The City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has exceeded my expectations. The view of the high rises from the University excited me so much when I saw them and now they are constant reminder of where I am.
Arriving was daunting as you are constantly asking yourself – will I like it, is it worth it, WILL I MAKE FRIENDS? After the first 48 hours in Hong Kong these worries were put to rest. The University, even now three weeks in, is constantly a-buzz with exchange students planning activities, meals and their next adventures.
It was hugely beneficial to arrive one week prior to the start of semester as every day is needed to start getting your grips on this big crazy city. The University was helpful in getting us settled in with organised trips to IKEA, Campus Tours and Orientation meetings. They even gave every new student a Portable charging pack and a Universal Adapter (very helpful after buying the wrong adapter not once but TWICE).
CityU has around 450 inbound exchange students this semester so there was no shortage of friends to be made. Over the past few weeks there have been huge community beach and park trips which has made everyone grow close.
In only this short time that I have been here I have also fallen in love with Hong Kong itself. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, landmarks, locations that will keep me very busy for the next five months. What I have loved most about Hong Kong, so far, is that for such a tiny area (approximately one 8th of the size of Brisbane) there are mountains, quaint fishing villages, parks, sky scrapers, beaches (of a high quality I might add as this is always important to an Australian) and trendy shopping and nightlife areas.
In terms of the more practical aspects of change I think it was a great decision to start on campus. Primarily, it is a hub for meeting people and only a short walk away from Uni. Financially, you are receiving a much better end of the stick. My room is bigger and cleaner than those paying 5 times what I am to live off campus and the fact that Hong Kong is such a small, dense area means that you don’t need to be living ‘in the centre’ to still enjoy all the benefits of city life. You can also more easily take advantage of the cheap cafeterias that that University offers (both western and asian cuisines). I highly recommend!
I have now booked a weekend away in Taiwan and a trip to Cambodia having only been here for three weeks! I cannot wait to see what the next few weeks have in store and will report back!
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Mathematics
This student’s exchange is supported by funding from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan. More information available here.
“Learn a little Cantonese and the locals will bend their backs to help you out”
Arriving in Hong Kong on my first day was both exciting and daunting at the same time – I had only been overseas less than a handful of times, let alone traveling by myself on this occasion. However, upon stepping foot on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, the crowds, the dazzling LED lights and the new smells were comforting – I knew then that my time in Hong Kong was only going to get better.
If you plan to come to Hong Kong, you may notice (as I did) that Hong Kong locals hold different conceptions of “personal space”. I first noticed this when I boarded the Hong Kong MTR (a feature of Hong Kong which you will become very familiar with and learn to appreciate very much) from the Hong Kong airport to my hotel. Locals were comfortable with standing or sitting close together on trains, buses or public transport in general.
This was interesting as it was a quick introduction to the cultural differences between Hong Kong and Australia. As such, if you do find yourself in the Hong Kong MTR or on a bus and a local sits or stands next to you despite there being an abundance of space or seats available – this is not meant to intrude but rather to save space.
Hong Kong locals are friendly, warm and will do what they can to accommodate your needs. You will often find this when you order food at a restaurant or food stall. Despite the inherent language barriers, locals will find ways to communicate and help you with your order. If you wish, you may reciprocate their kindness by thanking the person who served you in Cantonese – this is very much appreciated. There are an abundance of resources available in YouTube or Google to help you with basic Cantonese.
For those of you who are excited to try the cuisine in Hong Kong, do not fret, I will address the very interesting topic of cuisine in another blog post given its vast and varied nature.
I am currently undertaking my single exchange semester in City University of Hong Kong (CityU). CityU is located in Kowloon Tong and is very accessible by the MTR as the university is connected to the MTR station via a small tunnel. CityU offers a diverse range of courses which range from studies in European and Asian languages to Principles of Nuclear Engineering.
Although the CityU campus is not large, it contains many interesting features of which I highly recommend that you take advantage of to help you make the most of your exchange semester – from swimming pools, restaurants and large canteens, rooftop gardens to barbecue facilities (rest assured I will taking advantage of the latter).
To close, if you do find yourself entertaining the idea of studying abroad for one or two semesters – do not hesitate any longer and visit the STAE office in level 1 of A block in QUT GP campus.
I will be covering more things about Hong Kong, so watch this space. 再見 (joigin)
Bachelor of Justice / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
This student’s exchange is supported by funding from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan.
“You may never go hungry in Hong Kong; however, you will feel the perpetual desire to eat being surrounded by delicious food”
As a cultural hotpot, Hong Kong boasts a vast array of cuisines and delicacies unlike anything I have previously seen. If you decide to undertake your academic exchange in Hong Kong, you can expect the whole Asian continent on the menu. Restaurants are scattered all around Hong Kong – even in places where you wouldn’t expect a restaurant. Precariously sandwiched between soaring high-rises and glitzy, boutique clothing stores, it seems as though every third shop on Hong Kong island is a restaurant.
During my time in Hong Kong, there were some definite standout dishes. This included Poke, Dim2 Sam1, soup-dumplings, open-air eating and Portuguese egg-tarts.
Poke is a dish which originates from Hawaii and consists of seasoned shashimi grade fish. Customers at Pololi, one of the poke shops in Hong Kong and my favourite Poke shop so far, can choose to pair the fish with rice or salad and top the dish off with a variety of sauces. The result is a creamy, fresh and very filling meal.
Dim2 Sam1 has a very long history, dating back to the height of the Silk Route trade. Literally meaning “to touch the heart”, small dishes in Dim2 Sam1 allows diners to enjoy a variety of dishes and flavours. In Hong Kong, you will be spoilt for choice with the innumerable Dim2 Sam1 houses.
For me, Lin Heung tea house was a standout. Established in the 1980’s, Lin Heung is widely known for its traditional style and delicious food. At Lin Heung you are not given a menu sheet. Rather, you must chase after the ladies pushing the carts containing the dishes.
Wrapped within a delicate casing, soup dumplings are a perfect blend of meat and delicate soup. Every bite is almost a complete meal by itself. There are several places where you can find soup-dumplings, you can find a full list here.
Dai pai dongs are open air food stalls that usually set-up tables and chairs on the street. I’ve often heard that dai pai dongs are becoming increasingly rare due to governmental regulations.
If you are looking for a cheap, no-frills meal, then look no further than the humble dai pai dong. The dai pai dong featured below was located at the corner of Stanley St and Cochrane St in Central Hong Kong. However, there are many more located throughout Hong Kong, you can find a full list here.
A sweet buicuity base, creamy custard filling and a sticky sugary glaze, each egg tart is a littble bit of happiness. Although this picture was taken in Macau, there are an abundance of places in Hong Kong where you can get your hands on one of these cups of joy.
Tips before eating:
Money matters: You would not want to be caught having finished a meal and not being able to pay for it, so make sure to always bring sufficient cash with you at all times. Many food stores in Hong Kong only take cash.
Hygiene: If you choose to eat at a street stall in Hong Kong, a good rule of thumb to follow is to follow the crowd. A crowded stall is usually a good sign as it shows that food will be in constant circulation.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to wash your eating utensils. Restaurants will usually provide you will a large bowl big enough to fit all utensils inside and hot tea. Simply place the utensils in the bowl and wash it with the tea. Please don’t drink the tea afterwards. If you are unable to do so, cleaning your utensils with clean bottled water will also do.
Bachelor of Justice / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
This student’s exchange is supported by funding from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan.
Nhu, C. Bachelor of Design (Fashion)
Hong Kong Polythechnic University (Semester 2, 2016)
I studied fashion design at The Hong Kong Polythechnic University in second semester of my second year. The Institute of Textiles and Clothing in PolyU is significantly different to QUT fashion studios as they have a larger number in students, more facilities however the teaching was not as intimate. The institute offered eye-opening subjects such as knitting, colouration, intimate apparel, shoe design, denim design and so on. The teaching staff were also very experienced and supportive especially the pattern maker, knitting technician, colouration and finishing professor that taught me.
During my semester abroad, I made myself at home at the PolyU student accommodation. I paid approximately $1 600 for the whole semester which was significantly cheaper than living outside of the student dorms. It was one of the best decisions I made over in HK as I built strong friendships with my roommate, other exchange students and the workers within the building. It was also near the university, only taking 10 minutes by foot. Within the student accommodation it provided functional, studying and leisure facilities including a communal gym, swimming pool, snooker pool room, game room, table tennis, dance room, kitchen, laundry room, study rooms and printers.
The cost of living was not as bad as I was expecting. I roughly spent $8000-9000 during the whole 4months (including flights, flights booked in HK, accommodation). Hong Kong is full of culture, mixing both Western and Eastern qualities. I didn’t experience much of a culture shock as my ethnical background is Chinese and Vietnamese. Hong Kong was my home, the hustle and bustle of the night life and the sensational scenery as you escape the city will forever keep me wanting more. I met and became close friends with many of the locals and exchange students who’ve broadened my perspective on life and design.
My advice for students who are still undecided whether to go or not, I say go!! It’s true when past exchange students say it’s one of the most memorable and best experience. For the future exchange students, my advice is to learn as much as you can and take advantage of your host university’s curriculum but also don’t forget to make time for exploring your host country, be part of their culture, make both local and exchange friends, visit nearby countries and take up every opportunity!
Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Semester 2, 2016)
The biggest shock when arriving at PolyU was that very little was online. All the students prefer face-to-face contact and therefore no lectures are recorded, all questions are asked in class or you meet up with your lecturer/tutor, all assignments are still printed out and handed in and they are only just starting to build up blackboard. The students were all very motivated, spent so much extra time in the library and all group work was discussed in person. I really enjoyed my time on campus at PolyU. They had so many events and different activities always happening on campus. They may not have as many clubs but they put so much energy into the clubs and the different stalls they had set up were just amazing! Many of my classes were quite interactive with one having 40 students going on a field trip to a company that organises a simulation where you can experience what it is like living in aged care. This was a lot of fun and certainly an experience.
The halls accommodation was a bit of an adjustment having to life in such small quarters as well as with a roommate. It was super close to the university, to public transport and to plenty of restaurants which made it worthwhile. Most nights at about 7pm there would be a message from an international student organising to go for dinner that night so there was always an opportunity to be social.
Hong Kong is a very cheap place, particularly in relation to Australia. Whilst some things were more expensive than anticipated, travelling around Hong Kong and to other countries close by was very easy and very cheap. A real shock for me was the amount of people living in Hong Kong. I knew it was a small country with a large population but I really was not expecting it to be as busy as it was. Public transport would get so packed and at night just walking down the sidewalk sometimes would be difficult with all the people around. In saying that though, it is also a place that has many hiking routes and places to escape. Many weekends involved exploring a different part and finding those quite places where everything is calm. I was very lucky that I was put with some truly lovely local students that took me places, made suggestions and gave me any advice I needed. Before I left for Hong Kong I had a lot of people tell me there was English everywhere and while English was on most signs and most people had broken English, it was not as common as I had anticipated. This caused some difficulties while I was over there, particularly with some of the local students but for the most part could usually work around the language barrier.
The major highlight of my exchange was simply the friendships I formed while over there. I certainly miss lots of people but I know have friendships all around the world and there is a certain special feeling in that. While it was amazing to see the country and experience so many new adventures, it would not have been the same without new friends around me experiencing it too. I suggest to anyone that is going on an exchange to just say yes to everything and just really make the most of everything that the experience is. As the popular saying goes “it is what you make it” and I truly felt my exchange experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity with so many lasting memories.
Jaime L, Bachelor of Business
City University of Hong Kong (Semester 1, 2016)
New Colombo Plan mobility grant recipient
I completed one semester of exchange at City University Hong Kong. Going on exchange has opened up so many doors for me. My time abroad in Hong Kong has been invaluable to building both my career opportunities and my global mindset. Personally, my whole exchange was a highlight. I have built so many great memories and experiences in the past 5 months that I will never forget.
Hong Kong is an absolutely incredible country. It is so condensed yet there is something for everyone. Living in Hong Kong I discovered there is so much more to the country than just high rises and condensed city. Catching a ferry or even bus just out of the city you’ll find so many hikes offering incredible views of the nature in Hong Kong. One of the many things I loved about Hong Kong was the public transport. You can get a student oyster card and ride the MTR for next to nothing, and it’s so easy and fast to use! But we found that even just catching an MTR somewhere and exploring the streets of Hong Kong was enough, there was something to see everywhere!
I had budgeted $10,000 for the whole trip. I went over budget in my time in Hong Kong, spending around $14,000. However the reason for this was spontaneous trips that I went on to Thailand, Macau and China. I had not planned on overseas travel but when the opportunity arose I jumped on it blowing budget but not regretting it at all. Also, I loved exchange so much I extended my trip at the end, also causing me to go over budget. Getting student accommodation is one of the best things for the budget as it is so cheap. Eating in Hong Kong is generally pretty cheap, unless you eat at Western style restaurants: then it can be quite expensive. CityU has a number of canteens where you can pick up a decent (not great) meal for around $5 AUD. As I mentioned before public transport is not expensive nor is the shopping there if you barter hard enough.
I was lucky enough to be given a shared room at student accommodation. This was great! They had a bus come and pick you up from the airport to take you to residence; they had tours to IKEA so students could get all their bedding and such and also a large number of Welcome Parties and Galas. The room and facilities itself was nice, definitely comfortable although small. I was lucky in that I got a really nice roommate which definitely helped. The accommodation is right next to the uni which is a massive bonus! It was also nice to be living basically with all of my friends I had made there.
Overall Hong Kong was easy to live in and feel at home. I had no issues with safety at all which was huge in making me feel at home quite early on. Luckily I had a travel card so when I was running out of money I could easily just transfer across. The main challenge I faced was to do with my subjects. Once I got to Hong Kong Cityu told me that I had to change a subject to meet their requirements, and this was about a week after I arrived. Being in my second last semester of my degree I didn’t have much room to move subject wise and it turned out the subject I had chosen would not work with QUT, however I found this out too late and could not change. This has now resulted in me having to complete 5 subjects this semester.
- Take your own bedding! Chances are you’ll be arriving late in the evening and just wanting to get some sleep: they do not provide you with bedding so spare an uncomfortable night on a thin unprotected mattress and take some sheets at least!
- Take some extra passport photos, these will come in handy for your octopus card and any visas you may apply for (for example China).
- Go to Tequila Jacks in Tsim Sha Tsui, they have a great happy hour including $2AUD tacos!
- When bartering in the markets do not be afraid to walk away if they are not going down to the price you want, they will chase you lowering their price.
The benefits of exchange are endless. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone and everyone who is even the slightest bit interested. There will be times where it does seem tough and you don’t have your family or friends from home, but the memories and friends you make there are invaluable. You build a new support network of people who are in the same boat as you. I think it’s incredible to be able to live in another country for nearly 6 months. Hong Kong has changed my life and opened up so many more doors for me. I wish I could do it all over again!
At Hong Kong PolyU I studied four subjects; corporate finance, international finance, marketing decision analysis and marketing research. All the courses were taught in English, and the lecturers were able to communicate their content relatively well, as did the students participating in the class. The Accounting and Finance faculty at PolyU opts for a lectorial style format, with small classes of approximately 30-40 students and a single lecturer who simultaneously presents new content and interacts with the class. These classes ran for about three hours, with one class per subject per week. The lectorials all had participation grades and were not recorded. Fortunately, most of the lecturers were willing to accommodate exchange students who wanted to travel or explore Hong Kong, and would make exceptions to support us. The difficulty of the content was fairly comparable to that of QUT and required about an equal amount of work. The content itself was quite interesting and I found myself enjoying the two finance subjects in particular.
As mentioned earlier, I decided to live at the Hung Hom Student Halls while studying in Hong Kong. They are in close proximity to everything, with a 10 minute walk to the MTR subway system which goes to anywhere in Hong Kong, and 5 minutes further to the University itself. The student halls are also exceptionally affordable, costing about $50 AUD a week. All rooms in the halls are shared, and I chose to room with a student from a foreign country, though I was given the option to share with another Australian student or local student. I would definitely recommend this choice; you become close friends with your roommate and they can introduce you to other people from their home country. If you do decide to study at PolyU, I highly recommend taking a sleeping bag for bedding; it is comfortable, reduces washing and is incredibly useful for any travel that you may do.
The Halls are divided by every two levels. Each set of two levels was classed as its own ‘Hall’ with a committee that runs events for students living there. Each ‘Hall’ so has their own common areas and cooking equipment, which was a great space to relax and share meals together with friends. The student accommodation also has some exceptional facilities such as a swimming pool, table-tennis tables, pool tables and a gym. All these facilities are either free or very cheap to use. It also provides useful services such as counselling and tutoring support, though I never used them personally.
The cost of living in Hong Kong is relatively low, so I didn’t struggle too much with budgeting. Full-sized meals at restaurants cost anywhere from $5-10 AUD and going out isn’t too pricey either. There are plenty of free cultural events that you can attend, such as the Chinese National Day fireworks or the Mid-Autumn Festival. I was able to stay on a budget of $400HKD ($80 AUD) a week quite easily. I mostly used an international travel money card, which was useful for managing expenses in that you can load budgeted amounts.
My exchange to Hong Kong will always be one of the most memorable experiences of both my studies and my lifetime. There’s a reason why every student returns from exchange missing the country in which the studied, and the people that they met. It’s because only on exchange are you able to grow and learn more about yourself as a human being, while making friendships that you will cherish forever. I’ve come into my own as an adult in the later stages of my degree, become more independent and have an international network of people who I am sure I will visit at a later stage of my life. For that I am so very grateful to have been able to go on exchange and explore the world. I highly recommend that you do too.
My exchange to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my time at QUT. I was exposed to new cultures, new ideas and new ways of thinking, and met an array of interesting people from countries all around the world.
I chose to study at Hong Kong for several reasons. Firstly, Hong Kong is an international hub with a diverse population, food and culture. In a similar fashion, Hong Kong stands as a centre for the business world which aligned well with my passion for finance. Finally, I wanted to explore Asia and see what countries like China had on offer.
Arriving in Hong Kong was initially a very challenge experience. From my very first taxi ride into the city, I noticed that there were language barriers, though many people had a working understanding of English. I also shared a room at the campus halls, which was an entirely new experience altogether. Since my roommate was Chinese, it took some adjusting to accommodate for our different habits and sharing what was a particularly small living space. Ultimately, we became good friends and often assisted each other in day-to-day Hong Kong life.
Hong Kong itself is a busy city. Everything is expected to move quickly, so service is fast, and the people move faster. There are plenty of attractions in Hong Kong; the shopping, great nightlife, unique restaurants and also tranquil natural areas. I found myself enjoying time spent at Hong Kong’s various beaches and hikes. Taking a break from the city life in the more peaceful areas of Hong Kong is quite special. The pictures below are of Hong Kong’s natural infinity pool and the view from Lion’s Rock.
City University of Hong Kong:
Eligibility: UG & PG / All Faculties
Location: City University of Hong Kong is located in Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, near the MTR Kowloon Tong Station (East Rail Line / Kwun Tong Line) and Festival Walk.
Accreditation: Triple Crown Accreditation – AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA
Discipline areas of interest:
- Economics and Finance
- Information Systems
- Management Sciences
- City University of HK is a comprehensive research university, founded in 1984 as City Polytechnic of Hong Kong and became a fully accredited university in 1994.
- Ranked 95th among the world’s top universities, according to the QS World University Rankings 2012, with subjects such as Linguistics and Statistics ranked top 50 worldwide. The 2012 QS Asian University Rankings rated CityU as 12th among the top Asian universities
- CityU is “One of the Best Universities in Sports” among 11 member tertiary institutions in Hong Kong; CityU now has over 400 athletes in 16 sports events.
- Hu Fa Kuang Sports Centre is a five-storey sports center which houses a multi-purpose hall and four practice gymnasiums for badminton, basketball, volleyball, martial arts and dance, etc. There is a table-tennis room, six squash courts, an indoor sport-climbing wall, two physical fitness rooms and two golf driving rooms plus a golf simulation room. CityU has a 50-metre, Olympic-size swimming pool and a full-size outdoor basketball court. The off-campus Joint Sports Centre provides a variety of outdoor sports facilities, including an international standard 8-lane all-weather running track and field facilities, an 11-a-side natural grass football pitch, four tennis courts with a 200-seat spectator stand, a multi-purpose court and two-bay golf practice area. It is jointly owned by CityU, HKBU and PolyU.