Constantly celebrated for its fantastic fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, traditional themes and modern elements, Hong Kong has set itself aside as one of Asia’s powerful economic power houses– and is equally emerging as one of the continent’s leading cheap tuition study abroad destinations. It has three universities ranked in the top 50 globally and another three in the top 300 of the recent QS World University Rankings, this dynamic and diverse city-state has one of the world’s most impressive concentrations of globally ranked institutions – the number one reason behind its inclusion among the world’s top 15 cities for students.
How to Apply to Universities in Hong Kong
The academic year in Hong Kong consists of two semesters, one starts from early September and last until late December, while the second from mid-January to sometime in May. The university application deadlines vary across universities, but usually run between December and May, for programs beginning the following September.
Applicants for undergraduate courses are expected to have completed their high school education and achieved satisfactory results in their country’s exams (such as A-levels, Baccalaureate or SATs). Note that public universities in Hong Kong teach in English, and proof of proficiency in English will be expected of second language speakers; this means sitting for an exam such as IELTS or TOEFL.
Once you’ve been admitted, the university is expected to arrange a local sponsor for your visa application. You’ll then submit a visa application form, in addition to providing proof of identity, evidence of your academic qualifications and a bank statement (either of your own finances or those of someone who is offering to sponsor you).
It is possible the Immigration Department will request details of where you hope to live while studying in Hong Kong, so it’s important to arrange weeks in advance, either through the university or a local contact. Most visas have to be renewed every year; remember to do this before it expires (usually four weeks before the expiry date).
Tuition fees, living Costs
Note that tuition fees in Hong Kong vary based on the program and the institution. As of May 2014, the government website StudyinHongKong.edu.hk put international tuition fees for most programs to be between HK$90,000 and HK$265,000 per year (roughly. US$11,500 to 33,840). Another important cost is accommodation. The government recommends that you allow HK$15,000 to 45,000 per year (US$1,900 to 5,750) if you intend to stay in a university-owned student hostel, or HK$96,000 to 180,000 (US$12,260 to 23,000) for a private one-bedroom apartment. Additional expenses are put at around HK$50,000 (US$6,400) per year.
Universities in Hong Kong are interested in attracting and nurturing international students, and usually award scholarships to help support the most talented international applicants. Scholarships for international students are equally awarded by the Hong Kong government. Some of the popular government-funded schemes include:
- The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Scholarship, this scheme offers awards worth more than HK$80,000 (approx. US$10,300) per year for international students;
- The Self-financing Post-secondary Education Fund, provides support for those studying first-degree programs;
- And the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, which provides funding assistance for talented international PhD students through an annual stipend of HK$301,200 (approx. US$38,460) and an allowance for conference and research-related travel worth HK$12,600 (approx. US$1,600) per year, for up to three years.
Please note that international students hoping to study in Hong Kong should have at the back of their minds that there are restrictions on the types of part-time work they can undertake; however, note that study-related internships, part-time work on campus and summer vacation jobs are allowed and acceptable. Once your visa is approved you will receive a ‘No Objection Letter’ listing out the types of employment you can apply for while you study in Hong Kong. Why study in Hong Kong?
In this beautiful country, traditional Chinese culture and architecture rests alongside an iconic skyline of modern skyscrapers, a fantastic reminder of Hong Kong’s status as a leading hub for commerce, finance, trade and transportation. Hong Kong equally nurses ambitions of becoming a regional, and global hub for tertiary education, and is investing in initiatives geared towards increasing international student enrolments, while bringing diversity to the tertiary sector and nurturing its already strong culture of research and innovation.
Several universities in Hong Kong already have the kind of reputation required to attract students and top class scholars from around the world.Besides this, there are various attractions of life in Hong Kong – a multicultural and outward-looking society offering some of the most diversified experiences you would like to access in such a close knit space – and of course the wide use of English both within tertiary education and in everyday interactions, to make Hong Kong a fantastic choice for many local and international students seeking a relatively low tuition Asian study abroad destination. That said, anyone who plans to study in Hong Kong should definitely allow for a period of transition. Life in this fast-paced, action-packed metropolis is likely to feel like something of a whirlwind experience to begin with.