Go for the Experience, Not the Academics Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/08/2018 to 05/13/2018 with

University of Hong Kong / HKU: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about HK's identity, history, & politics (esp. pertinent today). I also got to travel & experience East Asia, which was absolutely fantastic - it gave me a far richer understanding for Asian affairs & cultures.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Not as rigorous as Wellesley. Lectures aren't as engaging as Wellesley, either. Students weren't as encouraged to think critically & engage with others. Not all profs are transparent about grading whatsoever - I had profs who refused to give you anything but a final grade.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEDARS was really good about getting my visa to me really quickly. Other than that, it was really very much OK - nothing fantastic.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I got really lucky & lived in the best housing (Jockey Village III). I've heard horror stories about the other buildings, but JCV III was absolutely fantastic. Applying for housing was a total mess - lots of people were unhoused, even when they got to HK (places for them pretty much always opened up, but they had to rent places until then). APPLY FOR HOUSING EARLY.

* Food:

I had no meal plan, so I ended up buying food a lot because eating out was so affordable. If you eat non-Western food, you can get a nice big meal for $4-5 (USD). Western food is $$ - expect to pay $20 a plate.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

A big chunk of this is on me for not knowing Cantonese. If you know Cantonese, you're in much better shape.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no need to use healthcare services, though I heard from friends who had influenza (really nasty this year) that HKU's health services is pretty good (& REALLY cheap).

* Safety:

HK is the safest place EVER. I felt comfortable walking around at all hours - 3 a.m. included. There are always people about.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Although the academics disappointed, I'm glad I had the chance to live in HK.


* 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)

Food is really really cheap in HK - there's no tipping, & a good plate of food (non-Western) costs $4-6 (USD). If you go out a lot, you can drop $$$. If you identify as a lady, Ladies Nights are fantastic for having an affordable night out.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 75
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keeping track of how much you spend in HK is fairly easy because most places are cash-only.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food (non-HKU food...the campus food is not great)
  • Opportunity to travel
  • Transportation (HK's MTR is fast & really cheap)
* What could be improved?
  • Academics
  • Housing process
  • Dorm culture
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Registering for courses is HORRIBLE. They have you register the week classes start, & there's no guarantee you'll get in. Register for housing ASAP.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!