Sprawling between the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea lies the breathtaking island metropolis of Hong Kong, a city which feels like another planet. With more skyscrapers than any place in the world, a truly massive industrial seaboard, and a unique cultural history infused with Eastern and Western elements, this great port city is sure to inspire awe in even the most seasoned traveller, not to mention provide an incredible place to study abroad. Studying abroad in Hong Kong will expose students to everything that makes this global city one of the most vibrant and influential places in the world today.
Subjects & Courses
The city of Hong Kong is home to eight public universities and one private university, as well as a variety of international institutions and satellite schools which often partner with study abroad program providers. The University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are all internationally ranked and highly respected academic institutions. Admission in to one of these universities can be highly competitive, however international students will find universities quite easily cater to students who are studying abroad in Hong Kong.
Popular areas of academic study in Hong Kong are International Business, Media, Marketing, Engineering, Communications, and Economics. A city whose history is very much influenced by global trade, today Hong Kong boasts the world’s freest market economies, making it a great place to study any business related field. Moreover, like most global cities, it has also developed has a thriving cultural scene, making such disciplines as Fashion, Art, and Film a great medium of study in Hong Kong as well.
Classes are generally taught in English at the University level so study abroad students need not worry if they don’t speak Cantonese. English is an official language in Hong Kong, and roughly 35 percent of the population can speak the language fluently (encompassing essentially the entire educated population). Academic terms typically run from September to December and January to May with breaks in between; summer semesters are an especially popular time to study abroad in Hong Kong. Study abroad programs in Hong Kong are available any time of the year, however, and even for the full academic year.
Life in HK
Although Hong Kong is currently a Special Administrative Region of China, it enjoys a great degree of autonomy in the governance of its economy and everyday affairs. As such, life in Hong Kong is drastically different from mainland China, and indeed the city will feel like an entirely separate country to study abroad students. This autonomous countenance is largely due to its establishment and long history as a British colony, being only recently annexed by China in the last century. Today Hong Kong thrives as a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western cultures, and enjoys a tremendous degree of global influence in return.
Individuals who choose to study abroad in Hong Kong will come to experience the fascinating cultural amalgam everyday in the bustling streets of HK. From the towering skyscrapers, gargantuan mega malls, and high-end fashion boutiques to the offbeat marketplaces, public museums, and funky bars, the tremendous diversity of life in Hong Kong will provide international students with a never ending source of entertainment and intellectual fascination. Furthermore, the city is all connected by the most highly-used public transportation system in the world, an intricate system of subways, busses, and ferries, which can take you virtually anywhere you need to be in the greater Hong Kong area.
Be wary though that Hong Kong is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. There is a magnificent degree of wealth tied up in the city’s stock exchange and bevy of multinational corporations. When studying abroad in Hong Kong, students should always be mindful of their expenses and try to eat and shop away from the city center, where prices can skyrocket. In the outskirts, such as in Kowloon, students will be able to lead a much cheaper and arguably even more fun and enriching lifestyle. Be sure to check out GoAbroad’s Scholarships Directory for study abroad in Hong Kong too, for more information on financial aid opportunities to support your trip.
Accommodation & Visas
There are a variety of housing options available for students who choose to study abroad in Hong Kong. Living in dormitories is a great way to interact with local students and make friends from around the world during your study abroad program in Hong Kong. At the same time, apartment living will afford you a more independent lifestyle and is a nice way to get to know the world of Hong Kong beyond its academic institutions. Apartments can be quite expensive however, so if you go in this direction then you may want to live further away from the downtown area.
Homestays are another popular option for students studying in in Hong Kong; homestays provide a truly immersive opportunity for students by living daily life with a local family. This is an unparalleled way to make close relationships and become intimate with the local culture – and regular home cooked meals are hard to complain about as well. Different study abroad programs come with different housing opportunities, so be sure to communicate openly with your program provider about housing options to find the best option for you.
Although visas are not typically required for short stays, if you are planning to study abroad in Hong Kong for an extended length of time than you will likely need to apply for a student visa. These can be easily obtained with the help of your host university or study abroad program provider. Also note that visas to visit the Chinese mainland are entirely separate, so if you want to travel more of the country while you are abroad then you will need to apply for a separate visa. Consult GoAbroad’s Chinese Embassy Directory to inquire about the specific visa policy associated with your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Studying abroad in Hong Kong will be a life changing experience, as you find yourself immersed in one of the most globally oriented, and at times surreal, cities on the planet. From the immense wealth of the financial district to the densely packed street markets of Kowloon, you will become engulfed in a tremendous diversity of life while studying in Hong Kong, which can be found nowhere else in the world. Many regions of the world claim to be where East meets West, but few can match Hong Kong’s claim to the title, so study abroad in Hong Kong and you will come to know the true meeting point of both worlds.