UQ Program: Bachelor of Law

I have no regrets whatsoever about going on exchange to the University of Hong Kong (HKU) - I had the time of my life there! Academically, HKU was the perfect place to study law outside Australia. Hong Kong's legal system is very similar to Queensland's so what I'd learned at UQ was relevant and helpful in understanding the course material in Hong Kong, and likewise the courses I took in Hong Kong will definitely further my understanding of the law in Queensland.

At American and Canadian universities law is a postgraduate degree which means undergraduate exchange students won't usually be able to take real law courses. This wasn't a problem at HKU where law is an undergraduate degree like at UQ. On top of that, the classes at HKU are conducted in English and the lecturers are mostly very good. The class sizes are usually quite small so the lecturers have more time to talk to students individually. The administrative side of HKU is a bit annoying at times (it seems that you have to fill out a form for just about everything, and signing on for classes can be a bit confusing), but the staff are very friendly and understanding so any problems you have should be sorted out without too much drama.

There's far more to exchange than studying however. Hong Kong is an amazing city to live in, there's just nowhere else like it. The food is great (although it can be a bit difficult for vegetarians at times), the public transport is cheap and efficient, and the streets are fascinating to just wander around: there's a street dedicated almost entirely to selling shoes, a giant electronics market and a whole district of dried seafood shops, amongst others. And what a lot of people don't realise is that there's more to Hong Kong than the city centre. The New Territories (North of Kowloon) and the outlying islands are great to explore: every part of Hong Kong has a different feel to it. You'll most likely find yourself hanging out primarily with other exchange students (especially if, like me, you don't speak Cantonese). This has its pluses and minuses since you'll end up with great friends from all over the world, but you'll never really feel like an insider in Hong Kong.

Five tips:

1. Take the introductory Cantonese course if you don't already speak Cantonese. Most people speak English but it's still really good to know some of the local lingo.
2. Eat at the cooked food markets - there's an especially good Thai restaurant at the Shek Tong Tsui Cooked Food Market.
3. Make local friends! It's difficult but you'll regret it if you don't because when you go back to Hong Kong in the future you won't know anyone there.
4. Try to get into a student flat rather than a hall (or at least make friends with some people living in a flat!), because the hall regulations are very strict about visitors and parties and they're rigidly enforced - you will be kicked out if you break them.
5. Go to the restaurant in Yau Ma Tei that everyone calls "Mr Wong's" - it's HK$40 (~AU$4.50) for as much food and beer as you want.

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