Hong Kong (officially a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, the other being Macau) is situated on China’s southern coast. It’s estimated that there are about 7 million people in Hong Kong and while it belongs to China and the Chinese government has the last say, Hong Kong does display a great level of autonomy.
Hong Kong is an important economic and world business centre and although a Chinese majority forms the core of local culture, Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city. It has a significant foreign population, including thousands of international students.
Hong Kong has an excellent transportation system that will take you anywhere you wish to go within the city and beyond, which is just as well as there is plenty to explore. More than 70% of Hong Kong is covered by national parks, so you can travel outside the city to experience nature and more traditional lifestyles.
The top tourist attractions in Hong Kong include:
- Avenue of Stars
- The Peak
- Ladies’ Market
- Clock Tower
- Hong Kong Disneyland
- Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
- Ocean Park Hong Kong
- Temple Street Night Market
- Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (and Golden Bauhinia Square)
- The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
You can find excellent street food in Hong Kong, famously offered by the once hugely prevalent Dai Pai Dongs. These are open food stalls that tend to have no fixed location, but offer interesting seafood and noodle dishes, amongst other things. Numbers have dwindled in recent years, though some remain which are very much worth hunting out.
Tuition fees vary between universities, so you should always check out your desired programme and university to inform yourself about specific tuition fees. Generally speaking though, fees vary between $75,000 and $120,000 Hong Kong Dollars per year (between $9,700 to $15,400 U.S. Dollars).
Hong Kong is no longer a cheap place to live. The cost of living can be on par with London or New York, however foreigners who wish to study in Hong Kong can use a variety of discounts to make their stay in Hong Kong more affordable. Certain things, such as transportation, telecommunications and healthcare do cost significantly less than in Europe or North America. Living in University-provided halls of residence and hostels is the most affordable option, costing between HK$5,000 (about US$650) to HK$20,200 (around US$2,600) per semester. As a comparison, you should expect to pay that much per month if you live off-campus.
You should also estimate about HK$30,000 – 60,000 (US$3,900 – 7,700) per year for additional costs, such as food, transportation, leisure, personal items and more. The exact cost will largely depend on your lifestyle, although you can get a more detailed picture on the costs of studying in Hong Kong at StudyCostCompare.
It’s important to note that your visa or entry permit doesn’t allow you to work full time. There is an exception when it comes to internships and part-time on-campus employment that is available to international students who study in Hong Kong. Also, there are certain summer jobs available to foreign students and eligible students are issued a “No Objection Letter” (NOL) detailing conditions of employment.
You may apply for numerous scholarships and grants to assist you in paying your studies and living expenses. Certain scholarships are reserved solely for international students who wish to study in Hong Kong. You may also apply for grants to cover a portion of your fees. Others scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to all talented students. There are funds provided by universities, companies, academic departments or individuals. There are even scholarships that will cover all of your costs, from tuition fees to housing and living expenses. These scholarships also cover all the additional university fees and even certain personal expenses.
All non-local students must obtain a student visa or entry permit in order to study in Hong Kong. Once you’ve been offered a place at a Hong Kong institution you need to secure a local sponsor to support your visa application. Universities will usually take care of this for international students.
You must submit an application form along with proof of identity, evidence of your academic qualifications and a financial statement. It’s also likely that the Immigration Department will request to know where you’ll live while staying in Hong Kong, so it’s always the best to arrange accommodation in advance.
You will have to renew your visa each year in order to continue your studies. You should do this 4 weeks before your visa expires at the very latest.
English is one of the official languages of Hong Kong (the other being Cantonese Chinese) and is widely spoken. Most courses and programmes use English by way of instruction.
There are also many courses offered in Chinese, ideal for those who wish to perfect their Chinese language skills during their stay. Learning the Chinese language can help you to integrate better and make the most out of your stay, not to mention making you highly employable upon your graduation.
There are also institutions conducting certain courses in Putonghua language, intended for mainland students and others who are fluent in the language.