University of Hong Kong: Student Feedback

Student Profile

Ran You

Highlight of my semester abroad:
You come to know many new friends who live in every part of the world and who have very different experiences and opinions from you. 

Who I spent most of my time with abroad:
International students, mainland students. It's easy to talk to/get to know local students individually. However, hard to get into their circle because they talk to each other in Cantonese.  

Something about me you might be interested to know:
I'm an international student from Asia so I spent more time with the local community. My schedule in HKU is more like a schedule for local students than that of exchange students.

What I would say to students considering participating in IBEX:
Compared to HKUST, HKU is less focused on business. However, in many other fields HKU is a way better school than HKUST. If you really want to know about the local culture and learn things like Chinese literature, HKU is a great place. Plus, HKU is in the city and is very close to LKF and Central.

Contact me about IBEX HKU:
Ran You -

Additional Student Profiles

Name: Huiwen Li

Student Profile 

Huiwen Li

Highlight of my semester abroad:
Meeting a lot of local students and experiencing the campus life - HKU is also in the center of everything!

The HKU campus is...
Very big and interactive and dorm culture is really active.

You might be interested to know:
I love travelling. I have been to Kenya, Guatemala, Italy, Chile, and many more countries!

Student Feedback


Airline ticket to/from IBEX site: $800 - $1,500 USD
Housing: $1,000 - $1,500 USD/semester
Food: $40 - $60 USD/week
Local Transportation: $150 - $200 USD/semester
Books: $100 USD/semester
Entertainment: $50/week
Phone Calls: $50 - $100 USD/semester

"I only used Skype to call home. Calling from Skype account to Skype account is free, and to call regular U.S. phones is about $0.02 per minute."


"I opened a Citibank account in HK. When you also have a Citibank account in the U.S., you can do the global transfer for money free of charge with a good exchange rate."

"I continued to use my checking account, paying international fees which were 1% of ATM withdrawals."

"If students would like to avoid these fees or be able to deposit money while abroad, open an account with a bank like HSBC which is located both in New York and Hong Kong."


"Residence hall- furnished, dormitory style. No meal plan. Arrangements made through IBEX partner school. I was satisfied with the living arrangements-- would definitely recommend future HKU IBEXers to stay in the Residential Colleges (Jockey Club Village III)."

"Before my departure to HKU, I applied for housing and placed my request for multiple on-campus housings.  However, I was placed off-campus at Patrick Manson where it is really far from the campus and students and the dorm is only for exchange students. I feel like there isn't really a system for housing placement. Exchange students just get the last options. After I arrived at HKU, I realized that HKU dorms have a really strict culture in which students in on-campus dorms need to participate in a lot of university activities in order to stay at the dorm."

"Residence Hall. I was satisfied. The IBEX partner school arranged it. However, HKU has a particular hall culture that should be explained: lack of studying, fraternity-like events until 3-4am in the morning, no study room whatsoever."

"I lived in Simon K.Y. Lee Hall, located on the west end of campus. Along with Sire Hall, it was one of only two halls located directly on campus, whereas the others are about a ten to fifteen minute walk away."

"The dorm room was basic, relatively small, but comfortable. It had two beds with drawers underneath, two desks - each with three shelves, and two closets with drawers underneath. Bathrooms are shared at the end of the hall, but are kept very clean."

"Dining halls are located in several of the residence halls, including a few on campus. The selection is wide and the meals are very cheap. Also in Simon K.Y. Lee Hal, there are kitchens on each residence floor, though this is not the case in all the residences."

"Near campus there is a large supermarket called Wellcome, where you can buy almost anything you can buy in a regular American supermarket."


"Quantitative classes tended to be more difficult and qualitative classes tended to be easier."

"The workload is less compared to Stern classes and there's a lot of teamwork."

"The grading system is definitely much tougher than Stern, but also incredibly more ambiguous. Nobody knows any of their grades until the final grades come out. The quality of instruction is definitely below Stern. 1/5 of my professors would actually have been 'Stern material'."

"Academic grading standards are less difficult than Stern's, though coursework and quality are comparable. However this can vary among instructors."

Course Registration

"During the online application process, you will be asked to select courses from a lit of choices on the school's website. However, this process is very flexible once you arrive there, as you can meet with an adviser from the Faculty of Business and Economics to discuss courses. You will also have about two weeks from the time classes start to change your classes online - similar to the process at Stern."

"The whole registration process is very last minute. When we had issues we couldn't talk to the HKU registration staff butinstead we had to write to them.  The email response would only come a few days later and only a limited amount of classes are open."

"Some classes were confirmed prior to arrival, but if there were any mistakes or the class was full, you had to go through a lengthy and tedious process of submitting a hand-written paper form. The faculty then had to approve it... which took a really long and stressful time as they had to manually do everything within a 2 week add/drop period."

Course Recommendations

"Intro to Social Entrepreneurship taught by Elsie Chien. The teacher had a clear grasp of teaching in English and had a lot of global as well as local insights on social enterprise. She was also very interactive and assigned interactive & engaging group projects. I would not recommend the Economics classes."

"My favorite class was Change Management with Derek Man. It was a small classroom, and the professor was very serious and attentive. Many of the finance classes are quite boring and lackluster to attend in class: the processors are not enthusiastic. However, the TA's for the classes are INCREDIBLY responsive and helpful, spending hours helping myself and other students prep for exams. I would not recommend Creativity and Business Innovation with Ali Farhoomand, or Operations Management with Avi Taheri."

"Governing China was a really fascinating course about Chinese politics - both history and contemporary issues - from a notable professor who has studied in the U.S."

Student Life

"Residence hall life will vary based on who your roommate is as well as what other students are on your floor. My roommate was a very curious student from Mainland China, who was a lot of fun to talk with and go out with. At the end of the semester I visited his hometown of Wuhan in central China for a couple of days."

"Student life is very spirited within each residence hall. Athletic teams are based on each hall and competitions are held between each hall. There are also a variety of well advertised social and cultural gatherings and guest speakers on campus."

"It was easy for me to meet HK students because I spoke Cantonese, but others felt incredibly ostracized. I had a good mix of international, American, and HK friends."

"It can be difficult to get to know some of the local students if you don't know Cantonese. However, even though I did not know the language, they were very friendly and helpful."

Restaurants, Shopping, Must-See Sites

"Hiking - Dragon's Back Trail, Infinity Pool, Sai Kung Cliff Diving; Lamma Island; Mana Fast Slow Food (mediterranean, healthy food) in Soho"

"Most bars and clubs are located in either Lan Kwai Fong or Wan Chai."

"Lan Kwai Fong is, in my opinion, cleaner and more lively with a ton of international travelers and students. D'Aguilar Street is the main street with bars up and down both sides."

"Soho is near Lan Kwai and has a lot of great international restaurants. Soho Spice was my favorite. Wan Chai is a little seedier, but still very safe and a lot of fun to go out."

Travel Tips

"HK has a lot of cheap air tickets such as HK Express. Traveling to Malaysia and Thailand using such websites would only cost around $200."

"Plan well, meet other people, participate in any social media related to exchange students wanting to travel."

"The University of Hong Kong is located in the heart of Hong Kong and this makes the city much more accessible."

"Traveling is definitely encouraged as Hong Kong is centrally located to both East Asian and Southeast Asian countries."

"Pack lightly. Take only what you need. You can buy a lot of things once you get there for relatively cheap."

"To save time and money, determine where you want to go at the beginning of the semester, then go to the Bank Centre in Mong Kok where there are two floors of travel agencies that compete for discount business. If you plan ahead you can get package deals, which include airfare and hotel for competitive rates."

"Out of all the places I traveled in Asia, Hong Kong was my favorite. It offers the greatest diversity of cultures and experiences and is a great introduction for anyone who has never been to Asia."

"Travel and be open to new experiences. Some of the first friends I met were in a grocery store. It's a matter of staying open and getting outside your comfort zone."

Career Development

"I signed up for CEDARS career mailing list. Students can email HKU CEDARS to join the mailing list or go to the office for job information."

"HKU had emails and also many posters about career activities. There were mostly informal recruitment talks."

Culture Shock

"Though Hong Kong is still a premier international city where you can get by in English, it can still be tough to communicate. Be prepared for some frustration, but it is minor compared to all of the benefits of the experience."

"It is difficult to get to know the local students because of the language barrier. Though classes are held in English, students speak Cantonese to each other outside of the classroom. Students can read and write English, but their spoken English can vary widely."

"The best part of the experience was meeting so many different people and seeing so many new and exciting things."