Samantha - The University of Hong Kong

B. Commerce / Arts
Semester 2, 2017

Academic experience

During my exchange, I studied elective courses. HKU offers credit bearing introductory Cantonese courses and introductory to intermediate Mandarin courses for exchange and international students. I highly recommend taking one of these courses, not only to help make your life easier in Hong Kong, but also to make friends with other students that are in the same boat as you.

At least with the courses that I did, I found that HKU co urses had contact hours than UQ. For one of my courses it didn’t even have any tutorials. Even with the courses I took with tutorials, they were only on every second or third week with about five tutorials during the semester per course.

Unlike UQ, HKU does not record lectures at all. So even though you are on exchange you’re going to want to attend lectures. I had a few friends that had lectures starting as late as 7:30 pm! Also, the size of the lectures and tutorials were smaller than that found in UQ. In terms of the course load itself, a full time course load is five courses. The difficulty and amount of assessment in the courses were similar to that at UQ.

Personal experience

The best part of my exchange was definitely the friends that I made. I now have lifelong friends from Hong Kong and other different parts of the world. Together we explored Hong Kong, ate delicious food and even studied a bit.

I had the opportunity to travel a bit during reading week and after my exams were done. I travelled to Mainland China, Macau and Japan. Before my exchange, I still lived with my parents, so this was the first time I lived independently and it was an opportunity for me to experience life and tackle challenges by myself.


I lived at New College, a HKU residential hall located one station away from campus at Kennedy Town. It is part of the Jockey Club III Halls which are the newest HKU halls and therefore are very clean and modern. However, compared to other halls the distance from campus is not the closest but it is conveniently located near the MTR station, Wellcome (a popular supermarket chain), other shops and a variety of yummy restaurants.

HKU has a huge emphasis on hall culture so there are many hall clubs and activities to get involved in. For example, high table dinners, sports teams and volunteering activities. So, there are many opportunities to befriend your fellow hall mates.

I 110% recommend staying at a hall while studying at HKU as they are very affordable and cheap, especially considering that Hong Kong is infamous for its ridiculous high rent prices. However, due to this low price, competition for hall places is high and even though you are an exchange student you are not guaranteed a place in a hall. So make sure to apply for a hall ASAP!

Professional development and employability

Through this exchange I was able to experience a new culture and meet a lot of new people from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures. This helped prepare me for any future encounters I may have with clients that are not from Australia and allowed me to be more aware of global issues, which is very important in this global economy era. It also helped me become a more confident and outgoing person due to constantly meeting new people and trying out new experiences.


The highlight of my experience was the many adventures that I had with my new friends.

Top tips

  • If you have a free elective, enrol in either a Cantonese or Mandarin course
  • Get involved in the HKU student life
  • Find a volunteering opportunity that you're passionate about
  • Apply for a student Octopus Card
  • Go on at least one of the many hiking trails that Hong Kong has to offer
  • Travel outside of Hong Kong