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Hong Kong
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Global Summer Internship, Hong Kong

- Summer

For this program, UCEAP has partnered with CIEE. As a UCEAP student, the terms of your participation differ from students who are enrolled with CIEE independently or through another university. Be aware of these differences and understand your responsibilities as a UCEAP student abroad. 

You are concurrently enrolled at UC while participating through CIEE abroad. This means that the grades you earn while abroad will appear on your UC transcript as direct UC credit rather than transfer credit; that unlike other students in the program, you will pay your fees to UCEAP rather than directly to CIEE; and that you have UCEAP Travel Insurance, which will be your primary insurance policy while abroad.

Review and read the CIEE materials carefully. Follow all CIEE pre-departure and onsite information and instructions; for example, arrival dates and visa instructions. Write down the CIEE contact information and keep it with your passport in case of an emergency.
Finally, you will have additional resources and contacts at UCEAP. The details of the separate and unique UCEAP elements of your participation are outlined in this short supplement. Be familiar with them before departure.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Students are responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. 

UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.

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 Staff 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) 893-6152; E-mail:
Program Specialist
May Pothongsunun
Phone: (805) 893-6152; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Eva Bilandzia
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Gildas Halle
Phone: (805) 893-2761; E-mail:
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 Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.


Study Center Abroad

The summer internship program in Hong Kong is managed by CIEE's Academic Internship Council (AIC) Hong Kong office. AIC will provide on-site student support, including an orientation and cultural activities.
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 at AIC and at UC).

Academic Internship Council:

Rebecca Chow
Hong Kong Site Director
Unit 603, 6/F, Tower 1, Admiralty Centre
18 Harcourt Road, Admiralty
Phone (calling from US): (011-852) 3487-8586
Phone (calling from Hong Kong): (852) 3487-8586

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
Academics & Your UC Registration
As a dual UCEAP and CIEE student, make sure you understand all of your academic resources as well as your academic responsibilities. Remember that other students on the program will be bound to different home-university policies. Regardless of CIEE regulations, you must also meet UCEAP requirements.

Read through the following guides, and know how to access them when you have questions. You will be held accountable for the information in both guides.
  • The UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad: The Academic chapter includes UCEAP academic regulations, MyEAP Study List registration process, petitions, grades, and more. 
  • CIEE Program Handbook (available in your MyCIEE account "Readings" section): The Academics section in the CIEE Program Handbook outlines your CIEE academic program.
The most important thing to understand is that you will be concurrently enrolled both through CIEE, and through UCEAP’s MyEAP Study List.
Who Should I Ask About...?
  • UCEAP academic regulations and MyEAP Study List: UCEAP Academic Specialist (UCEAP Systemwide Office)
  • CIEE internship placement, course specifics, and concerns: CIEE on-site advisor
  • UC college or department requirements: UC college or department advisor and/or campus EAP advisor. Neither CIEE nor UCEAP Systemwide Office can assist you with questions about fulfilling home department requirements. 
See the "Contacts" section above for more information. The CIEE resident staff should be your first contact for most issues, but remember, if you have significant academic, health, personal, or financial issues that may impact your academic performance, be sure to contact UCEAP staff to discuss options and consequences.

Credit & Registration
Because you will be receiving direct UC credit rather than transfer credit, you will be enrolled concurrently with CIEE and UCEAP.

CIEE will provide details about the course that accompanies your internship.

UCEAP will provide instructions regarding the MyEAP Study List registration process. Completing your MyEAP Study List is the only way for your UCEAP courses and grades to appear on your UC transcript.
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
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • 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 Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.

Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing or recreational travel abroad.
Your UCEAP Program 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 Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule 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 U.S. dollars 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 takes a few weeks to become financially established abroad. Prepare enough funds to cover expenses for the first month (at least U.S. $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.   
If you plan on using your U.S. ATM and/or credit card while abroad, be sure to notify your bank ahead of time. Otherwise, they may freeze your account on suspicion of fraud. 

ATM Cards

Students often use their ATM card and PIN from a U.S. bank to withdraw money in Hong Kong. ATMs are available in banks, MTR stations, shopping centers, and other locations throughout Hong Kong.
Charles Schwab account holders can withdraw money from international ATMs and be reimbursed for fees incurred. However, there may be a minimum balance requirement.

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.


UCEAP students have had bank accounts at the large American banks in Hong Kong, including Bank of America and Citibank. The Bank of America and Citibank operate several branches throughout Hong Kong, Kowloon, and the New Territories.
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.
Diversity at UCEAP
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,
Students with Disabilities
Hong Kong law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services. The law mandates access to buildings, information, and communications for persons with disabilities.
Due in part to Hong Kong’s topography, there are many stairs, inclines, and steep, uneven walkways not designed for anyone who uses a walker, cane, crutches, or wheelchair. 
Hong Kong government's Transport Department webpage has more information on transport for people with disabilities.
For more information:
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before You Go

As a UCEAP participant, you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy anywhere in the world. 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.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance. You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process or about non-medical claims.
Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). 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.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status

Contact ACI at

CIEE Insurance

Know Before you Go

In addition to the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy (your primary coverage anywhere in the world), you will also be covered by the CIEE supplemental insurance (your secondary coverage) while abroad. 
If you have questions about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage, benefits, and claims, contact, ACI at
If you have questions about the CIEE insurance policy, visit their website.  Or refer to your MyCIEE/Polaris account under the “Readings” section.
Staying Healthy
University of California does not make any representation of warranty with respect to the names of medical providers referenced on this Staying Healthy chapter. The names listed are only a point of reference as the University of California does not recommend or endorse any medical provider on this list.
Local Medical Facilities
Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians in Hong Kong. 
Prescription drugs are widely available. However, they may have different names than in the US. Refer to the Prescription Drugs tab further in this guide.
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 US Consulate in Hong Kong maintains a listing of English-speaking medical providers.

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. Visitors to Hong Kong are not eligible for subsidized treatment and are charged as private patients.
Public clinics and hospitals do not operate on an appointment system and waiting times are often unpredictable.
Physical Health

Know Before You Go

Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.


"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.
If you are sick or injured, seek care, pay for services up front and submit a claim through the UCEAP travel insurance.  If you have questions about benefits or claims, contact ACI at 
Prescription Medications


Research and Resources:

  • Find out if your prescription is legal and licensed in your UCEAP country.  There are many resources you can check: The US embassy website for the country where you will be studying; the foreign embassy for the country where you will be studying; regulations from official foreign government sites; the International Narcotics Control Board (link below).
  • As a UCEAP participant you are covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance. Review the UCEAP Travel Insurance terms of coverage. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage.
  • Refer to UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, specifically the Health and Insurance sections.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor as least 3-6 months before departure to discuss your medication and treatment plan:

  • Ask if you can get a prescription to last the entire duration of your program. Consider that you may need to fill your prescription abroad.
  • Obtain a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead indicating your diagnosis, treatment, medication regimen, and generic name(s) of medication(s) as brand names vary around the world. This will be for passing through Customs and for refilling abroad.
  • Your doctor may need to change your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.
  • Discuss how to adjust dosage to account for different time zones.


Airport Security

  • Keep medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor's name, generic/brand name, and exact dosage. 
  • Carry copies of original US prescriptions and carry the letter from your doctor (see above).
  • Travel with medications in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill form. Consult the US Transportation Security Administration if your medication is liquid.

In Country

  • If you need to refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor as US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. Take with you the letter from your doctor (see above). Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventative care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance. However, your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.
  • To purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must pay up front and submit a claim for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start date of your program).
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, and the Insurance tab on your pre-departure checklist for more insurance information.
  • For specific information about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage, contact,


  • Two classes of medicines - narcotics and psychotropics - are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that affects the central nervous system and the potential for drug abuse.  The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine). Psychotropic medications are used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions. These medications are often highly regulated.
  • If you have a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g. Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.


Prescription Medication in Hong Kong

All visitors entering Hong Kong must go through customs clearance. Dangerous drugs, psychotropic subtances, and medication with controlled chemicals must be declared. Pharmaceutical products and medicines imported in your personal baggage, which are in a reasoable quanitity for personal use, may be exempted from licensing requirement.


For further details, please visit the Customs and Excise Department website. To avoid delays, please follow the guidelines set by Hong Kong International Airport. For more information, please see the Customs and Excise Department's page on Prohibited/Controlled Items.
Do not plan to mail medications to Hong Kong as they may be confiscated.
Both pharmaceutical and herbal Chinese medications are generally available. Some prescription-only items in the US may be available over the counter at pharmacies in Hong Kong (e.g. birth control pills).


Electronic Cigarettes

​Electronic cigarettes are regulated as pharmaceutical products, so possessing them without the proper authority could result in a stiff fine and up to two years in prison.  Read more about entering Hong Kong with electronic cigarettes and e-cigarette regulations and laws worldwide.

Mental Health


Consider your host country. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad, whether or not you have a pre-existing condition? 
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen so a local physician can assess your needs.

If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Examples include stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and narcotics. Prohibited substances vary depending on the country. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.


  • Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
  • The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at

The US Consulate in Hong Kong compiles a list of counseling and specialized services.
ReSource Counselling Centre - offering individual counseling in up to seven languages, including English.
Hours: Mon-Fri: 9:00am to 6:15 pm
Tel: (852) 2523 8979
Fax: (852) 2845 7352
The Samaritans - a non-profit, non-religious organisation giving confidential emotional support to people who are suicidal or are in general distress. The service is provided to anyone regardless of age, creed, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.
24/7 Hotline: 2896 0000
Health Risks
Access the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for travel health information for Hong Kong. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter.

Infectious Diseases

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.
The risk of avian flu transmission to humans remains low. 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.

Mosquito-Borne Illness

Protect yourself against Dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses by safeguarding against mosquito bites with insect spray and light colored long-sleeved clothing.
Food Allergies
​If you have severe food allergies, take precautions. The local cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis. A language barrier increases your risk.
  • Research the local cuisine.
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor.
  • Carry a card with information in English and Chinese about your allergy.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter.
Air Quality
Air pollution is a serious issue. 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. Average roadside pollution levels exceed WHO guidelines by 200% and create health risks for those with allergies, asthma, or cardiac problems.
The Hong Kong SAR Government’s Air Quality in Hong Kong website has more information on air quality issues.
Short-term symptoms of exposure to air pollution include:
  • itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath
  • chest pain, headaches, nausea
  • upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • exacerbation of asthma and emphysema

If you have a chronic medical condition, consult with a health care provider before travel. Consider an FDA-approved respirator.

Staying Safe

Know Before You Go

Understand the potential risks at your UCEAP destination and while traveling. Carry the local emergency contact information with you at all times. Know how to ask for help. Have a plan. Be prepared, aware of your surroundings, and flexible. As you prepare, also access US Government resources for travelers and the CIEE student handbook.
While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a US citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what is legal and what is not. If you break local laws while abroad, your US passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the US Embassy cannot get you out of jail.
Minimize Risk

Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.

With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think about how you can lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel. Label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of the consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.


Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers, identify safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at high speed.

Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.

Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
  • Observe and assess your surroundings. Learn to recognize danger.
  • Trust your feelings. If you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
  • Drink responsibly. Know your limits. In many countries, beer, wine and liquor contain a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  • Practice the buddy system. Choose your buddy wisely. 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 locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?

Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate

Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.

Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider

You will be automatically registered with WorldAware, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Crime & Prevention
Hong Kong has a low crime rate and the same petty crime problems as other major cities. Exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.

Preventing Theft

Pay attention to personal belongings while traveling on public transportation, or when in congested areas. Refrain from carrying items of high value. Always secure your possessions.
Be wary of strangers - do not give strangers personal information or let them into your housing. Keep the doors and windows of your housing locked.
Avoid walking alone at night, or in poorly-lit areas. Some portions of the campus may not be not well lit. Avoid parks in Victoria Peak as there have been recent incidents of assault and robbery.
Report criminal incidents immediately to the host university, the local police, and the US Consulate General in Hong Kong.

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 located throughout the various districts and communities of Hong Kong.  

Drugs & 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. Possession of marijuana is treated as a serious offense.
If you choose to drink, stay in control of your drinking. Do not display 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. 
Do not leave your food or drinks unattended while at bars or nightclubs. Never accept food or drinks from strangers. Criminals can drug victims and rob them.
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

Public Transportation

About 90 percent of the population in Hong Kong relies on public transportation. Public transportation is generally safe. The China Motor Bus, although providing the most extensive service, is considered an unsafe bus company.  Many drivers speak some English.  Have your destination written in Chinese characters. 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.
"Women traveling alone should avoid the unmarked taxis, known as pak pai. Although cheaper, they are not registered and can be dangerous." - UCEAP Student​


Do not operate any vehicle abroad. Traffic moves on the left. During the daytime, traffic congests Hong Kong’s urban areas. Traffic accidents are a serious problem. China accounts for 13% of global road fatalities. Bicycling can be hazardous. Do not ride a bicycle in the city due to congested traffic conditions. Most traffic injuries involve pedestrians or cyclists.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Be mindful that traffic flows on the left in Hong Kong (opposite of the US driving system).
  • Drivers may ignore pedestrian crossings and/or use their horn instead of their brakes.
  • Allow for extra time to reach your destination.
  • Use marked crossing facilities, such as footbridges, pedestrian subways, zebra crossings, and light signal crossings. 
  • Guard rails and pedestrian barriers are used to separate pedestrian traffic from vehicular traffic where traffic is particularly heavy. The guard rails will lead you to a pedestrian crossing.
  • Read more regarding pedestrian safety on Hong Kong's Transport Department website.
For further information, refer to the Hong Kong Road Safety Tips.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
The Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (ACSW) is a non-government charitable organization that works to raise awareness of sexual violence against women and promotes a gender equal environment. The Association, advocates for both the government and the community to provide adequate support to victims, to defend their rights and restore their lives with confidence and dignity.
The Association operates RainLily Legal Clinic (service unit) and Anti-480 Anti Sexual Violence Resource Centre (education).

University of California Policy

Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/o​r University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local partners and/or UCEAP staff if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Environmental Hazards
During the typhoon season (July-September), the Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon warnings an average of six times a year and heavy rainstorm alerts more frequently. The Hong Kong Observatory has an excellent notification and monitoring system. If the government announces a Typhoon Signal 8 or above or a Black Rainstorm Warning, many facilities in Hong Kong close and bridges may close to traffic.
Fire Safety

Fire - Dial 999

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. Facilities are strategically located to provide emergency response for all areas. 


Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country, as they differ drastically around the world.
  • Locate the nearest emergency exists and make sure they are not obstructed.
  • Know the sound of the fire alarm; not all alarms will sound the same.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. The Fire Safety Foundation has  a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. They will ship to your host country address.
  • Have an escape plan.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need in order to leave the building.

Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section 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 US

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.


If you are abroad

Ambulance, Fire, Police: call 999

US Consulate in Hong Kong

American Citizen Services
26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Phone: (011-852) 2841-2211
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
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 US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory 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, UC security providers, US Embassy, US 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 evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
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.