Hannah - The Chinese University of Hong Kong

B. Arts/Economics
Semester 2, 2014

Academic experience

UQ requires you to take five courses while at CUHK. While this sounds like a lot, the workload is quite manageable. However, being in a city as amazing as Hong Kong sometimes makes it difficult to focus. These included subjects on the Chinese economy (ECON3110) and Chinese economic history (ECON3250) which I thoroughly recommend taking as it is a different perspective from what I have been taught at UQ. I also took courses in finance (Econ3420) and macroeconomics (Econ3620) which were quite similar to UQ and as such quite easy to adjust to. As my final subject, I continued my study of Chinese (Cpth2333). The language program was excellent however there is something to be wary of. I had originally enrolled to take two Chinese courses but at the end of my second week of class due to insufficient numbers, one was cancelled. This was quite difficult to rearrange my timetable and choose a new subject in week three of the semester.

Personal experience

The most important personal experiences of the exchange had to do with freedom and independence. It is certainly a freeing experience to arrive in a country where absolutely no one knows you. This experience also tests your independence to navigate the new place. I was lucky enough at CUHK to find over 600 exchange students doing exactly the same thing. Whilst I did not get to know each one of these 600 students extremely well, those I did I know will be friends for life. We may be from vastly different countries but the shared experience of exploring a new place and learning from each other in the process is completely unforgettable. Whether it be travelling around China, nights out in Lan Kwai Fong, eating Dim Sum, catching the Star Ferry across the harbour or becoming professionals at fitting ourselves into tiny spaces on the MTR. Hong Kong, Hong Kongers and the international students I met there will always be a defining moment in my life.


At CUHK accommodation is conveniently organised by the university and is very reasonably priced. CUHK has a huge campus (watch out for the monkeys!) and accommodation on campus is guaranteed for exchange students. I lived in I-house Block 1 for the period of exchange and really loved it. Its an apartment style with ten students in each apartment. It was a great opportunity to meet and become close friends with local student and other exchange students. I-house Block 1 and 2 are a little far away from some parts of the campus but CUHK operates a free bus service if you're not in the mood for a walk.


Since rent (around $800AUD for the semester) at CUHK is very reasonable especially for Hong Kong living expenses turn out to be quite good. Food on campus is very cheap (around $3-4AUD for a full meal), however, if you're like me and tend to eat out a lot you may need to budget a bit more. As I was living at CUHK and the buses around campus are free, transport is also not a big concern. The MTR to central costs around $2AUD and to most other places I frequented it was less. Hong Kong being a transit hub and conveniently located means you can get many international airfares around Asia for the price of flying from Brisbane to Sydney! In my four months I went on six international trips so do take spontaneous travel into account when budgeting!

Professional development and employability

Going to a place as globally orientated as Hong Kong can't help but enhance your academic development and employability. As mentioned before, the unique perspective of studying economics, history and languages in the East has opened my eyes. I can return to UQ feeling more confident in the quality and depth my degree has given me. This global outlook and furthermore the independence gained from studying in an Asian country improves employment prospects.


Thinking about Hong Kong brings to mind images of an expansive skyline filled with skyscrapers and junk boats. However, something you may not know about Hong Kong is the close proximity to nature. Not far from the urban centre is a multitude of stunning bushwalks. This was made obvious to me in my first couple of weeks here when my local friend told me about a beach that you can hike to and sleep over. Nothing forges new friendships better than a 17km hike to a beautiful beach where we camped the night around a campfire. The next day we spent at a waterfall not far from the beach. Truly a different side to Hong Kong.

Top tips

Say yes to everything. Going on an exchange gives you an unforgettable experience, real friendships, academic opportunities and most of all the option for adventure.Say yes to friendships, to travel, to new experiences. Without which I would not have found myself in truly unique experiences such as the middle of Pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong, Swing Dancing in Lan Kwai Fong or learning a language from so many native speakers.

Hannah - The Chinese University of Hong Kong