I spent my second
year of university in Hong Kong in 2009 and can honestly say it was the best year
of my life. I moved from Lancaster University, which is a small town in the UK
to one of the most vibrant city’s in the world and would encourage anyone considering
studying aboard, especially in HK to do the same!
I went to City University of Hong Kong as a Business Management major and, whilst academically the university was not as good as my home institution, the courses have a strong focus on collaboration. Group work pushes you to interact with the local students and experience cross cultural communication and their ways of working which was really enlightening. Workload wise you're not pushed too hard (this may have changed) and I think I benefited from being a native speaker but it fitted my lifestyle as an exchange student because I naturally wanted to see and experience as much of the city and the region as possible.
The accommodation in City U was run by the university and I shared a room with a local guy from Hong Kong (sharing a room was a novelty for me). He was really friendly and the student hall invited me to 'Hot Pot' ( a local dish) on our floor regularly. The university and in particular the halls of residence are a little stricter than I was used to and people from outside the hall (even if they were City U students) were not allowed to visit you after 10pm. For the location (Kowloon Tong) the semester's pricing was incredibly cheap (less than I paid to be on campus in my small town home university).
There is a kind of informal international students society which get together really regularly and go for drinks etc and if you take the leap you will soon find you make some incredible friends that you will probably keep for life. I still visit mates from around the world now and went to visit Finland and Prague this summer with some people I met solely whilst studying overseas.
The city itself is incredible. We’ve written more about Hong Kong as a location here but suffice to say you will have an incredible time. Every time I would watch the sun come up over the skyscrapers sprawling out over the city I would have a moment of 'I can't believe I am living here'.
The tiny ‘Special Administrative Region’ (as it’s not technically a country) is also really well connected, with cheap flights courtesy of many low budget carriers such as ‘Air Asia’ to China and much of South East Asia for very reasonable prices. This meant I was able to spend a month in China backpacking and visited the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, all with people I met on exchange.
In summary... do it!
I never regretted the year I was there for an instant and it definitely has not impeded my career. Interviewers and colleagues frequently ask about my time there and it adds an extra little something different to your CV. Indeed, I’ve had bosses who have told me I stood out from the stack because of this element of my life alone.
Also of interest to those looking at studying abroad in Hong Kong may be Lorencio's site. He was like the 'Van Wilder' of City U and has written extensively about the city and exchange. You can't beat this (perhaps slightly poorly written - grammar wise) blog for pure information gathering.