Higher Education in Hong Kong
Universities called "statutory universities" have been approved by the Chief Executive-in-Council of Hong Kong and are funded by the University Grants Committee. An exception to this is the Open University of Hong Kong, which is a self-financing school and does not rely on the UGC for funding. Statutory universities are research-intensive and accept only the best students. In fact, the average I.Q. of Chinese students attending Hong Kong higher education institututions is one of the highest in the world.
Post secondary colleges offer bachelor and master's degrees and are registered under an ordinance called the Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance of Hong Kong. International students will also find vocational-type colleges like the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education that are operated by a council separate from the councils governing statutory and post secondary colleges.
University tuition varies among institutions but students can expect to pay approximately $100,000 in U.S. dollars, or 73,000 euros to earn a degree in Hong Kong. Students are strongly urged to apply for any scholarships available to help offset the high cost of tuition. Be aware that student medical insurance premiums are also expensive, as well as the cost of food, clothing and accommodations in Hong Kong.
Applying for a Student Visa
Expect to wait at least two months before receiving your student visa from the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Students will need to fill out a visa/entry application form and mail the following documents along with the form: copy of driver's license or other photo identification card; proof of educational qualifications (high school diploma, entrance scores, any previous degrees earned); one passport photograph; letter of admission from a Hong Kong university; proof of financial standing (scholarship awards, bank statements) and proof that the student has a place to stay while in Hong Kong, whether it is on campus, with a host family or in an apartment.
Why Study In Hong Kong?
Besides offering structurally and academically superior degree programs that are run by what many consider to be one of the world's top education ministries, Hong Kong bestows degrees that are highly valued and recognized by employers and research institutes in all areas of the globe. In addition, the intellectually open society in Hong Kong facilitates opportunities for students to explore other academic subjects and levels of thought not found anywhere else.
Hong Kong consists of the island of Hong Kong (32 sq mi; 83 sq km), Stonecutters' Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories on the adjoining mainland. The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1841. Stonecutters' Island and Kowloon were annexed in 1860, and the New Territories, which are mainly agricultural lands, were leased from China in 1898 for 99 years. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China. The vibrant capitalist enclave retains its status as a free port, with its laws to remain unchanged for 50 years.
Sharing the title of Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China with Macau, Hong Kong is a city-state located on the south coast of China and bordered by the South China Sea and Pearl River Delta. With a population nearing seven and a half million people and a land area of only 430 miles, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely population regions, primarily comprised of ethnic Han Chinese. Existing under the axiom of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong operates under different political policies and laws than China, functioning more like a western, democratic style government in comparison to China's priniciples of communism. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the head of government and is elected by an Election Committee determined by a democratic process of voting.
Hong Kong is viewed as one of the leading financial centers in the world and thrives on a capitalistic service economy typified by free trade and low taxation. Because of the lack of space within the city, its architecture is unique and ultramodern-appearing. In fact, Hong Kong has famously been renamed as the world's only "vertical city" that features a spectacular skyline sometimes obscured by thick layers of smog coming from hundreds of thousands of vehicles and too many businesses compressed into such a small area. However, due to this dense population, Hong Kong has developed an extremely advanced transportation network that overshadows all other transportation systems in the developed world.
Although Hong Kong offers the chance for individuals to obtain secure employment that pays excellent wages, the cost of living is quite high and may unsettle students who chose to earn a degree in this city-state. However, students should not be alarmed when they discover how much it costs to live in Hong Kong. With low taxes, premium health care, high quality of life and remarkable higher education opportunities, Hong Kong remains a popular place for international students to obtain degrees and experience the hustle and bustle of fascinating Hong Kong.
Climate in Hong Kong
Fluctuating between temperate and sub-tropical climates, Hong Kong's most pleasant time of the year weather-wise is from November to January, when temperatures are comfortable and sunshine is plentiful. Humidity rises in March and April, with foggy conditions often delaying ferry and airplane services. May through August is hot, humid and stormy, with the average daytime temperatures hovering around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, or 31 Celsius. During August and September, Hong Kong is frequently hit by tropical cyclones that form in the China Seas or western North Pacific Ocean. Winds are strong from cyclones but generally do not cause extensive damage in the city.
Religions in Hong Kong
Religious freedom in Hong Kong is guaranteed according to its constitution and Basic Law. Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism comprise its primary religions, with smatterings of Christianity, Catholicism, Muslim and Jewish practitioners found throughout the area. However, many Hong Kong residents have no religious affiliation and consider themselves atheists or agnostic. Falun Gong is also tolerated in Hong Kong but not in mainland China, where the communist party views this religion as a threat to the state due to its brand of spiritual teachings.
Languages in Hong Kong
The official languages of Hong Kong are Cantonese (a form of Chinese) and English. Nearly half of Hong Kong's residents have adequate knowledge of English and students will find that most signs display both English and Chinese text. Recently, an increase in the number of mainland China immigrants has led to the Mandarin Chinese language becoming more frequently heard in Hong Kong society.
Hong Kong Currency
The HKD, or Hong Kong dollar, is Hong Kong's currency and is one of the most traded currencies in the world. The Hong Kong dollar is divided into 100 cents, with various denominations of coins and banknotes circulating in the city-state.