City University of Hong Kong

Exchange Report

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Hong Kong is a bustling city full of surprises. It is an ideal destination for those interested in history, culture, nightlife, cuisine, shopping or outdoor activity, and its excellent transportation network makes it easy to explore the city's wonders.

City University of Hong Kong is conveniently located just off Hong Kong Island and provides tremendous accommodation and activities for students on exchange.

Whether you need help deciding which school or city should be home to your exchange, or are wondering what to do once you get there, this report is designed to assist you, and convince you that an exchange in Hong Kong will be the time of your life!

Visa Process

Obtaining your Hong Kong visa is a very simple process. Prior to your departure UVic will outline what documentation is required. Submit the completed paperwork to the UVic exchange office and they will facilitate the transfer of documents with City U. A representative from City U will mail your Visa to your home address after it is processed. The representative’s name will most likely be Ada Kwok. Ada was very helpful to all the exchange students and delivers quick responses for any questions you may have.


City University offers a healthy selection of UVic approved courses, but be aware that the majority of these courses stipulate that students must not be absent for more than three classes, including illness with a doctor’s note.

Below are our personal impressions and recommendations for the courses we took.

  • Chinese Business Decision Making: Recommended! In this course you will analyze Chinese business practices from social, political and economic perspectives. The course also covers the opportunities and risks associated with doing business in China. The instructor for this course, Eric Lau, has quite a personality and each lecture is filled with stories of his personal experiences doing business in China, often told in third person. Participation is a huge component of this class, with the rest of the marks being made up by a large group project and a take home final exam.

  • Cross Cultural Negotiations: Recommended! In this course you will cover both the theory and practice of negotiating effectively. The course also covers the features of different cultures, and then blends each concept to teach you how to negotiate across cultures. This course has many in-class exercises, and a group project that requires you to perform a real-world cross-cultural negotiation. The final exam is done in class prior to the final examination period.

  • Economic Strategy and Game Theory: Avoid! The material in this course could be very interesting, but the way it is presented at City U makes it a painful experience. The required textbook for the class is not actually available in Hong Kong and has to be ordered through Amazon, and it is assumed that you already have a solid understanding of calculus and economic concepts. The course is intended for fourth year or even graduate economics students, and is not very accommodating for the concerns of students who don't fit that profile.

  • Mandarin: Recommended! In this course you will gain a basic knowledge of both written and spoken Mandarin, including Chinese characters and the phonetic Pinyin. Even Hong Kong locals will agree that it is more beneficial to take Mandarin over Cantonese, and what you learn in this class will be especially helpful if you choose to make a trip over to China's mainland. There are three written quizzes in this class, of which only the top two are counted, and an in-class final that includes both a written and verbal component.

  • Security Analysis & Mergers and Acquisitions: Recommended! Both are challenging courses tailored more to post graduate students, but they are still informative and enjoyable, especially for students with an interest in banking.

  • Corporate Finance II: Recommended! This is a challenging course that provides a good foundation for students interested in banking. The course focuses on financial statement analysis and valuation techniques and includes many real world examples and current cases.

  • Cantonese: Recommended! The content in this course is very beneficial for everyday Cantonese use. This course only focuses on spoken Cantonese with some emphasis on phonetic romanization rather than Chinese characters. Grading is fair and based on midterm and final exams and presentations.

Costs and Expenses

The current exchange rate between Hong Kong and Canada is approximately 7 HKD to 1 CDN. The prices in Hong Kong range from incredibly cheap to very expensive, and are highly dependent on the area you are in. If you are looking for cheap souvenirs or knock-off electronics head to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok and feel free to bargain. If you are looking for a more high class shopping experience, venture to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and Hong Kong Island, or even the Festival Walk mall right beside campus.

Here are a few examples of what you might pay for common purchases:

Orientation and Services

Orientation week is well organized by the College of Business's International Student Services and the Exchange Student Club Committee.

Try to arrive at the airport during the designated times. There will be a student there to greet and take you to the shuttle bus to campus.

During the orientation week you are given a tour of the school and key campus facilities. The Exchange Committee will also organize shopping trips to IKEA and mobile shops for purchasing SIM cards.

Many unofficial events and activities are organized by past and current students during the first 2 weeks . The organized day trips are highly recommended as this is where you will meet other exchange students. Day trips offer you the opportunity to go around Hong Kong's key attractions such as the Big Buddha, the Peak, and Lantau Island.


If you are accepted into student residence at City University, you will be living in either a single bed dorm, two bed dorm, or three person apartment. Without a doctor's note you will not get a single room, so if you need one for medical reasons, or really just don't want a roommate, make sure you include such a note with your residence application.

There are over 10 student residence halls at City U and all are located a short walk from the academic buildings and all contain similar amenities. Each room shares a bathroom with one other room and every floor has its own common area with a kitchen and seating.

Halls also have laundry services, a computer room, and 24-hour security. All guests have to be signed in and out of your hall and there is a strictly enforced 12pm curfew for all visitors.

Campus Facilities

Canteens: The City University campus has three large canteens, located in Academic buildings 1, 2, and 3. The student residence area has its own small cafeteria called the Homey Kitchen. City U also has a few coffee shop style cafes called Delifrance and a convenience store style shop called CutPrice.

City University's library is located on the bottom floor of the Academic 1 building. This library is nowhere near the size of UVic's, but it does contain study rooms, computers, and a printing center. There are plenty of tables and computer areas in each of the Academic buildings where students can study.

Bookstore: City University's bookstore is also located on the bottom floor of Academic 1, just across from the library.

ATM: There is a 24-hour ATM located on campus beside the library and several other ATMs located within Festival Walk.

Fitness: Students wishing to use the fitness room at City U are required to take a 1 hour course on proper gym usage during the first few weeks of the semester. Sign-up for this course is done within the City U sports complex, which is located between Academic 1 and Academic 2. The sports complex offers badminton, squash, table tennis and fitness rooms. Any usage of the facilities must be reserved in advance, but drop-ins can be accommodated if space is available.

There is also an outdoor basketball court near the residence area, and a swimming pool located beside Academic 2.

The Joint Sports Center, which is shared between a few universities and located just down the road, contains tennis courts, a running track, and a soccer field.

Events and Recreation

There are plenty of events to attend over the semester organized by various student groups through Facebook.

There is an area called Lan Kwai Fung (about a 25 minute MTR ride from campus) where students from all of the Hong Kong universities party. There is also a local bar called Billy Boozers that CityU students go to on Mondays.

Our group of friends enjoyed hiking and managed to cover a lot of trails in the four months we were abroad. One of the best hikes was to the Infinity Pool, which only takes an hour from the drop off point, but is challenging to locate due to the lack of signage. It is difficult to find any websites that provide accurate directions so it’s best to ask other exchange students or locals how to get there.

Lion’s Rock is another great hike that allows you to overlook Hong Kong and is close to campus.

Dragon’s Back is a longer hike but ends at Big Wave Beach which is popular for surfing.

For a fairly cheap weekend, camping on the beach is another available activity. A popular spot to do this is an area called Sai Kung. It requires two different buses to get there and it is best done in October when the weather isn’t too hot at night.

Tsim Sha Tsui is another popular area for students. There is a bar district here along with many shops and restaurants to go to.

Travelling Opportunities

Hong Kong is the perfect travel hub. A large selection of airlines fly through the airport and flights to countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan are less than 3 hours.

Popular destinations include Macau which is viewed as the Las Vegas of Asia and is a short ferry ride from Hong Kong.

Shenzhen is also close to Hong Kong and is a cheap way to access China's Mainland as the MTR goes to the Shenzhen station.

Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines are all fantastic countries to visit. These countries have large cultural differences from Hong Kong and offer cheap food and beverages.

Our group went to the city of Hanoi in Vietnam and also ventured to Ha Long Bay and Sapa. These were ‘must do’s’ as we were able to drive Vespa’s in Sapa and got to kayak in Ha Long Bay.

In Bangkok there is an abundance of touristy activities as well as cultural sites which makes it a very interesting city to see.

In the Philippines we went to an island off of Cebu called Malpascua. The trip was great, however, a week after our trip a typhoon destroyed the island and it is uncertain how long it will take to rebuild.


Hong Kong is a very safe city to live in. We did get scammed by a taxi once but that was the worst thing that happened to us. It is always advisable to travel in groups whenever you are in a foreign city and remain wary of pick pocketing. Although none of the UVic students ran into problems, it is a very crowded place and can easily happen if you are not cautious.

What to Bring

Use your best judgement when deciding what to pack for your exchange. The weather in Hong Kong is very hot and humid during September and October, but gradually cools off to a winter temperature similar to that in Victoria. Be considerate of the fact that it is often windy and rainy in Hong Kong, and try to anticipate what might be required for the places you plan to travel.

Here are a few things that will be helpful to have:

  • Several passport photos
  • Medication and painkillers such as Tylenol and Advil
  • Drivers license or other form of ID
  • Extra contact lenses

Language and Culture

Most Hong Kong residents speak english so language barriers are not an issue. Hong Kong's official languages are English and Cantonese. Everyday communication is conducted in Cantonese. Given the large population of mainland Chinese in the city, mandarin is also used in certain situations.

Hong Kong is highly westernized and offers plenty of western food and activities. Hong Kong people are always rushing from one place to another, but even so, people are friendly and more than willing to stop and help answer your questions. One thing to note, however, is that Hong Kong is densely populated and residents are accustomed to pushing and shoving others without apologizing, so don't take it personally!

Everything in Hong Kong is efficient and convenient. You can go to 7-Eleven to pay your phone bills and most purchases can be made with the octopus card. The student octopus card also gives 50% discount on transportation fares and can be applied for during orientation week.

Co-op Opportunites

The International Office does not provide assistance searching for co-ops. However, there are plenty of co-op information sessions and professional panels hosted at City U throughout the semester.

If you are interested in working in Hong Kong we recommend starting early and getting in touch with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. The Chamber hosts frequent networking events for students and young professionals


Looking for more information?

Feel free to contact us!
Devan Chiappetta McCannel
Lillian Leong
Steve Atkinson