NYU Stern

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: Student Feedback

Jack Shi


Student Profile

Name: 
Jack Shi

Highlight of my semester abroad:
People. The city is amazing, but with the people I met and connected with on my exchange, it was truly an unforgettable, lifetime experience. I would strongly recommend this to anyone. One day when I have my own kid, I will force him/her to go on exchange.

You might be interested to know:
I attended several recruiting events while on IBEX, including for several big banks. The information was listed on the HKUST website and open to everyone. I have a friend who exchanged from Canada and actually got an internship offer in Hong Kong through these events.

What I would say to students considering participating in IBEX:
Just do it. It'll be the best decision ever.

Contact me about IBEX HKUST:
Jack Shi - xs322@stern.nyu.edu


Student Profile

Name: Teri Amy

Teri Amy_HKUST

Highlight of my semester abroad:

Hiking solo through the Gobi Desert to see the sunrise and going on a food tour of Hong Kong's Tai Hang neighborhood.

You might be interested to know:
I traveled as much as possible while on exchange. Overall, I visited Mongolia, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Okinawa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar.

An interesting fact about the country where I studied:
Hong Kong's skyscrapers were designed with feng shui in mind -- the bank towers were specifically designed to attack their neighbors.

Feedback from Students

Banking

"Credit card and cash. Remeber to get octopus card right away. You can pay for subway, bus, meals and even shopping with this convenient card!"

"I bought all my money to HK in AMEX traveler checks. I have a HSBC account here so I had my NY branch write me a referral. I had a savings account in HSBC in Hong Kong. On campus, there is a Hang Seng and a Bank of China. Students tend to start accounts at Hang Seng because they're available in every subway station. Hang Seng is majority owned by HSBC so you can get money at either Hang Sang or HSBC ATMs if you have accounts at either. Combine, they make up over 2/3 of Hong Kong's banks. Credit cards are not very accepted in HK and you may have to pay an additional 2% for using them."

Expenses (USD)

Airline ticket: about $1,500 USD

Independent travel: About $200US, round trip air, hotel, tour and food for most places in Asia except for South Korea, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam. Depends on the month and package you choose. About $8 round trip train ticket to go to Shenzhen, China.

Books: Roughtly $30/textbook

Entertainment: $5 movies, $1 or $2 for museums

Food: $50-70/wk

Local Transportation: $10-20/wk

Phone: Skype or Magic Jack
 

Living

"Each dorm organizes different events which would show a lot of local culture. They have BBQ by the seaside once in a while depending on the weather. Grab some friends and travel!"

"I spent most time with other international students. It was extremely easy as there were over 300 students came on exchange. Everyone was very open to meet new people and extremely diverse."

"The culture may be hard to get used to, especially coming from a Western culture. Many habits of the locals may come across as rude, even if they do not have the intention. Also, though most have a grasp of the English language, the English skills are far less than I would have expected considering Hong Kong was once under British rule. the food may also be hard to get used to. Otherwise, lifestyle is just as fast paced and rushed as in NYC, maybe even more so."

"The students were friendly and helpful. Like anyplace, the students varied. Many local students liked to work on their English skills and would befriend exchange students. However, some students were intimidated or nervous to use their English with a native speaker, making communication more difficult. Working with local students on group projects is not a good idea unless you speak Cantonese! The local students work dynamic in group projects was quite different and working with them was sometimes difficult due to the language barrier."

"Overall, I had a great experience in Hong Kong. I met some wonderful people that I'm sure I will keep in touch with and had many opportunities to travel through most of Asia. There were some negative experiences, but the only thing I really regret is not meeting more local students and getting to know them better. One of the biggest challenges was getting accustomed to the cultural differences in terms of simple courtesy and attitudes. It was also difficult to adjust to the teaching style and examinations. Hon Kong didn't turn out exactly the way I expected in some good ways and some not so good ways. Nevertheless, there is no equivalent experience to being a student studying abroad and I wouldn't ever change my decision to come to Hong Kong."

"I spent equal amounts of time with local and exchange students. It's much easier to hang out with local students if you know Cantonese because they're very shy. There are a lot of international students. It's really great because you end up hanging out with people from all over the world. Most of your classmates will be exchange students mostly because exchange students tend to be juniors and seniors who all need to take the same few advance electives."

"I spent most of my time with other students from other US universities and from foreign universities. It was easy though to meet local students because I would meet a handful from my classes and they were pretty helpful."

"Since I knew Cantonese, I sometimes hang out off campus with local students. Mostly, I'm with other exchange students. The majority of exchange students are shopping and eating in Shenzhen, China on weekends or going on 4 days vacation tours."

 

Housing


"Rooms were extremely small; however, it was up to Hong Kong standards. Meals were great, fresh Asian and Western cuisines were offered on campus at a cheap price."

"Provided by Housing Office; found out before I arrived."

"On-campus, fully furnished, dorm style"

"I lived in Hall 6- New Hall. It was brand new when I moved in so everything was new. They're dormitory style doubles or triples. The beds are much smaller in HK. Since I had a double, there are two beds, two desks, two shelves each person, a sink and one half of a closet per person. Each floor is made up of 2 wings, one side for girls and one side for boys. Each wing shares a common room with microwave, fridge and TV and a bathroom/shower room. Hall 6 is the best because everything is new. I really like Hall 6. It was very nice and clean. PG Hall 2 is extremely tiny. They were Graduate singles that were converted into doubles for undergraduates. They're all bunk beds with barely any moving around room. Hong Kong does not use a meal plan. I bought a rice cooker and cooked most of my food. I ate a few meals in the cafeteria- it was ok. I tend to eat out with the other exchange students on weekends."

"I loved my dorm. It was a newly built dorm so I basically enjoyed all the new facilities. It was a decent size and I had a roommate who was another exchange student. I was happy that I didn't need to purchase a meal plan because the food in Hong Kong was so cheap, I ended up eating out almost everyday. I was satisfied with the living conditions and I absolutely loved eating out."
 

Academics

"I would recommend the course International Management. I met lot of people through that class. It was a truly international experience with a professor who really allowed the class to interact."

"I like Global Marketing with Professor Dontoh. It was a fun and interesting course. I also like Professor Hung's East Asia and the West: Culture in Contact course because it teaches Asia history from a neutral standpoint as opposed to the usual “this is how the US saved the world” viewpoint. Business courses are in general easier in Hong Kong."

"Contemporary Chinese Politics was an awesome class. The professor was really experienced and gave us an unbiased view of Chinese politics-both the good and the ugly. The class I regretted taking was Corporate Strategy. You really don't learn too much in there-lots of people recommended the Negotiation class instead. Supposedly the professor was awesome. One comment on academics: although our classes are pass/fail, don't slack off. Later on you may decide to go to grad school, and they will ask to see your study abroad transcript."

"The professors were good. They taught American style business (using American companies as examples). The classes are much smaller than at Stern. The students are quieter. You get graded from A-F, with 10% A, 30% B and 60% C and below. The workload is lighter and the classes are easier but professors are much less likely to give out A's. Also, don't be surprise if you have exams scheduled at night or weekends."

"My favorite class was Behavioral Finance. The professor was really nice and the most notable thing about the class was that it was almost all exchange students. On the last day, we even took a group picture. The class was different from all the other finance classes I took and it was actually more interesting and less quantitative. All my other classes were ok and there isn't one class I wouldn't recommend. The class work was fair and the professors were understanding."

"I felt that the classes were structured the same way as classes are here at NYU. The grading system might have been slightly more lenient. I felt that the students were just as competitive but the work load might have been less demanding. There were just as much group work and exams."

What You Should Bring

"Medicine: like things for headache and diarrhea (you'll thank me for this one!)"

"Travel guides to the places you'd like to visit-all the English books, and especially the English travel guides in Hong Kong are VERY (I REPEAT, VERY) expensive (Between $25-$65 US dollars.)"

"Flip-flops, for the showers. They are pretty gross."

"A bathing suit and workout clothes. There's a great gym and a beautiful outdoors track."

Necessary Language Skills

"It would be nice to know Cantonese. The students there are very cliquey. But don't worry about it…and I'd honestly recommend not trying to learn Cantonese. Not only are there no good classes to take at all at the school or outside it-but it's also actually the most difficult language to learn in the world, with over 8 tones. Your time would be better spent traveling and experiencing the culture."

Culture Shock

"The food is very, very fatty and has lots of MSG. It will definitely make you sick after a while. I bought a rice cooker and prepared lots of my own food to keep sane."

"At many of the restaurants you go to, the menu won't be in English. It's best to always try to go with a local student in the crowd."

"It's really crowded in the city-don't let it get to you."

"It's been said that Hong Kong is the most materialistic city in the world-and I would agree with it. Everyone's favorite past-time is to "go shopping." You will hear that thousands of times while you're there."

"If you're an ethnic minority-especially if you're Black or if you have blond hair/blond eyes--prepare to be stared at in the poorer areas of the city."

"You will see many extremely poor and deformed people lying on the ground and begging for money. Nothing like NYC homeless, trust me. These people will be like nothing you've ever seen before. Do not give money to them-they are part of a very interesting crime network in Asia."

"Don't be offended if some of your close local buddies don't invite you to their homes. Hong Kong "flats" (as they call them) are extremely small and very private. It is very rare, and thus a great honor, to be invited to a HK home."

"Everyone has a cell phone, and you will need to buy one too since you won't have a phone in your dorm."

"Don't be too verbal about your dislike for the Chinese government, if that is your inclination. Remember that you are in a communist nation."

Restaurant Suggestions

"LKF! TST! Knutsford! SOHO!"

"You must go to Lan Kwai Fong, the street with all the bars. All the exchange students are always there. You also must visit the Peak; it's gorgeous up there. Other than that, I think going up the Great Wall of China was memorable too."

"Don't eat American! If you don't want MSG in your food, specify it. Learn to eat with chopsticks or you will starve. If you go to mainland China, remember that dog often appears on the menu."

Travel Tips

"I travelled a lot within Hong Kong island and nearby countries such as China and Vietnam. It was very easy since Hong Kong is the regional hub. Make sure you have the visas you need before you book anything."

"I traveled whenever I could. It was easy and cheap. I would tell students to plan out where they want to go and travel as soon as they get there. They should also apply for their student metro card for transportation."

"Don't sleep for the entire night before you take your flight. You don't want to be awake for 20 hours! It's much better to sleep for half of the flight and then read a good book and watch a few good movies for the other half. When you get to Hong Kong, don't sleep. Try to adjust as quickly as you can before class starts or you will be miserable when it does! The time difference is brutal."