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MBA Studies, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (CUHK)

- Fall

 
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.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
 

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
 
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
 
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
 
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
 
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
 

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Michelle Hertig
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail: mhertig@eap.ucop.edu
 
Operations Specialist
May Pothongsunun
Phone: (805) 893-6152; E-mail: mpothongsunun@eap.ucop.edu
 
Academic Specialist
Eva Bilandzia
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail: ebilandzia@eap.ucop.edu
 
Student Finance Accountant
Rachel Wilson 
Phone: (805) 893-5927; E-mail: studentfinance@eap.ucop.edu
 
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
 
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
 
 

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
 
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Hong Kong page.
 

Study Center Abroad

Once abroad, a host university faculty or staff member representing UCEAP will be your first point of contact for all matters. Among other things, the designated person provides support with academic matters, program logistics, and personal issues.
 
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) program is administered by a UCEAP Liaison Officer who is primarily responsible for academic advising. The Office of Academic Links and the International Asian Studies Programme provide additional support for all international students at CUHK. 
 
It is critical that you understand the role of each person involved with program, logistic, and academic issues, and remember to communicate your concerns with all parties (both in Hong Kong and at UC).
 
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Mr. Daniel Chan, Program Associate
Office of Academic Links
i-Center, Yasumoto International Academic Park 
Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong
 
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-852) 3943-4002
Phone (calling from Hong Kong): 3943-4002
 
 

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code .......... 011  (dial this to call from the U.S.)
 
Hong Kong country code ........852
 

Approximate Time Difference

16 hours
 
Academic Information
Program Overview
The MBA Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong is on a quarter system.  Undergraduate programs are on the semester system so undergraduate courses are not open to graduate students with the exception of Chinese language study.
 
The MBA program offers business and management coursework. All courses are taught in English with the exception of some elective courses.

Requirements

Graduate students take courses through the MBA program and are held to the requirements of the UCEAP Graduate or Professional Student Agreement (GSAG).
 
Most MBA courses are 3 credits (4 UC quarter units); most MBA students do 3 or 4 courses. 
 
Academic Culture
​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.
 
Course Information
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.

Language Study

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. Refer to the CLC website for additional information.

Course Registration

Universities in Hong Kong are in the process of changing from a three-year to a four-year degree structure. This is limiting course availability in many departments. UCEAP recommends being flexible and having several back-up courses when doing course selection.
 
Course registration procedures vary among the different schools and departments. You will do preregistration with your host institution as part of your predeparture checklist and final registration after arrival. For some departments registration is online and is fairly simple; others require that you go to the department in person and request approval to take the course. Be patient with the registration procedures and seek assistance from the Study Center if needed.
 
The add/drop period typically takes place the first two weeks of the term. It is very important to attend all classes you may want to take during this time to see if the classes are suitable for you (i.e., you understand the lecturer, the course is taught completely in English, there are no time conflicts, you meet the prerequisites, etc.).
 
You will also register with UCEAP by completing your MyEAP Study List. Instructions will be provided after arrival.
 
Grades
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.
 
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 
Internships
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.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as Lonely Planet are excellent resources.
 
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals.
 
You will also need to understand the local culture and history. These sources will help you prepare before departure.
 

Recommended Websites

 
Cultural Adjustments
The line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is hard to draw in Hong Kong. It can be difficult to navigate gracefully amidst Hong Kong’s mixture of Chinese and Western customs. Chinese people expect Westerners to follow what they understand as Western ways. Even students who try to adapt to local ways have a hard time because most people are too polite to admit that someone else’s conduct or dress is conspicuous or offensive, except when it causes embarrassment or misunderstanding. Be sensitive to local mores. Your curiosity and willingness to adapt will be welcomed by new Chinese friends, who will appreciate the respect you show them and their culture.
 
A certain code of conduct predominates and you need to be aware of the following aspects of that code, both on and off campus:
 
  • If you are seen frequently with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you will be the subject of common gossip. If a friend of the opposite sex visits you from the U.S., some people may assume you have an intimate relationship. Note that most residence halls in Hong Kong have restrictions for visitors of the opposite sex. You are expected to obey these regulations.
     
  • Chinese people do not greet each other by kissing or hugging. This common Western custom creates discomfort among Chinese, even if they are only observers. Most people restrict physical contact to a brief handshake. On the other hand, physical contact between members of the same sex is common, and you will frequently see women walking arm-in ­arm or a man with an arm around a male friend’s shoulder.
     
  • Although some people in Hong Kong speak loudly, calling loudly to someone at a distance is considered impolite. Similarly, loud laughter or shouting in public places attracts unwanted attention.
     
  • Ordinarily, the Chinese do not quibble over small amounts of money when in a restaurant or taking public transportation, and consider the American habit of splitting every expense as somewhat discourteous. When out in large groups, each member will usually pay his or her own way. If, on occasion, someone offers to treat, it is a common courtesy to reciprocate the generosity later.
 
Social Conduct

Drugs and Alcohol

The Hong Kong government deals harshly with foreign students who are caught in possession of drugs. Your status as a foreign citizen does not provide exemption from Hong Kong penalties for the possession and use of drugs. Hong Kong drug laws are extremely severe. Possession of marijuana is treated as a serious offense.
 
Never feel pressured to drink. Being under the influence of alcohol is the single biggest risk to your safety while here, as it can lead you to make poor decisions.
 
If you are of legal age and choose to drink, you are advised to use good judgment; do not display any intoxicated behavior in public places. If you abuse alcohol, behave in a disorderly manner, or cause problems for your housing or host university, you will face disciplinary action by UCEAP.
 

Relationships

Differing attitudes towards romantic relationships can complicate your social life. Young Westerners tend to form both casual and intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex more rapidly. While Westerners often have several girlfriends or boyfriends before settling down and marrying, the ideal among some Chinese remains to fall in love once, with courtship leading to marriage. Chinese are thus much more cautious about love and tend to view the Western approach to romance as irresponsible.
 
Problems occasionally arise when Chinese friends misinterpret gestures of friendship as signs of romantic interest. Many actions considered perfectly commonplace in the U.S., such as occasional outings or meetings for lunch, good-natured teasing, casual physical contact beyond shaking hands, invitation to tea after a lecture, all without the absolving presence of a third or fourth person, are fraught with meaning to many Chinese people.
 
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

Official UCEAP Start Date

Pre-Program Travel

Do not plan to travel outside of the U.S. after finals at UC and before the program begins. Each year, the host universities send acceptance letters and visa documents on different dates, sometimes only a short time before the program’s Official Start Date. You need to be in the U.S. to receive the materials.
 

Travel to the Host University

The dates of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred for independent travel arrangements.
In order to keep informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information.
 
Failure to arrive before the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Section 10). More detailed arrival information and directions to the check-in point are provided in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist online.
 
If you plan to arrive in Hong Kong early you will need to make your own hotel reservations. UCEAP cannot make arrangements for you to move into the dormitory earlier than the established move-in date.
Not all taxi drivers are familiar with the campus. Look up the location of your destination ahead of time. Provide the driver with the address and have a map with you to show the driver exactly where you want to go.

On-site Orientation

After arrival you will participate in mandatory on-site orientations organized by your host university that cover a variety of topics. Orientations vary by location, but most include a welcome dinner, lunch, or other get-together and various outings to the local neighborhoods.
 
The orientations cover such topics as:
  • Safety
  • Money matters
  • Course registration for both your host institution and MyEAP
  • Academic policies (unit requirements, course loads, etc.)
  • Introductions to important offices and people
 You are expected to attend and actively participate in all orientation events. ​
 
"The activities during the orientation were very helpful and well planned. I was able to explore the campus and adjust to the culture before school started." - UCEAP Student​
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
There is no UCEAP group flight to Hong Kong. You are responsible for making your own flight arrangements. Even if you are on full financial aid, you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your plane ticket. The Financial Aid Office will not make reservations or payments for you. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket (standby tickets are not appropriate) and to confirm your flight schedule at least two weeks before your departure date. When traveling always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
 
It is recommended that you arrive during regular business hours.
 
Detailed arrival instructions are provided in your UCEAP online Predeparture Checklist.
 

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Student Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Student Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
 
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Travel Documents
Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 
You must carry at all times your Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) if you have one, or a photocopy of your passport plus your local university student ID card. Police officers make occasional checks and you may be fined if you fail to produce required identification.
 

Hong Kong Student Visa

A visa is an endorsement issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department that grants you permission to enter and reside in Hong Kong for the purpose of study.
 
Unless you have a valid Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID), you must apply for a student visa. The host university will serve as a local sponsor and work with the Hong Kong Immigration Department on your behalf. According to Hong Kong immigration regulations, student visas cannot be issued for nationals from Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal, or Vietnam. If you are a citizen of any of these countries, contact UCEAP immediately.
 
The student visa is a self-adhesive label that will be placed on an empty page in your passport. The visa is valid for you to use one time as a single entry into Hong Kong on or before the date indicated.
 
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, ensure that the Immigration Officer stamps your visa to activate it. With an activated student visa and valid U.S. passport you may leave and reenter Hong Kong anytime before the expiration date as long as you remain in good standing with your host university.
 
If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact the Hong Kong Immigration Department to determine applicable travel restrictions and whether or not you will need supplementary documents for your visa application and/or reentry documents. Students holding a passport from China (PRC) will need to apply for an “Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao” (EEP). Taiwan ROC citizens are required to apply for a multiple-reentry visa if they plan to leave Hong Kong for any reason and return to continue your studies.
 

Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID)

An HKID is proof of Hong Kong residency and is an official identity document issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
 
If you maintain the right to reside in Hong Kong, clear immigration with your Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) and passport. You will not need a visa. Obtain further information through the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
 
If you are enrolled for the full academic year and maintain a valid student visa, apply for a temporary HKID. Host university staff will provide guidance.
 
You will not be eligible for a temporary HKID if you stay in Hong Kong for less than 180 days (i.e., for one term only).
 

Student ID Cards

Be sure to take extra passport-sized photos to Hong Kong, as these will be needed for the student ID card issued by the host university.
 

U.S. Travel Registration

As soon as you know your flight plans prior to departure, register online with the U.S. Department of State. Registration is free and allows for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to be a source of assistance and information in case of difficulty or an emergency while traveling abroad.
 

Photocopies

It is easier to replace lost or stolen documents when you have photocopies. Photocopy all important documents in duplicate, including passport photo pages, visa pages, vaccination certificates, travelers checks receipts, airline tickets, student ID, birth certificate, credit cards (front and back), etc., then leave a copy at home with a parent or guardian and pack a set in various pieces of luggage. Spending a few moments copying documents now will save you time if you lose important documents.
 

AB540 Students

AB540 students should consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action applications.
 
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
 
Identify all luggage on both the outside and inside with your name, home address, and destination.
 
When traveling always carry your passport, visa, airline tickets, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
 
Due to limited storage space in the host university dormitories, you should pack reasonable amounts of clothing and personal items. Most items are available for purchase in Hong Kong.
 

Essential

  • A limited and comfortable wardrobe, including washable, easy-to-care-for clothing, lightweight shirts, slacks, jeans, and conservative shorts
  • Appropriate attire for formal dinners and special events (a sport coat and tie for men, a dress for women)
  • Comfortable walking shoes that are easy to slip on and off (large-sized shoes are impossible to find in Hong Kong)
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription medication 
  • Several passport photos (to use for identification cards and government forms)
  • A few books, including a Chinese-English dictionary and a travel guide with a detailed map of Hong Kong (books in English are expensive in Hong Kong)
  • A few American gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (suggestions: Frisbees; T-shirts; UC pens, pencils, or decals; baseball caps representing major league teams; California pistachios or almonds, postcards, or scenic calendars)
  • Pictures of family, friends, and the UC campus to have a reminder of home and share with new friends ​

Optional

  • Laptop
  • Electric converter and plug adapter for any electronic items you pack (Hong Kong’s electrical system operates on 220V 50Hz)
  • Digital recorder (especially useful if you will be studying Chinese language)
  • Mosquito repellent and after-bite medicine
  • Athletic gear, including a swimsuit
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Small travel backpack
"A backpack is essential for traveling (and if you fill it, that undoubtedly will be too much stuff)." - UCEAP Student​
 

Do Not Pack

Pepper spray, knuckle-dusters, tear gas, flick-knives, crossbows, and other items used for self-defense, which may be legal in the U.S., are considered illegal weapons in Hong Kong and prohibited. If found with these items, they will be confiscated and you may be arrested and prosecuted.
 
Insurance for Personal Posessions
The UCEAP Insurance Plan includes limited personal property coverage. Review the plan carefully before departure. Determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions. Talk to your parents, they may already have insurance coverage for personal possessions. Find out if their insurance will cover your items while in transit and while abroad, and also inquire about deductibles.
 
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
 
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
 
Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
 
Return Transportation
If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
 
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
 
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Student Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
 
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
 
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.

Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • How to and who can make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
 
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Student Budget Payment Voucher located on the second page of your UCEAP Student Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
 
Carefully review your UCEAP Student Budget.
 
Your UCEAP Student Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Student Budget frequently. The Payment vouchers are on the second page of the UCEAP Student Budget.
 

Instructions

  • Download and print your UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Vouchers.
  • Give the UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.
 
Handling Money Abroad
The official currency unit in Hong Kong is the dollar (abbreviated HK$ or HKD). Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.​
Before leaving the U.S., you are encouraged to exchange $100 into Hong Kong dollars. Besides providing an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, the funds will be useful upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. U.S. banks can purchase the foreign currency; the process may take a week or more. You may also exchange money at the airport in Hong Kong. Transportation from the airport must be paid in Hong Kong dollars.
 
It usually take a few weeks to become financially established abroad. Prepare enough funds to cover expenses for the first two months (at least U.S. $1,500). Long delays in receiving mail and clearing personal checks abroad are more often the rule than the exception. Personal checks are rarely accepted in Hong Kong.
 
You will need to have enough money upon arrival to pay the housing fee for the semester in Hong Kong. This must be paid as agreeed upon in your rental agreement (ex. directly to your landlord in local currency). Be sure to keep receipts.
  

Banking

UCEAP students have had bank accounts at the large American banks in Hong Kong, including Bank of America and Citibank. The Bank of America operates 14 branches throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the New Territories, and Citibank has 17 branches.
 
Opening a bank account in Hong Kong, with both savings and checking options, is relatively simple. To do so, you must apply in person and take a valid passport. There is a charge every time money is transferred to Hong Kong from another country (or vice versa) and there are standard fees for cashing travelers checks.
 
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. 
 

Credit Cards

Many businesses throughout Hong Kong will accept credit cards (such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). However, most universities and venues on campus will take cash only.
 

Transferring Money Abroad

There are several basic ways to send money to Hong Kong from the U.S.:
  • You can have money deposited into your U.S. account, from which you can draw funds using the account’s corresponding ATM and Visa, Citibank, or MasterCard debit card. There is no fee because it is not a cash advance. This system usually works for the following debit cards: Cirrus, Global Access, PLUS, Jetco, and EPS. Check with your bank in the U.S. to see if this option will work abroad for your card.
     
  • If you open a Hong Kong bank account you can also get an ATM card from that bank and use it in ATMs in MTR stations. There is an annual charge of about HK $50 for the ATM card.
     
  • Money can be sent directly as an interbank deposit from a U.S. bank to its Hong Kong branch.
     
  • Funds can be cabled from any U.S. bank to any Hong Kong bank; funds sent in this way are usually available a week from the date they are sent.
     
  • You can deposit U.S. travelers checks into a local account in Hong Kong and withdraw cash immediately. Most foreign currencies and travelers checks can be exchanged at Hong Kong banks, hotels, or money exchangers.
     
  • Up to HK $500 can be sent through an international money order, available at selected banks.
     
  • You can deposit a bank draft or any check, personal or institutional, into your local account; however, the Hong Kong bank will require one month for such checks to clear, during which time the funds will not be available. An additional service charge will be assessed for this kind of transaction.
     
  • Western Union can be used to have money wired from home in a short amount of time (sometimes minutes). In most instances, you will receive local currency at competitive foreign exchange rates.
     
  • Charles Schwab account holders can withdraw money from international ATMs and be reimbursed for fees incurred. However, there may be a minimum balance requirement.
Of all these methods, the most efficient and convenient is to use a U.S. ATM card at a Hong Kong ATM, or to have remittances sent directly from a bank in the U.S. to the local bank account in Hong Kong. Funds should be transmitted in U.S. dollars to avoid poor exchange rates. Funds remaining in the account at the end of the program can be converted to any currency, including U.S. dollars.
 
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
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 classrooms are wired for Internet access. There are also wireless LAN access points in many locations on campus.
 
Phones
Many students buy cell phones and use them for both local and international calls.
"It is easy to buy a new cell phone in Hong Kong, and many students choose to buy a cheap one so they are not as afraid of losing an expensive smart phone." - UCEAP Student​
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the technology for transmitting voice conversations via the Internet, is popular with students who take a laptop abroad. Social networking software such as Skype is commonly used to make free or low-cost calls over the Internet.
 
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
Housing
Postgraduate housing at CUHK is extremely limited. MBA students are advised to conctact Ms. Sandra Chan (sandrachan@baf.cuhk.edu.hk ) at the MBA office regarding off-campus housing arrangements.
 
Meals
"Eating really became a dream come true in Hong Kong. Snack stands are at every corner of the street. Sweet waffle balls or deep-fried edibles on a stick are sold for less than U.S. $1 for five pieces. If you want fresh seafood, go to the seafood market (in Choi Hung, I believe) where I guarantee that your fish and shrimp will be moving until you get home." - UCEAP Student​
Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong is likely to be different from your prior experience. You can choose from hundreds of regional varieties of Chinese cuisine, ranging from popular Cantonese dim sum to pricey Chiu Chow fare. Hong Kong is a culinary paradise. Food guides can be purchased at local bookstores and at the Hong Kong Tourist Association.
 
Most students eat in the numerous canteens (cafeterias) on campus. In the canteens, every meal features a standard entrée served over a big dish of steamed rice. There are also menus that offer combinations of stir-fried meat, seafood, noodles, vegetables, bean curd, and mushrooms. Tea, coffee, and soft drinks are served in all canteens. Menus vary by canteen. Some canteens also have Western menu items such as sandwiches, salads, and pasta. There are also many dining options available off campus.
 
Your initial dining experiences may be daunting—especially if your local friends start you off with chicken feet and pig intestine. Avoid retreating to the nearest fast-food chain. As you learn more about Chinese cuisine, you will find a range of choices and dishes palatable to your taste.
"People eat with a tiny bowl, not with a plate. The plate is for bones—don’t eat off of it. In small eateries, soak your utensils in the tea to disinfect them." - UCEAP Student​
Vegetarian students report that eating at the canteens is difficult. You will be better served by either preparing your own meals or eating off campus. If you eat fish, you may have more options. If you follow Kosher or Halal dietary practices, you will find that food options are very limited, perhaps even nonexistent, on campus.
 
The CUHK 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.
 
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Hong Kong’s public transportation system is both varied and extensive, with double-decker buses, minibuses, trams, taxis, electric trains, subways, and a train line that continues into China. The system is efficient and inexpensive. Most options accept a specialized debit card (the “Octopus Card”) for payment, making it convenient to get around town.
"Hong Kong’s transportation system is one of the best that I have ever seen. It is extremely convenient, advanced, efficient, and affordable. You need virtually no planning to get from one part of Hong Kong to another as long as you’re on a subway or a bus." - UCEAP Student​

Ferry Service

Hong Kong is built around a harbor, and there is a considerable amount of water travel. The main service across the harbor between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island is provided by the Star Ferry, which is about a five-minute ride at a reasonable cost. Ferries also make frequent runs to the larger Hong Kong islands.

MTR

Hong Kong has a very good transportation system called the Mass Transit Railway (MTR). The MTR closes early, so if you like to stay out late at night, be prepared to pay a cab fare to return home.
"In Hong Kong, your number one friend in terms of transportation is the subway system called MTR. Your other number one friend is an Octopus Card. The Octopus Card is your way to pay for the MTR, and it is also accepted at almost every store and at many restaurants to be used like a debit card. You can add money to your Octopus card at all MTR stations." - UCEAP Student​
 
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.
 
Extracurricular Activities
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while abroad is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community.
 
Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
"Do something you enjoy (e.g. sports, arts, or social events). It’s the best way to meet other people and to learn how local students do things." - UCEAP Student​

Cultural Activities

The international and contemporary influences on Hong Kong may prevent you from noticing the hidden cultural richness. You will need to be proactive and seek out cultural opportunities. This may mean speaking Cantonese (even in situations where English is acceptable), willfully spending less time with American friends, or asking a Chinese friend for information about local activities. Chinese traditions will become more apparent the longer you are in Hong Kong.
 
UCEAP Study Center staff has information on cultural activities and may arrange various excursions. University-based and civic organizations also sponsor cultural and educational programs. 
 
For information about upcoming events, visit the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department website and the events calendar on the Hong Kong Tourism Boardwebsite.
"Go to the popular attractions as well as the less popular ones too! You never know what neat surprise you can find in the New Territories or some of the outlying islands." - UCEAP Student​

Buddy Programs

The host universities provide buddy programs through which you will be introduced to local or expatriate hosts.
 
Most Chinese students socialize in groups. Camping trips in the New Territories, barbecues, organized singing contests, and various clubs are all popular activities. Housing in Hong Kong is extremely cramped; therefore, most social activities take place outside the home.

Student Clubs & Organizations

Since many local students live off campus, you are encouraged to join at least one club or organization to increase your interaction with local students. UCEAP students have previously participated in several student clubs, including photography, music, drama, chess, volunteer, and debate.
 
Student organizations offer a wide variety of ways to interact with the student body and to reach out to the local community.

Festivals

Festivals, such as Chinese New Year and Mid Autumn, are celebrated with enthusiasm in Hong Kong. Host universities and local students are usually eager to include exchange students in these activities.

Religion

While the traditional Chinese religions of Taoism and Buddhism are the most widespread, other faiths are practiced and English-speaking religious services are available in Hong Kong.

Sports

You can participate in numerous sports activities while in Hong Kong, including martial arts, tennis, aerobics, swimming, and golf. There are also intramural team sports at the host universities. If you enjoy outdoor sports and activities, review the Hong Kong Agricultural, Fisheries, and Conservation Department website for a variety of information including hiking trails, camping permit instructions, and mountain bike regulations.
"There were many buildings and structures, but you won’t see buildings everywhere in Hong Kong. There are also trees and very scenic nature places." - UCEAP Student​
 
Students with Disabilities
For more information, refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Students with Disabilities chapter.
 
Travel Sign-out Form
When you leave your host city for more than 24 hours, you must complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know where to reach you promptly.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Hong Kong is also the transportation hub of Asia. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to travel from Hong Kong to other locales in Asia.
 
"Travel, travel, travel! Take advantage of weekends and the time between classes to see the country. There is so much to see. Traveling can be amazingly cheap." - UCEAP Student​
 
Most students travel to the People’s Republic of China, including trips to Guangzhou for a weekend and more extensive tours of the mainland. Research visa requirements when traveling outside of Hong Kong. People’s Republic of China tourist visas can be obtained in the U.S. prior to departure or after you arrive in Hong Kong.
 
" Before you leave, try to get a multiple-entry visa for China. Applying for a China visa in HK is a hassle because you can only apply for a double-entry visa here in HK (you can only get a multiple entry visa in your home country) and if you go to China more than twice then it is just annoying to go back to your embassy and pay again for a double entry visa. It is extremely easy to get to China from HK." - UCEAP Student​
 
Additional information about traveling throughout Hong Kong and Asia can be found in such guides as Lonely Planet’s Travel Survival Kit for Hong Kong, Macau & Canton, and Southeast Asia on a Shoestring.
 
"In general, I would not suggest traveling outside of Hong Kong alone. Always travel with at least one other person, carry enough cash and contact numbers in case of an emergency, and inform people on campus where you are and when you are expected back." - UCEAP Student​
 
LGBTIQ Students
Attitudes toward the LGBT community continue to evolve. Most aspects of public and official life demonstrate ambivalence toward homosexuality. The government does not actively support the LGBT community, but neither does it impose sanctions. Urban Chinese tend to be accepting of homosexuality, but in deeply conservative rural areas, homosexuality is neither discussed nor socially accepted. The result is a complex risk environment that has few clear social guidelines but little overt threat of violence or abuse.
 
For more information,
 
Insurance
UCEAP Insurance
Before you travel:
 
Print and carry your insurance card at all times.
 
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  It is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is not ACA compliant for domestic coverage.  The premium cost is paid by the University of California for UC students.  In addition to the previous link, you can read Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage and eligibility criteria
 
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies.  It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.  You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
 
Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
 
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, help with the UCEAP medical insurance claim process, and assist if arrangements need to be made with your professors due to extended absence from class.
 
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
A high level of private medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country. 
 
Prescription drugs are widely available, although they may have different names than those in the U.S.
 
Hong Kong emergency service response times for police, fire, and ambulances are good. Some emergency personnel are trained to paramedic standards, though most are trained at the first responder level to perform basic stabilization and transport to the nearest hospital.
 
Doctors and hospitals require immediate cash payment for health services and generally do not accept credit cards.
 
In addition to the information provided in this guide, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong maintains a listing of English-speaking medical providers.

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.
 

Public Hospitals

Bring your passport and valid student visa with you to the public hospital. Persons permitted to stay in Hong Kong by the Immigration Department, and not classified as visitors, may be eligible for local rates when admitted into public hospitals. The cost of hospitalization in general wards, related treatment, and surgery depends on the residential status of the patient. Treatment for permanent residents of Hong Kong is provided at subsidized rates. Visitors to Hong Kong are not eligible for subsidized treatment and are charged as private patients.
 
In general, semiprivate and private rooms at Hong Kong public hospitals are considerably more expensive, as are the corresponding charges for medical treatment and operations. If you want coverage for semiprivate and private hospital accommodations in Hong Kong, talk with the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance. You can call international collect on a UC-dedicated line at 1 + 202-828-5896 or e-mail: ops@europassistance-usa.com
 
Public clinics and hospitals do not operate on an appointment system and waiting times are often unpredictable.
 
Physical Health
"Students are expected to wear surgical style masks in public when sick with a cold or flu." - UCEAP Student​
 
Food and beverage precautions are essential to reduce chance of illness. While serious health concerns are low, it is beneficial to follow basic health precautions such as washing your hands often with soap and water (if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel with at least 60% alcohol), drinking bottled water, protecting yourself from insect bites, and observing hygiene standards. Avoid raw or undercooked seafood. Be wary of poor sanitary practices by street food vendors.
 
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page for health risks present in the country where you will be studying. Know what to do if you get sick.
 
Good basic personal hygiene and hand washing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating.
 
Prescription Medications

PLAN AHEAD

Although you should always travel with a copy of your prescription from your U.S. doctor, many pharmacies in other countries will only fill prescriptions written in that country.
 
If you need a refill while abroad, you will need to see a doctor in that country to get a similar prescription that a local pharmacy will fill. It will be critical, to have a letter from U.S. doctor, during this appointment,  explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
 
In some cases, the local physician will need to confirm your diagnosis before issuing a prescription. Note that a doctor's visit to get refills may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
 

Before Departure

  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program.
  • Always carry medications in their original containers.
  • Have a letter from the prescribing physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regime.

Carrying Medicines through Local Customs

  • Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries.  Talk to your doctor immediately to switch you to another medication. 
  • Although medications in amounts clearly related to personal use (30 days) are rarely inspected or questioned, customs officials can become suspicious of medications in much larger quantities. Reduce the likelihood of difficulty by following these recommendations:
    • Keep medicines in their original, labeled, pharmacy packaging when possible. The label should include your name.
    • Obtain and carry a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery, appropriately signed and dated, stating medical diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
    • If intending to travel with a controlled drug for personal use, review medication regulations in official government websites or the International Narcotics Board website. Addresses for most countries can be found at www.incb.org/incb/en/psychotropic-substances/travellers_country_regulations.html.
    • Rules on amphetamine-based medications used for attention deficit disorders should always be checked ahead of time.
    • Embassies are generally not a good source of information.
    • Rules on amphetamine-based medications used for attention deficit disorders should always be checked ahead of time. 
    • If you have diabetes, or are using injectable heparin, obtain and carry at all times a doctor’s letter explaining the need to carry needles and syringes.
    • Personal first aid kits, especially those with needles and syringes, should be accompanied by an official document endorsing their use as a medical kit. 

Read your UCEAP Program Guide, Medications chapter for information on local official government website.

  • Pack your prescription medications, in original containers, in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack the medications in your checked luggage. 
  • Carry copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
     
  • Have a letter on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.  This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill.
     
  • Leave a copy of the written prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
If your doctor cannot issue a supply to last through your stay your US doctor's letter can help a local physician to assess you and consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country.
 

If you take prescription medications

You are responsible for confirming in advance that your prescription medications are legal in Hong Kong.
 
More information is accessible through the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.
 
Do not plan on mailing medications to Hong Kong as they may be confiscated.
 
Pharmacies in Hong Kong are reliable. Both pharmaceutical and herbal Chinese medications are generally available. Pharmacies offer convenient hours and locations but they will not acknowledge U.S. prescriptions. However, some prescription-only items in the U.S. may be available over the counter at pharmacies in Hong Kong (for example, birth control pills).
 
Mental Health
Speak with returnees and gather as much information as possible before you depart the U.S.
 
If you are currently seeing a specialist for a psychological health condition, meet with the specialist to make sure that you have a plan in place if you need to reach out to local resources. The U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong compiles a list of counseling and specialized services. There are several community organizations that provide mental health support or referral services. The Community Advice Bureau (CAB) provides confidential referral services and maintains a comprehensive list of English-speaking support groups and individual counseling services. The Resource Counselling Centre offers individual counseling in up to seven languages, including English, and is a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Samaritans maintains a multilingual 24/7 suicide prevention hotline. When calling from Hong Kong, dial 2896-0000.
 
Do not be surprised to think, “It’s not what I expected.” Expect the unexpected and be sensitive to romanticized misconceptions or unrealistic expectations. Living abroad is stressful by its very nature. Life in Hong Kong is fast-paced and adds crowds, noise, and a foreign surrounding. Ask for insight from locals and acknowledge that this is a valuable learning experience.
 
Culture shock and homesick feelings are normal. Any time you move into a new culture, there are a different set of expectations and behaviors that apply. Think about the kinds of situations that might cause you stress while you are away.To succeed in your new environment, you will need to be resourceful, open-minded, willing to learn from your mistakes, respectful of the differences, and determined to stay.
 
Health Risks
Access the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for travel health information to any destination.
 
Toilet paper and hand washing facilities may not be available in public restrooms in Hong Kong. It is advisable to carry tissues and antibacterial hand wipes as you travel throughout the city.
"Always take toilet paper with you anywhere you travel in Asia." - UCEAP Student​
Most fruits and vegetables sold in Hong Kong originate in mainland China where pesticide use is unregulated. Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.

Avian Flu & other Infectious Diseases

UCEAP continually reviews information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, works closely with medical experts on the UC campuses, and monitors local host university and country health resources.  
 
The risk of avian flu transmission to humans remains low, but avoid live birds and undercooked poultry. Feces of infected birds contain large amounts of the virus. Avoid direct contact with surfaces or objects contaminated by bird droppings in live food markets. Monitor your health for 10 days after leaving China and consult a health care provider if fever or respiratory problems occur.
 
Refer to additional information on the UCEAP website.
 
Food Allergies
​If you have severe food allergies take precautions and consider carrying a  copy of a food allergy care plan. The cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected.
 
Precautions to take include:
  • Research the local cuisine
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor
  • Carry symptom-reducing medications at all times, including epinephrine
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language
  • arry a card written in English and Chinese that will warn food preparers about the allergy and possible reaction
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.
 
Air Quality
Hong Kong has been facing two serious air pollution issues. One is local street-level pollution. The other is the regional smog problem. Air pollution is increasingly serious in Hong Kong. Congested vehicle traffic and mainland factories pump out ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen oxides, leading to a visible haze in the atmosphere on most days of the year. The Hong Kong SAR Government’s Air Quality in Hong Kong website has more information on air quality and related issues.
 
Short-term symptoms of exposure to air pollution include:
  • itchy eyes, nose, and throat,
  • wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath,
  • chest pain,
  • headaches,
  • nausea, and
  • upper respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia).
It exacerbates asthma and emphysema. If you have a chronic medical condition, consult with a health care provider before travel, carry sufficient medication, and ask whether an FDA-approved respirator is recommended for days of high pollution concentration.
 
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
​Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant. If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country.  Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.  Car accidents are often a high risk in developing countries. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
 
The University of California Education Abroad Program has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. 
 
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
  • Stop and think.
     
  • Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
     
  • Be conscious of what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
     
  • Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling. Read the UCEAP in the Guide to Study Abroad and the Program Guide. Also, you can find online information on the country through the U.S. Department of State.
     
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
     
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
     
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
     
Putting yourself, fellow students, or the reputation of the program at risk is cause for dismissal from UCEAP.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
 
Crime & Prevention
Hong Kong has a low crime rate and the same petty crime problems as other major cities, especially in crowded venues.  Exercise caution when in congested areas and pay particular attention to personal belongings while traveling on public transportation.
 

Tips:

  • Watch personal belongings in crowded areas
     
  • Travel in groups at night and in certain areas including parks in the Victoria Peak area, where there have been recent incidents of assault and robbery
     
  • Keep a close eye on your drinks and food while at bars or nightclubs and never accept a drink or food from strangers; criminals have been known to drug victims in order to rob them
     
  • Report criminal incidents, including theft, immediately to the Study Center, the local police, and the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong
     
  • Carry picture identification and emergency contact information at all times
     
  • Sign out through MyEAP any time you travel for more than 24 hours
     
  • Update your local contact information (including cell phone number) through MyEAP

Police Response 

The general police support and response to foreign victims of crime is excellent. The Hong Kong Police Force is highly trained and professional. There are numerous police stations strategically located throughout the various districts and communities of Hong Kong. Their response time to emergencies is under five minutes.
 
Civil Unrest
Protests involving democracy activists, labor organizations, and civil society groups occur with some frequency. Pro-democracy rallies can be quite large, but are usually peaceful and disruptions are typically limited. Do not participate in illegal demonstrations.
 
Visas may be terminated abruptly if local authorities learn of any involvement in public political demonstrations or political activism that they regard as disruptive.
 
Traffic & Transportation Safety
About 90 percent of the population in Hong Kong depends on public transportation. Taxis, buses, and the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) are readily available, inexpensive, and generally safe. The MTR is an underground railway network and is the most popular mode of public transportation, carrying an average of 3.5 million passengers a day.
"Women traveling alone should avoid the unmarked taxis, known as pak pai. Although cheaper, they are not registered and can be dangerous." - UCEAP Student​
Hong Kong has a highly developed and well-maintained road and highway network. Traffic moves on the left. During the daytime, traffic congests Hong Kong’s urban areas. Traffic accidents are a serious problem. UCEAP does not recommend that you operate any vehicle abroad.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Be mindful that traffic flows on the left in Hong Kong (opposite of the U.S. driving system).
     
  • Allow more time to reach your destination; do not rush.
     
  • Use marked crossing facilities, e.g., footbridges, pedestrian subways, zebra crossings & light signal crossings.
     
  • Find a safe location to cross the road if no crossing facility is available.
For more information refer to the Hong Kong Road Safety Council.
 
Natural Disasters
In the late summer/early fall there is an increase in typhoons in Hong Kong. Public notification of weather conditions is excellent.
 
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance (there is no cost to the student). UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
 
Fire Safety
The Hong Kong Fire Services Department is an emergency service responsible for firefighting and rescue on land and sea. It also provides an emergency ambulance service for the sick and the injured, and gives fire protection advice to the public. There are altogether 80 fire stations, 37 ambulance depots and six fireboat fire stations. Facilities are strategically located to provide emergency response for all areas. The graded response times for building fire calls are 6 minutes for built-up areas and 9 to 23 minutes for areas of dispersed risks and isolated developments.  
 

Fire - Dial 999

 
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S., are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
     
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
     
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
     
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
     
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation to purchase Fire Safety Kits and Passport to Safety. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
     
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
     
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
     
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
     
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
     
  • Refer to the Fire Safety section of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for life-saving information.
 
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
 

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office
     
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone number at (805) 893-4762
 

If you are abroad

Ambulance, Fire, Police: call 999
 
If you have a health or safety emergency and do not have access to local or UCEAP representative emergency information, contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA, available 24/7:
  

U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong

American Citizen Services
26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Phone: (011-852) 2841-2211, 2841-2323, 2841-2225
Fax: (011-852) 2845-4845
 
Hours: M–F: 8:30–noon & 1:30–4 p.m.; Wed: 8:30–noon only
After-hours emergencies: (011-852) 2523-9011
 
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 office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.