Travel reports Hong Kong Polytechnic Autumn semester

Autumn 2018

I was on exchange in Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) during HT2018. I will share my experience as well as feelings for you who have willingness to catch a glimpse of life there. I have selected five courses in total which is a fairly common practice. As an exchange student, you will have your host department as decided in the application process. At least half credits are required to be obtained from the host department. 

So, I have selected three courses (Economics, Corporate Finance, and Advanced Financial Accounting) offered by School of Accounting and Finance which is my host department and two additional courses (Statistics and Cantonese) from other departments out of interests. The process of choosing courses is very convenient by sending email to the host department after referring to course introduction on webpages of each department. You may also change the courses during the add/drop period (the first two weeks) if you feel disinterested or any other reasons provided there is a vacancy.

Specifically, I think Cantonese course is very interesting and useful in understanding Hong Kong and its culture as well as people’s life. We have learned the tone, pronunciation, basic daily dialogue, word translation and finally we had a role play show, which is full of laughter. Another course which impressed me a lot is Economics which is more or less at introduction level. However, my seminar tutor is very intelligent who always inspires you think questions deeply, even it is simple and basic where people always take for granted. Normally, we have mid-term exams in the beginning of November which account for 30% or so of total credits, together with 20% continuous assessments about attendance, presentation, etc. and 50% for final exam.

Different from study in Sweden which takes one course each time, study in Hong Kong goes in parallel for all the courses. In this sense, you can manage your time in a more flexible way during the semester, while engaging with heavier work load in the exam period. Besides the final written exam, each course usually contains one group work with subsequent group presentation according to the class schedule. Overall speaking, to pass the exam is not that hard and I would say it demands roughly the same compared to UU. However, the grading system have more elaborate divisions with A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc. and it would be hard to get A grades. D is the minimum requirement to pass and that would not cost too much effort.

PolyU offers student accommodation to all exchange students with most rooms are in Hung Hom, which is in my view a very central place and convenient to travel around. Each room is shared by two students with two beds and two tables. A common washroom with two basins, one toilet and one small bathroom inside is shared by two neighbouring rooms i.e. four students. In Hung Hom hall, there are piano rooms, video game rooms, meditation rooms, gym, swimming pool, laundry rooms, places for table tennis and dancing, all on the second floor. There are also student canteen and study rooms on the first floor. By just five-minute walking, you can find supermarkets, restaurants and snack streets, which provide super delicious food like egg waffle, bubble tea, roasted meet, BBQ pork and so on and they are all very cheap compared to food in Sweden! I personally think Hung Hom hall can meet my needs and beyond my imagination.

The living expenses are rather cheap in Hong Kong in comparison with Sweden as a whole. The fee for accommodation is one-off paid roughly 5000 kr for the whole semester, including utilities like water and electricity as well as network. Normally a meal costs around 30-40 kr in student canteen and varies if you eat in restaurants outside university. You can also cook by yourself in Hung Hom although you may need to buy cooking equipment like pots by yourself since only induction cooker and oven are provided. It is cheap and quick to easily eat in canteen.

If we say there are 10 months out of 12 in Sweden are in winter, Hong Kong is on the another extreme with 10 months in summer. People often hang out to go barbeque, shopping, and more frequently go hiking. There are hundreds of mountains in Hong Kong where people can spend a whole day in a good weather. As a girl, I often go shopping with my roommate when big shopping malls often offer big discounts in festivals such as Christmas. One of my friends said, “it’s the most happy experience in Christmas with grand atmosphere.”

Hong Kong is a place where everything is possible. Thousands of people meet here and communicate with others. Several different languages can be heard on street at the same time and you may use all of them with body language to talk with new friends. I shall never forget the colorful and wonderful mix.