Past Review

By (Civil Engineering., Rice University) for

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: Hong Kong - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Seriously, go. I was so nervous about going abroad but I have no regrets. I met amazing people and have come with wonderful memories. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academically, HKUST classes were challenging. Classes were bigger than I was used to as Rice classes are generally 20 to 50 students whereas a majority of HKUST classes were in lecture halls. Students there had some surprising habits - not everyone attended class, students would walk out if they were bored or fall asleep. The teaching style was not to my liking as professors just read things of a projector. However, I took ALL engineering classes and I had a pretty heavy workload of 5 classes which is unusual and not the best thing to do if you are an exchange student. It's a good thing there were other international students to suffer with me and TAs and local students were very accommodating and helpful. Professors there... not so much unless they were comfortable speaking English.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It's really up to the student to initiate meetings and updates on deadlines. It seems like the Study Abroad office is impersonal and doesn't really keep tabs on you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Rooms are small and so is everything else in it! You probably won't spend too much time there unless to sleep and there is a fan and air conditioning, but you have to pay for it. HKUST is in an amazing location and you get a gorgeous view of the bay area and sea. <br /><br /> HKUST halls were fun living in as you are dispersed among locals and international students. There are a lot of activities and events to get to know other students.

* Food:

I love Asian food so I was happy. It's pay as you go so don't feel like you have to eat on campus all the time. There is a wide variety of restaurants and canteens with different types of food to choose from. And a McDonald's if you get homesick.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are a lot of other international students that you will meet in class. I was the only Rice student in HKUST and I had a great time meeting students from all over America, Europe and Asia. There is no doubt you will travel to Thailand, the Philippines, China and that's part of the whole exchange experience and probably one reason I wasn't too bothered about the academic aspect of my semester. Local students are also really helpful and willing to take care of you suggest places to visit and restaurants to try. Furthermore, you should definitely find the local places to shop. Boots, clothes, coats - great! Hong Kong also has an unbelievable night life scene and a lot of students take advantage of it. The city truly comes alive at night. There are also numerous festivals to experience. I was fortunate to be there for Chinese New Year. One fantastic thing about Hong Kong is that its an amazing city with great access and it offers opportunities for hiking, kayaking, camping and rock climbing. Hong Kong scenery is beautiful.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

When I was in Hong Kong, swine flu was born. Hong Kong was readily prepared for this health crisis, as was HKUST. There couldn't have been a safer and cleaner place to be caught up with it.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Coming to Asia was a really smart choice as it is less expensive than going to European cities, thus you have more opportunity to spend your money on visiting more places.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be wary of any visas you might need and how much they cost.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students


great feedback! "Do stand on the left side of the escalator. Do play charades on the MTR." Classic.

Mike August 21, 2009