive into local cuisine: Experience the flavors of Hong Kong by dining in Cha Chaan Tengs, where delicious food meets budget-friendly prices.
  • Eat at student canteens: Opt for campus student canteens for affordable and convenient meal options, saving both money and time.
  • Beware credit card fees: Be mindful of foreign transaction fees when using overseas credit cards to avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Explore cultural diversity: Embrace the blend of ancient Chinese heritage and Western influence, offering a unique cultural experience.
  • Engage in leisure activities: Relax at sidewalk cafes, practice Tai Chi, or explore the city’s lush country parks through hiking for a well-rounded experience.
  • Go on a shopping spree: Indulge in Hong Kong’s reputation as a shopper’s paradise during your leisure time.
  • Stay connected: Use advanced telecommunications and internet systems to stay in touch with friends and family, ensuring seamless communication.
  • Visit Mainland China: Take advantage of Hong Kong as the ideal entry point to explore the diverse landscapes and culture of the Chinese mainland.
  • Discover outlying islands: Venture to over 200 outlying islands, each with its own natural charm and adventure, for a unique exploration experience.
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