Study Abroad - Hong Kong

Jan 4th, 2003, 06:46 AM
  #1  
jim
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Study Abroad - Hong Kong

I am a college student in USA and am thinking about a study abroad program for a semester in Hong Kong. Any pros,cons or general advice/insight? Thanks
 
Jan 5th, 2003, 03:23 AM
  #2  
Nancy
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I lived in Hong Kong for 5 year and think you would have a great experience. Hong Kong is a fascinating city and a good base for travel in China. You did not mention the university where you will be studying. Hong Kong University is located on Hong Kong Island and would be a good choice. Chinese University and some of the other universities are located in more outlying areas of Kowloon. There is nothing wrong with this (all parts of Hong Kong are very safe), except the level of English and availability of western brands of food in grocery stores would be a bit more problematic. (Of course, McDonalds are everywhere, so you can always get a Big Mac….) On Hong Kong Island, English is widely spoken, and most food products you buy have cooking instructions in English, something I have come to appreciate having been relocated to Switzerland this year from Asia. Public transportation around all parts of Hong Kong and Kowloon is cheap, fast and easily accessible, there is a good bus system and a subway system.

If your aim is to study or learn Mandarin, I would suggest you go to Beijing, which would also be a great place to study. Most people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese and do not understand Mandarin.

Hong Kong is very expensive, so make sure you get housing as part of your arrangement, and plan for a budget for food and incidentals. I rate it at about New York City plus 25%.
 
Jan 7th, 2003, 03:57 AM
  #3  
jim
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Nancy, The university is City University of Hong Kong. Dormitory housing would be included in the overseas study program. Would probably go January to June semester. I don't think I will be studying any of the languages per se. Appears to be near Kowloon Tong station. At this time do not know anything much about the layout of Hong Kong.
 
Jan 7th, 2003, 04:27 AM
  #4  
Nancy
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City University is in Kowloon, which is part of the Chinese mainland across the harbour from Hong Kong Island. As mentioned in my first reply, there is nothing wrong with Kowloon in terms of safety or accessibility. You may even enjoy it more than living on Kong Hong Island as it is not as Westernised and you may get more of an authentic Chinese experience. I think you will have a great time. If you go January to June, you will be there for Chinese New Year, which is a very interesting time to be there. Weather is definitely better that half of the year, although it will start to heat up in April. Get a good map and a guidebook. You might enjoy Jan Morris' book "Hong Kong" which provides a good background on the city and its history. The Tai Pan series of novels by James Clavell is also interesting to get views on the Hong Kong mindset (money and status). I would also recommend that you buy a book called "Culture Shock! Hong Kong" which gives very good information on customs and culture in Hong Kong. It is part of the Culture Shock Series of books printed by Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company. You can find them on the web or your local bookstore may have it or can order it for you. Good luck and have a great time! (Warn your parents, I studied in Singapore for a semester in 1986 and have basically never been back to the US since….!)
 
Jan 7th, 2003, 04:17 PM
  #5  
Brian
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City University is in Kowloon Tong, which is the interchange point of the city's two major railways: the MTR (within Hong Kong) and KCR (from Kowloon to the Chinese border). The location therefore gives you convinient transportation to many places. The university also sits right next to the Festival Walk, a great shopping mall which includes many reastaurants and a huge supermarket that can supply your daily needs. As previous post says, get a guide book and start from there. Hong Kong is pretty easy to navigate. Since you have lots of time there, try to do some side trips such as Macau, the New Territories or the outlying Islands. And I am sure if you have any questions, you can ask the local students/staff at the university. They should be the best people that can help you. Enjoy your stay!
 
Jan 7th, 2003, 04:26 PM
  #6  
Brian
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Also a note on transportation/sight seeing: If you are a student in Hong Kong (I assume you'll get a student ID from City university, so take advantage on student fare when taking trains, buses, etc). You can get a Octopus card for students (a card that gives you easy access when taking trains, buses and even shopping at 7-11). It's usually half price for students which can save you a lot of money.
 
Jan 8th, 2003, 05:53 PM
  #7  
jim
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Thanks all for the useful information.
 
Jan 9th, 2003, 08:38 PM
  #8  
ecb
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Just one note: Nancy has given some helpful information, but she's really over-stressed the differences between living on Hong Kong island and living in other parts of the SAR. Chinese University is in the New Territories, not Kowloon, and neither of these areas are part of the 'chinese mainland'. They comprise the vast majority of HK's territory and population, and are completely separated from mainland China. There's also little to no difference whatever in terms of 'Westernization' between the area around City U and most parts of Hong Kong island. The Festival Walk shopping mall Brian mentioned would not look out of place at all in Denver or Minneapolis! Jim, have a great time in HK. Nancy, if you're still reading this thread, you need to cross the harbour more!
 
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