As home to several world-class universities, Hong Kong often becomes one of the Asia’s main destinations of study for countless international students. One of them is Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) where Florensia took an opportunity to study at. During her exchange program there, she experienced what the best things that both the city and the university could offer. Follow her story here to draw some inspiration for planning your study abroad.
It was 10 years ago, when I first arrived in Hong Kong to join an exchange program in Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). I still remember the feeling both excitement and nervousness at the same time. It was my first time being away from my parents and close friends for months, without knowing a single Chinese word and ever having a foreign friend. There I was, starting my new adventure in Hong Kong, not knowing what to expect. These are 7 surprising things I found during my study at HKBU.
If you imagine that living in Hong Kong would be like a scene from Kung Fu Hustle movie, with lots of uncles and aunties speaking only Chinese, you would be wrong. Everyone in Hong Kong speaks English fluently as English is one of the official languages of Hong Kong.
Especially in HKBU, where there are 260+ student exchange partner universities from more than 30 countries, English is definitely the medium of instruction for formal classroom teaching. So, you do not need to be able to speak Chinese to be able to study in Hong Kong. As long as you are fluent in English, you will survive the university and daily life, and you will be able to make friends with people from all around the globe.
A city that is home to many people from many different backgrounds and cultures like Hong Kong will definitely offers a wide choice of food. You can find all kinds of variety such as Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Indonesian as well as Halal Food.
If you like to cook, you can also find a huge variety of ingredients. But for you who like kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and sambal (chili paste), it will be better if you bring some from your hometown, as Hong Kong might not offer the typical sweet soy sauce and sambal that you like.
Transport is Convenient
There are several ways to get around in Hong Kong, by taxi, tram, bus, ferry, and even by walking. Hong Kong, in fact, has one of the world’s safest and most efficient public transport system.
HKBU is in the heart of the Cosmopolitan City at Kowloon Tong, where there are a high-end residential district and many prestigious schools in the neighborhood. This government-funded tertiary institution is strategically located near Kowloon Tong Station MTR. You can travel to Central, Hong Kong island (central business district of Hong Kong), just within 30 minutes.
Travel Hot Spot and Asia’s Business Hub
Hong Kong is strategically located at the heart of Asia. It is very convenient to travel to neighboring countries, such as China, Taiwan, The Philippines, Japan, and Macau, from Hong Kong.
In addition, Hong Kong, as one of the world’s most popular destination, is Asia’s busiest aviation hub, as many people come and go through Hong Kong, either for business, leisure, or just quick stopover.
When you are studying in Hong Kong, please use your time wisely to explore the city and do exciting activities such as hiking at the Dragon’s Back and visit Hong Kong’s laid back outlying islands. You can also visit the neighboring countries on the weekend or during public holidays. Imagine that just within 1 hour you can visit another totally different country with different atmosphere and language. This is one of the things that I cannot experience back home in Indonesia, as overseas travel always need at least 2 hours.
Scholarships are Abundant
There are a number of scholarships and awards offered by the HKSAR Government, post-secondary institutions and other private or public organizations, to fund the non-local students’ education in Hong Kong.
Specifically for HKBU, it offers scholarships for outstanding international students of up to HK$ 170,000 (~IDR 288,000,000) per year per student. These amounts will be more than enough to cover the full tuition fees, accommodation and basic living expenses.
There are various majors in HKBU you can choose from, such as School of Business – that is amongst the world 1% university’s business school with triple international accreditation of AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS (Accounting, Entrepreneurship, e-Business Management), School of Chinese medicine, School of Communication – that is ranked among the world’s Top 10 Journalism School by Asian Correspondent, Faculty of Arts, Science, Social Science, and Academy of Visual Art.
Caring University and Cool Staffs
The other thing which surprised me during my exchange program in HKBU is the University staffs. They are all so cool and caring! The International Office host some monthly outings such as hiking, BBQ, global café. It also host international festival, where the students can get to know more about other cultures and meet other students.
The International Office also opens for consultation session during our stay in Campus. They are basically like my second family there.
Opportunity to Work in Hong Kong
International students are eligible to work in Hong Kong. They can stay for 12 months after graduation from a Hong Kong University without any restrictions in seeking jobs (http://www.studyinhongkong.edu.hk/en/after-graduation/work-in-hong-kong.php).
For you who are dreaming of working overseas, this Hong Kong experience can be a fantastic stepping stone. There are also many advantages of working in Hong Kong, as it is the financial center, business hub and getaway to China. Hong Kong offers a wealth of opportunities where you can meet other professionals and join expats community, with a high standard of living quality and earning potential (average earning for middle managers in Hong Kong is USD 267,000 / year or equivalent with IDR 300,000,000 / month) https://www.eca-international.com/news/july-2016/cost-of-total-expatriate-pay-package-in-hong-kong
This HKBU experience was one of the highlights of my life and I am a proud alumni of one of the Top 10 young Asian university (ranked by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) 2016/17).
For you who are interested in enrolling at HKBU for the 2018/19 Admission, you can find the online application at http://ar.hkbu.edu.hk/pros/
The Application starts from October 2017 onwards for the Academic Year of September to May. For more information, you can contact me at email@example.com or Jennifer Chan (firstname.lastname@example.org) from HKBU International Office.
Photos provided by author