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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) offers coursework in both English and Cantonese, and occasionally in Putonghua (Mandarin).
Chinese (Cantonese) language study is not required, but is recommended, as Cantonese is the primary language of Hong Kong. Former UCEAP students have commented that knowing just a little Cantonese made a big difference.
Undergraduate students at CUHK belong to one of six colleges, which provide accommodations, sports training, and informal learning opportunities. You will be assigned to one of these colleges along with all other exchange students; however, you may take courses from other colleges.
Graduate students take courses through the MBA program and are held to the requirements of the UCEAP Graduate or Professional Student Agreement (GSAG).
Minimum of 21 UC quarter units per semester; five courses. UCEAP students typically take 22.5 UC quarter units as most courses are 3 credits (4.5 UC quarter units).
Instructors usually distribute syllabi and reading lists at the beginning of the course. Group projects are common in business administration and other disciplines though they are not typical in the humanities.
While courses are taught in English, Cantonese is the language used in dormitories and on the street, and it may also be used in tutorials, labs, and studios. Some basic Cantonese will facilitate your interactions both in classes and in everyday activities. Lecturers may have accents that are difficult to understand. Before finalizing course enrollment, make sure you understand the main lecturer in each course.
You are expected to study independently, do the background reading, and incorporate class work and reading in your written papers. Some courses involve fieldwork, practical experience, or lab work. Student-centered inquiry and problem-based learning are encouraged. At the same time, be prepared for more memorization for exams than you may be accustomed to at UC; local teaching style emphasizes the repetition of lecture material on written quizzes and exams.
The schedule of courses, called the Teaching Timetable
, shows course offerings by term, including the course number, the maximum number students per course (quota), titles, and descriptions. The language of instruction is noted as follows.
- Courses taught in Putonghua and English (P&E) or Cantonese and English (C&E) have lectures and tutorials in Chinese but usually have texts in English.
- Courses listed as P#E or C#E will be taught in English if there are students in the class who do not understand Putonghua or Cantonese.
There may be schedule conflicts between regular CUHK courses and Chinese language courses.
If you have advanced Chinese (near-native) language skills you may take CUHK courses taught in Chinese.
Language instruction is provided through the New Asia, Yale-in-China Chinese Language Center (CLC). Cantonese and Putonghua courses are offered at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. If you take Chinese language, you must choose either 6 CUHK units (9.0 UC quarter units) of Cantonese or Putonghua courses; you cannot take both Cantonese and Putonghua during the same term. Refer to the CLC website
for additional information.
Course Numbers and Level
CUHK courses are numbered by year and level:
- 1000 to 1999: elementary courses assigned lower-division credit by UCEAP
- 2000 to 2999: intermediate courses are lower or upper division depending on the content (see note below)
- 3000 to 4999: advanced courses
- 5000 and above are graduate courses and are rarely open to undergraduates
Note on 2000-level courses: CUHK is moving from a three-year to a four-year curriculum. 2000-level courses were upper level under the three-year curriculum, but may now be lower-division under the four-year curriculum. For example, ECON2021 was previously Intermediate Microeconomic Theory and was upper division. CUHK has changed ECON2021 to Basic Microeconomics and it is now lower division. Intermediate Microeconomic Theory is now ECON3011. Be careful when selecting 2000-level courses if you plan to use them to fulfill requirements at UC.
UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying CUHK units by 1.5 (3 CUHK units equal 4.5 UC quarter units). Most 3-unit courses have 3 hours of lecture or 2 hours of lecture and 1 hour of tutorial per week.
You will complete a preliminary study plan with your CUHK application that is used for planning purposes by CUHK. You will receive additional course registration information with your acceptance letter from CUHK.
It may be possible for you to develop your own directed research or independent study project with a CUHK professor. Working under the supervision of a CUHK faculty member provides an excellent opportunity to practice language skills while contributing to ongoing research in various fields.
Independent research courses are listed in the CUHK course catalog under the 4000 course numbers, where available.
You may be able to participate in the following teaching programs:
- An English tutorial program with high school students in Zengcheng, a provincial town with a mixed rural-industrial economy located about 80 kilometers northeast of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. This is a two-day weekend trip where you teach English at a local middle school and visit with small children at a children’s center.
- An English tutorial program with high school students in Shantou, a rapidly developing Special Economic Zone along the eastern coast of the Guangdong Province. Shantou presents an intriguing mix of modern, progressive culture and deep-rooted traditional Chaozhou culture. This is a three-day weekend trip.
- Volunteer English teaching, mostly in English conversation classes, in Hong Kong high schools.
CUHK will provide information about these opportunities after arrival.
Due to immigration policy, exchange students (UCEAP), may not participate in internships in Hong Kong. The internship courses listed in the CUHK catalogs are not open to exchange students.
Grading at Hong Kong institutions reflects the rigorous academic standards. Grading curves are very rare. If you apply yourself and adapt to local practices and expectations, you can earn good grades. Be aware that grades assigned by Hong Kong instructors are likely to be lower than you are accustomed to receiving.
Your academic progress will be assessed by methods that include fieldwork, laboratory assignments, individual and group projects, quizzes, exams, and any other criteria relevant to the particular course. Course attendance and participation may also be considered.
Most exams are in short answer or essay format. Class participation may be especially important in seminars and in courses that have tutorial sessions. You are required to attend class regularly, take all exams given for courses in which you are enrolled, and submit all written work for each course to the satisfaction of the instructor.
Language course grades are usually based on periodic quizzes and tests, homework assignments, class performance, and a final oral and written exam. You must attend every class unless you receive permission to be absent. Classes are small and absences will affect both your personal progress and grade for the course.
Fall grades are usually available from mid-February to early March.
Spring grades are usually available from late July to early August.
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Travel to Your Host Country
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
There is a Hang Seng Bank branch in the CUHK John Fulton Center. The campus branch is open Monday through Saturday and provide normal banking services.
The Information and Technology Services Centre (ITSC) has a large system of PC and Mac computers for student use. The ITSC is open 24 hours a day. Each college also has a computer lab, and some departments have computer labs.
The Electronic Resources Center (ERC), located on the first floor of the Wu Chung Library in United College, is open to all students. There are PC and Mac computers through which you can use the available CD-ROMs. The computers also can be used to access the network of the University Library System and the Internet.
A computer account will be automatically created for you at no charge. All CUHK dorms and classrooms are wired for Internet access. There are also wireless LAN access points in many locations on campus.
You will have a mailbox in the Office of Academic Links. Mail and packages (under 10 kilograms) can be sent there for you. Mail is delivered each weekday.
The mailing address is:
International Asian Studies Programme
Office of Academic Links, Lady Ho Tung Hall
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong SAR
Housing accommodations are referred to as hostels at CUHK. For the first few days during the fall orientation program, students live in one of the specially designated orientation hostels. You will share a room and bathroom with other exchange students. These hostels are minimally furnished, include bed linens, and have card-operated air-conditioners. At the end of the orientation week, you will move from the orientation hostel to your permanent hostel in a shared double or triple room with local roommates. Spring students move into their assigned hostels upon arrival.
There are 21 undergraduate hostels. All hostels are situated on the CUHK campus in the New Territories within 45 minutes by public transportation from central Hong Kong.
Each hostel is independently administered. A resident authority in each hostel enforces the rules and provides support services. Although the regulations may slightly vary depending on your assigned hostel, all of them forbid smoking, alcoholic beverages, pets, and overnight visits, especially by someone of the opposite sex. Some hostels are coed and some unisex, in which the visiting hours of the opposite sex must be closely observed. The social climate and personal moral codes are generally conservative. You are expected to abide by all rules and regulations.
The university will determine hostel and roommate assignments. Assignments may be based on your affiliated faculty or college. Most local students are placed in hostels near their academic department so they will be conveniently located near classes.
All rooms are air-conditioned and modestly furnished. The bathrooms, showers, kitchen, and laundry facilities are shared. Hostels are wired for phone and Internet access.
You must provide your own pillows, linens, towels, and kitchen utensils. While most students purchase these items after arrival, you may want to bring a twin-size sheet set and a towel to get started. The rooms are cold during January and February, so you will want to purchase additional blankets or quilts at that time.
You will be responsible for cleaning your own room and the common rooms—the cleanliness of these areas will be determined by the cleanliness of the tenants. While the university’s facilities are generally modern and convenient, it takes time to adjust to the new living conditions. The hostels are kept in sanitary condition but may not be as clean and well furnished as facilities at UC.
You will complete a Student Accommodation Preference Form as part of your CUHK acceptance packet. A final notification about your housing placement will be sent via e-mail prior to departure.
Hostels cost approximately HK $5,000 per term for undergraduates. You are also responsible for a variety of housing-related fees, such as a refundable hostel deposit and air-conditioning at HK $1/hour for electricity (costs are subject to change). All housing fees are paid directly to CUHK. You will receive more information about housing cost, related fees, and payment methods via e-mail prior to departure.
The hostels usually open one to two days before orientation. You are encouraged to arrive during regular business hours on the Official Arrival Date so you can easily check into your room. If you arrive in Hong Kong before then, you may have to pay additional fees for your room for that time (pending availability) or arrange temporary accommodations. See the UCEAP program calendar for details. See the program calendar on the UCEAP website for details.
It is highly recommended that you live on campus to get the most out of your experience. However, you may seek permission to live off campus. UCEAP and CUHK do not provide assistance with off-campus housing. It would be your responsibility to research all options and understand the leasing terms.
If you are a graduate student you may live on campus and share a room with a local student or reserve a single room at a higher cost. In addition, you have the option to live off campus if you seek permission from CUHK.
“I strongly recommend living on campus. The cost of rent on campus was a fraction of the cost of rent off campus. The living proximity to classes and other university facilities proved to be very convenient." - UCEAP Student
You can do light cooking in the CUHK hostels; kitchens are furnished with a stove, boiler, microwave, and refrigerator. Be considerate when using the kitchens as the appliances must be shared with all of the students on the floor. You will need to supply your own pots and pans, and should store them in your room.
The residence associations sometimes organize cooking parties or evening snacks in the hostels, and you are encouraged to participate.
Since there are canteens located in every college, you will find it convenient to eat your meals outside of the hostels. The canteens serve a great variety of food at reasonable prices (dim sum, sandwiches, pasta, salads, stir-fry and rice, etc.). Meals on campus are affordable and range from HK $20–30.
If assigned to Morningside College, you will be required to join a meal plan and attend a certain number of communal dinners each week. The dining fee is about HK$2000 per semester.
A trip from CUHK to downtown Hong Kong takes about 45 minutes.
CUHK Shuttle Bus
If you have a valid CUHK student ID card you can use CUHK’s free shuttle bus service during the term. This shuttle is very convenient for getting around the tri-level campus with steep hills.
Students with Disabilities
University Health Centers
University health centers serve as primary care facilities and provide clinical services to all local and international students. The host university is not responsible for any charges incurred for visits with a private physician without a referral from a university health center physician.
CUHK has a University Health Centre on campus. Normal outpatient treatment (with the exception of dental care or travel inoculations) is provided. If hospitalization is required, students are referred to the local public hospital.
There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk. Stop and think. Inform yourself of risks you can encounter while traveling. Remain aware of your surroundings. Cell phones and Ipods can be distracting. When you remain aware of your surroundings your instinct will alert you to conditions or persons that are potentially unsafe. Trust your instincts.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.