The University of Hong Kong: Semester 1, 2013
Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Commerce, 5th Year

Academic experiences

  • Five courses – easier in terms of content (breadth rather than depth, but this was based on my subjects), and easier to pass but harder to obtain a high mark.
  • Assessment –mostly reports, research papers and presentations (no final exams). More flexibility with research topics, word count and due date.
  • Utilise HKU’s resources – many seminars and talks by knowledgeable people from around the world, and many learning spaces around campus. HKU also has non-credit-bearing “General Education” courses which cover a wide range of interests. Note the two week add/drop period and check your official enrolment on the HKU Portal site.

Accommodation

Halls

  • Good way to integrate yourself in the local culture, but only if you make the effort. A well-rounded hall education is really encouraged at HKU so there are ample opportunities to participate in many different activities and groups.
  • Can be overwhelming with the endless amount of activities, and it can be difficult to adjust to the lifestyle (i.e. sleeping at 4am, floor ‘desserts’ at 11pm).
  • Note the different cultures, sizes and locations of the halls – some are on or very close to campus (Jockey Club Village I and II Halls were a 4 minute and 10 minute walk away respectively), but you need to take the shuttle coming from Sassoon Rd halls.


Residential Colleges on Lung Wah St:

  • Very new and more spacious
  • Many exchange and international students
  • Close to Kennedy Town (supermarkets, restaurants, shops). Shuttle bus or about a 20 minute walk to campus.
  • Some ‘hall’ type activities


Sassoon Road Residences - Patrick Manson; Student Flats

  • Older and less frequently maintained
  • Shuttle bus to uni.
  • Not as many food and shopping options close by.
     
  • Off-campus and private:
  • Only a good idea if you know someone in Hong Kong already
  • Can be expensive but note HKU’s subsidies for international students

Expenses:

  • HK is generally very cheap (meals for AUD$3!) but expenses can add up if you aren’t conscious about your spending. Take time to research as this can make all the difference.
  • It’s a good idea to apply early for the Student Octopus Card (very convenient and similar to a debit card used for transport and various shops like 7/11).


Top Tips / Lessons Learnt:

  • Take initiative. Be practical and focus on the things you truly want to accomplish on your exchange and don’t wait for others to nonchalantly agree and back out last minute (write a checklist you can tick off). On the flipside, if you have a commitment, stick to it. Prioritise so you don’t end up making promises you can’t keep.
  • It’s okay to be alone - sometimes solitude is a very good thing to have, especially in Hong Kong. Take a breather sometimes and remind yourself of the bigger picture because on exchange it’s very easy to feel like you’re in a bubble and far from reality.
  • Take care of your health (and belongings)! It’s easy to get lost in the never-ending amount of things to do (eg. Ladies’ nights at Wanchai and Lan Kwai Fong, karaoke from midnight to 6am, 3am dim sum in Kennedy Town, junk boat parties) and to feel like you’re invincible because you’re young, but all the late nights, little sleep and food at inopportune hours eventually catches up with you.
  • Be open-minded. Do things that challenge you, talk to different people, try and learn other languages, but never cross the line where you think you might be doing the wrong thing and hurting yourself or others.
  • Most importantly, be confident in who you are. This is especially important in the first few weeks when it seems like everyone is trying to figure each other out and make new friends. The exchange experience is only as good as you make/let it!

 

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