Welcome to the Jungle: Hong Kong Past Review

By (Economics., Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/17/2012 to 12/22/2012 with

University of Hong Kong / HKU: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a wider perspective on the world and also learned a lot more about myself. The course of events certainly did not turn out the way I had expected them to, but the experience was invaluable.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There is a lot of academic pressure on students about performing well and getting good grades in classes more so than actually gaining deeper understanding of the material from them. Because FBE classes are normally 100-200 students, most of them usually have mandatory tutorial sessions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

HKU's Faculty of Business and Economics was disorganized, inefficient, and unfriendly. The course selection process was unnecessarily tedious and convoluted.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Patrick Manson, which is an all-exchange, all-girls off-campus housing. The building isn't the newest or cleanliest facility, but I was able to make a lot of close exchange friends while living there and the hall has a beautiful view of the mountains behind Queen Mary's Hospital.

* Food:

There is so many different types of cuisines in Hong Kong and even on campus. The food was affordable and filling.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Local students tend to hang out among themselves, both inside and outside of class. A good way to integrate, however, would be to join a student organization/club on campus.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never ran into safety issues. However, I'd say just travel around with a group and hold onto your belongings if you're going into crowded areas like marketplaces.

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)

You'll be making a lot more expenditures during the first month as you settle down. After that you'll be spending about 100USD per week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around HK$700-$1000
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Instead of purchasing an expensive 3G phone contract at telecom shops like 3Shop or PCCW, go to Mongkok and buy a functional HK$200 Nokia phone. Create a budget for yourself -- take out a certain amount from the atm and plan to use only that amount for a specified period of time.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? CHIN9501
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Learn the language used in the country. I would suggest taking Cantonese over Mandarin.

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 live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food
  • Friends met along the way
  • Interesting landscape
* What could be improved?
  • HKU's administration
  • Professors' methods of teaching
  • Accommodations for exchange students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I hadn't set up such high expectations for Hong Kong. You will be more open to new experiences and happily surprised by Hong Kong's various traditions, customs, and people. Take a travel book with you, but don't read it until you get there.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Finance
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I had never taken finance courses prior to HKU, and only after I had registered for this class did I learn that it was one of the most difficult finance courses. I would not recommend this course from a similar background as mine. Not only is the material difficult, but also, the professor's method of teaching (reading off Powerpoint slides) was very disappointing.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Economics
Instructor: Steven Ching
Instruction Language: English
Credit Transfer Issues: