Academic Experiences

The courses I undertook at the University of Hong Kong are listed below:

  • Auditing
  • Economic Analysis of the Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Public International Law

In terms of academics, HKU is very similar to UQ with regard to its mode and weight of study, on a subject by subject comparison. However, at HKU, you will have to undertake 5 courses instead of UQ’s 4, which may be a little more to handle if you don’t organise yourself well enough during the semester. HKU is more liberal when it comes to assignment topics and word counts, often allowing students to accept or modify a topic from a chosen list, or to come up with their own topic for research papers. Word counts are often merely recommended, and words in excess of the recommended word count are not often penalised (though this depends on your lecturer).

Personal experiences

Living on campus accommodation is definitely the way to go. Hall / College is an experience that you definitely want on exchange, and it really gets you involved with university life on campus. I personally stayed at the Residential Colleges on Lung Wah St, a new development which had less emphasis on hall culture and greater emphasis on impacting the community (i.e. through community projects and volunteering work).

The greatest thing about going on exchange was developing friendships and relationships with the people around me. It was unforgettable and a truly joyous feeling being able to forge close relationships in such a short time. I can’t fully describe how wonderful that experience was, and strongly recommend that all those considering going on exchange, do so.

Expenses 

I budgeted around $2000 HKD per week (roughly $250 AUD per week, at a $1AUD = $8HKD exchange rate). This covered accommodation, food, transport and other entertainment expenses. If you’re planning on shopping or travelling extensively, you’ll probably have to budget more. Flights should cost under a thousand dollars for a return trip to Hong Kong if you’re flying with a budget airline. In total, my trip to Hong Kong, including a 6 day trip to Malaysia, 4 day trip to Taiwan and 1 day trip to Macau, totalled $6000 - $7000 AUD (All expenses included; food, accommodation, entertainment, shopping, touring, flights). Having said that, I didn’t shop or travel extensively. Hong Kong is definitely a place to go if you’re on a budget, and a scholarship along with a government loan should be able to sustain your stay in Hong Kong.

5 Top Tips

  • Wherever you end up going, whether it be Hong Kong or elsewhere, it is not a picture of iconic scenery, or amazing landscape, the busy lifestyle or college experience which makes exchange such an amazing experience; it’s the people. Whatever memories you make, the best of them will involve forging those great friendships on exchange. Be sure to make them, and be open to socialising with those around you.
  • University accommodation, unlike at UQ, is the cheapest you can find anywhere in Hong Kong. The cheap price, close proximity and college experience makes applications for college places highly competitive. Be sure to sign up on time, you won’t regret it. The most popular ones (and therefore most difficult to apply for) are Starr Hall, Simon K.Y Lee Hall (SKY Lee), and Swire Hall. If you wish to have a better chance of obtaining a place in a hall, regardless of popularity, the less popular ones are Wei Lun Hall, RC Lee Hall and Hysan Hall. The Residential Colleges on Lung Wah St also have a large amount of accommodation available.
  • Bring with you passport photos. You will definitely be needing them for student cards, other forms of identification, etc.
  • Get a Student Octopus Card. This will make all subway fares half price, though they don’t apply to buses (just a note, public transport in Hong Kong is privately owned). Get one ASAP, application forms are available at your school or department’s general office.
  • Travel as much as you can, when you can. Hong Kong has cheap flights to Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Philippines, and other parts of South East Asia. Be sure to grab every opportunity to travel, as your exchange will fly by faster than you think; before you know it, it’ll be 4 weeks to exams, and you and your friends will be up to your neck in exam / assignment preparation.

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