Academic Programs
Hong Kong Identity Card
Working in HK
Hong Kong Social, Culture & Geographical Environment
1. Academic Programs
Are academic programs organized in a similar manner as in North American Institutions?
Yes, academic programs are very similar to the education system in North America. All undergraduate programs follow a 2 semester calendar that runs from 1 September to mid-Dec & Mid January to Mid-May, respectively for Fall & Spring terms. Exchange students are free to depart after finishing final exams.
Will there be any academic areas which I will be excluded?
Yes, there are some subjects which overseas students are advised not to take primarily on the basis of the medium of language instruction. Some courses are constructed in Cantonese with corresponding reading materials.
How do pre-requisites listed in the Calendar apply to Exchange-In Students?
Generally, pre-requisites are not strictly or mechanically applied, but transcripts/grade reports are examined to ensure suitability for your selected courses.
2. Housing & Meals
Are accommodations segregated according to sex or is it Co-Ed?
Housing is co-ed, except of course by room assignment.
How are the rooms like?
Most rooms are doubles. Many of the rooms have spectacular views overlooking Clearwater Bay. The rooms are air conditioned and furnished with desks, chairs, bookshelves, beds (pillows, linens, and towels are not provided) and closet space. Common facilities include bathrooms, showers, TV rooms, pantries with microwave ovens, telephones, and coin operated washing machine & dryers.
Is there Internet access in the rooms?
All rooms are wired for LAN internet access via the university network.
Can I use my 110-120v electrical appliances from the US or other countries?
No, Electrical voltage in HK is 220-240v. Small appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, etc., can be purchased in HK after your arrival. If you bring such appliances, be sure they are 220-240 adaptable.
3. Hong Kong Identity Card
I was born in Hong Kong & I have a HK ID card, do I still need to apply for a student visa?

If you have a HK permanent identify card, then you will not need to apply for a student visa to study in HK. To check if you have permanent identity status, look in the row under the date of birth on your HKID card. There should be a series of 4 alphabetical letters (Sometimes, preceding the letters there are three stars ' *** ' ). If the first letter is an 'A'xxx, this indicates permanent identity. Another sure-fire method to check is if you refer to the back of the HK ID card and it'll indicate 'Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card'.

There are other circumstances in which the student may not need a student visa to study in HK such as if s/he has a valid HK dependent visa in the passport, and if on the HKID card, in the row under DOB, the first letter of the alphabetical series is a 'R' or 'U'. Under these circumstances, it is best to contact HK Immigrations inquiry hotline and ask them directly whether a student visa is necessary: (852) 2824-6111.

In any other circumstances, the student will need to apply for a student visa to study in HK. For more info, directly refer to the HK Immigrations website:

While studying in Hong Kong can I apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card?

Any non-local student, without a HKID card, 11 years of age or above who intends to stay in Hong Kong for a period exceeding 180 DAYS can apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) from the Registration of Persons Office of Immigration Department within 30 days of arrival at:

Hong Kong - 8/F Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai
Tel: (852) 2824-6111

Kowloon - 3/F Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices
303 Cheung Sha Wan Road
Tel: (852) 21507-933

4. Working in HK
While studying for the exchange semester, can I work in Hong Kong?

Most non-local students, without a HKID card, will need to apply for a student visa to study in Hong Kong. A successful student visa applicant is subject to the condition that he/she shall not take employment, whether paid or unpaid, during their exchange studies. Please refer to the Guidance Notes of ID995A on the HK Immigration's website for more details. 

As well, foreigners need a working visa, sponsored by an employer, to work in Hong Kong.

5. Hong Kong Social, Culture & Geographical Environment
What is the general nature of the population of Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a city where East meets West. The population is more than 7 million. The majority of the population in Hong Kong is ethnically Chinese, through there is also a large expatriate community. The official language of Hong Kong include both English & Chinese. While English is commonly used as an official language and is almost always employed in business and government dealings, Cantonese is the dialect most often heard in the streets of Hong Kong. Much of the population of Hong Kong speak Mandarin and the number of Mandarin speakers is now on the rise.
Will there be any opportunities for 1st-hand cultural experiences while I am in Hong Kong?
Yes, Hong Kong is culturally an Asian city with strong roots in the Chinese tradition. Depending on the semester you will be attending HKUST, there will be many major festivals where you'll be able to experience Chinese culture 1st hand. (Chinese Lunar New year, Mid-Autumn's Festival, etc.)
Are there any restrictions on religion or free speech in Hong Kong?
No, there are no restrictions on religion or free speech here. After over 150 years of British colonial administration, Hong Kong was restored to the Peoples Republic of China on 1 July 1997 and is now classified as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Hong Kong maintains the social, economic, & judicial systems developed over the past years in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration. All basic freedoms remain intact.
What are the predominant features of HK terrain?
HK is a mountainous coastal region in South China. It is divided into 4 major areas: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, New Territories, & the Outlying Islands (approx. 235 isles). Certain urban areas of HK are among the most densely populated in the world.