A fantastic synthesis of Western and Eastern cultures, Hong Kong is extremely modern, whilst still respecting the ancient Chinese traditions and cultures. A relatively small region, it is an Asian economic power, and a world-leading centre of finance, trade and logistics. Combine all of this with the brilliant quality higher education institutions, and you can see why Hong Kong is the perfect choice for any international student.
Why Study in Hong Kong?
Many international students already choose Hong Kong for their higher education studies, but the region is keen to attract more. It is investing plenty of funds into increasing the numbers of international students, including offering more scholarships to make study more accessible. Hong Kong has a strong reputation in the areas of research and innovation, making their education system diverse and well-developed. Society in Hong Kong is extremely multicultural, and there is a lot to experience in a compact area. Life is fast-paced and cosmopolitan, with lots to keep you occupied in your free time!
Hong Kong is home to many world renowned universities, with one of the world’s highest concentrations of internationally ranked institutions. There are 6 of Hong Kong’s universities in the 2019 QS World University Rankings top 500. The highest ranked is the University of Hong Kong, which is placed at 25th. The next highest ranked is The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which is placed in 37th. The only university that is not within the top 500 is Lingnan University, which even then is only in the 601-650th group!
About Hong Kong
Officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong is home to almost 7.5 million people. It is a special administrative region, meaning that whilst it is part of mainland China, its governmental system is separate. The region was originally sparsely populated, and an area of farming and fishing villages. It has now become one of the world’s most important financial centres and commercial ports, with inhabitants of many different nationalities. Hong Kong has the largest amount of skyscrapers in the world, most of which are located in Victoria Harbour. The skyscrapers are part of the iconic modern skyline, but are complemented by the traditional Chinese architecture you will also find in the region. More than 90% of the population use the public transport systems, which are highly sophisticated and well developed.
Cost of Studying and Living in Hong Kong
Hong Kong uses the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) as its currency.
The tuition fees you pay will depend on where you choose to study in Hong Kong. On average, you should expect to pay between HKD 90,000 and HKD 265,000 per year as an international student. Due to the fact that Hong Kong wishes to attract more international students, there are plenty of scholarships available that will help fund your studies. These tend to be awarded to students who show academic excellence and potential, and can be competitive. They are awarded by individual institutions, as well as some that are offered by the government. Contact your institution to find out if you are eligible for any scholarships, and to receive guidance for applications.
Your cost of living will depend on where you choose to live. If you choose to live in privately rented accommodation, this will be more expensive than university accommodation. For a student dormitory, you should budget for between HKD 15,000 and HKD 45,000 per year. For a privately rented one-bedroom flat, you should budget for between HKD 90,000 and HKD 200,000 per year. For extra living costs, you should allow for around HKD 50,000 per year. International students are permitted to take on certain types of part-time employment. These tend to include course-related internships, on campus jobs and summer jobs. Further details about this should be in a ‘No Objection Letter’ when your visa is approved.
If you wish to study at university in Hong Kong, you are required to have a student visa. You will need to complete the ID995 A and B forms. As well as these forms, there are several other documents you must provide. These are a photocopy of your passport, travel itinerary with proof of your flights, recent passport photograph, proof of admission to a Hong Kong institution, evidence of financial support (bank statements or proof of scholarship) and evidence of your accommodation. You will also need a local sponsor, which is a service that your institution will arrange for you. Contact the institution for more information.
You must have a valid health insurance policy for the duration of your stay in Hong Kong. It is common for universities to offer their own policies to international students. If this is not the case for your institution, you will need to arrange for a private health insurance policy.
Hong Kong has two official languages. These are Chinese and English. They have one recognised regional language; Cantonese. Their official scripts are Traditional Chinese and the English alphabet.
It is extremely common for higher education institutions to offer courses in English and Chinese. If you choose to study in a non-native language, you may have to provide evidence of your language proficiency. If you do not meet the required standards, you may be able to take a language course to help you improve.
Even if you are able to study in English, you should still make an effort to learn as much Chinese as possible. The Chinese language is widely spoken around the world, and is a heavily used business language. Being able to speak Chinese will not only be useful for your everyday life, it is a skill that looks great on your CV/resume!