What will be the expected date of arrival?

All incoming exchange students are expected to arrive HKU to attend the orientation events before the semester start. The orientation normally start 1 week before the semseter start. 

All incoming exchange students must show up in the first week of teaching. If you can not make it on time, please let us know as soon as possible. 

For the date of semester (or Academic Schedule) of HKU, you may refer to Important Academic Dates.

How do I register for courses?

A: The courses shown on your admission letter only indicates you are eligible for the course. You are still required to register for courses through course selection system.

Course enrollment is done on-line via your HKU Portal on a first-come-first-served basis. To access the course selection system, please login to HKU Portal > Student Information System > SIS Menu > Enrollment > Enrollment Add Classes. You may refer to How to select a course on SIS for demonstration.

When is the course selection period?

A: Course selection period for Semester 1 usually begins 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. Course selection period for Semester 2 usually is the first 2 weeks. You can access online course selection system and add / drop courses within this period. Please refer to Important Academic Dates.

When will I receive my HKU Portal account details?

A: Your University number, Portal ID and PIN will be sent to you by email 1-2 weeks before semester starts. 

After you obtain your HKU Portal account details, you should immediately login HKU Portal >MyPage >  Self-Service > Master Registration to complete your online Master Registration. If you do not complete online Master Registration, your Student Registration Card cannot be issued and you cannot enroll on any course. 

How do I preview courses and timetables?

A: After completing Online Master Registration, you may preview optional course list and corresponding timetable of your curriculum on HKU Portal. However, you are unable to enroll in any courses before the course selection period starts. 

What should I do if I cannot register for the courses I am interested?

A: Most of the courses can be registered online through HKU Portal. Courses which cannot be registered online can be registered by using paper Add/Drop form. Add/Drop form should be submitted to the course-offering department for approval. 

For any reasons that you must take a particular course, you should consult the course teacher in the teaching department and state your reason(s) for his/her consideration.

What can I do if I wish to learn Chinese?

A: You may enroll in the credit bearing Chinese courses run by the School of Chinese. The School runs Cantonese courses and Chinese Language Courses for foreign students. Please visit School of Chinese for more information.

Also, you may join join “Survival Cantonese”, which is jointly organised by CEDARS-CoPE and Chinese Language Centre. You will practise 30 daily use Cantonese phrases with local student tutors and gain a chance to befriend local students.

How are subjects qualified for credit transfer back to my home institution?

A: You should check carefully with your home institutions about credit transfer of courses.

Should I apply for an official transcript?

A: For exchange students who have completed their study at HKU, we will arrange and send an official transcript to the corresponding partner Universities of the students concerned by mail. A softcopy of the transcript will be sent by email to your home university beforehand. It takes at least 10 to 20 working days to produce the transcript. 

Alternatively, you can apply for a copy for your own record. Please apply online or login your HKU portal to submit the application for transcript.


When can I move in to halls?

A: You will need to confirm your check-in day with your hall before coming to Hong Kong. You are encouraged to arrive during regular business hours in so you can easily check into your room.

What is the housing provision for exchange students?

A: Please refer to Accommodation for more information.

How much should I pay for lodging fee?

A: Please visit Fees for Students Residing. Fees are normally adjusted annually. 

What if I cannot get a room in Hall/ Residential College?

A: When all hall or Residential College vacancies for non-local undergraduate students are filled, students will be assigned a place in a “non-hall” student housing like Pokfield Road Residences (PRR).

The lodging fee for undergraduate students in PRR is same as that of other university-administered halls or residential colleges. In addition, residents will be charged for air-conditioning fees and they have to pay smartcard deposits.

What if I cannot even get a “non-hall” student housing?

A: Privately rented accommodation is another option for you. Private accommodation is relatively more expensive than living in halls. Most landlords look for long-term tenancy of at least a year. If you wish to look for privately rented accommodation, you are strongly advised to arrive earlier, so that you will have ample time for property inspection and rental negotiation. 

The monthly rental starts from HK$4,000 up for a small single room and HK$10,000 or more for a flat. A set of guidelines on tenancy matters can be found on CEDARS.

Can I arrange for off-campus housing?

A: Yes, however keep in mind that off-campus accommodations are scarce and extremely expensive. Housing is in great demand throughout Hong Kong and living space for most residents is restricted.

Can I get any bursary if I live in an off-campus residence?

A: CEDARS has introduced “Bursary Scheme for Outside Accommodation” to non-local undergraduate students in order to enrich their residential experience. The Scheme serves good educational value for non-local students if they live in the community. Students can understand more and be better integrated into the local community. For details, please contact Accommodation Service.

What is the arrangement for meal plans?

A: Meal plan is only available for residents in St. John’s College, Ricci Hall and University Hall. It costs HK$8,800-$11,600 approximately.

Besides, there are currently several dining facilities on campus, ranging from quick/simple meals to full multi-course provision of both Chinese and Western styles. The cost per meal falls approximately within the range of HK$20-50. Also, there are many restaurants/cafeterias within easy walking distance of the campus offering a wide range of prices.

What facilities do Hall/ Residential College provide?

A: All halls and Residential Colleges have common rooms and recreational facilities. Each floor has its own pantry and is equipped with refrigerator, microwave oven, hotplate, water boiler and drinking fountain. Communal bathroom and toilet facilities are provided on each floor. All rooms are airconditioned and are furnished with bed and mattress. Each student is provided with a closet, writing desk with lamp, chair and bookshelf. Individual network point and a shared telephone line are provided in every room in most of the halls. Coin/smartcard-operated washing and drying machines are provided in every hall as well.

Are linens and towels provided?

A: Linens and towels are not included. Students typically purchase linens and towels after arrival.

On Arrival

How to apply for a Hong Kong identity card?

A: If your length of stay in HK is more than 180 days, you need to apply for a HKID card. The application procedure can be found on Hong Kong Immigration Department

What are the suggested arrival and departure dates?

A: You should try to arrive at least one week prior to class begins as orientation programmes will be held during that week for international students.

Before departure, you must complete all programme requirements, examinations, assignments and clearance procedures. 

The preferred arrival and departure dates for exchange students are, respectively, in the last week of August and late December for the 1st (Fall) Semester, and the second week of January and late May for the 2nd (Spring) Semester. Final examinations are completed before Christmas in the 1st (Fall) Semester and before the end of May in the 2nd (Spring) Semester. 

Should I purchase an insurance plan?

A: You should arrange, at your own cost, accident and sickness insurance for the duration of their studies in Hong Kong. The coverage should include provisions for emergency evacuation/rescuer's expenses and repatriation. If you plan to travel outside Hong Kong, you should make sure that your insurance policy covers those destinations as well. 

What should I do if my student visa is not validated?

A: If it is the case, you probably have entered Hong Kong as a tourist as some foreign passport holders may visit Hong Kong without a visa. You may simply exit and re-enter Hong Kong and activate your student visa by presenting your student visa label (or entry permit label for Mainland Chinese students) to the immigration officer upon re-entry. 

After inspection, the officer on duty may grant you entry to Hong Kong as a student. By then, your student visa status is validated. With the validated student visa (or entry permit), the University can formally enroll you as a student under the laws in Hong Kong.

Can I use my own laptop at HKU?

A: Yes. Most areas on the HKU main campus are equipped with WiFi connection. Student residential halls are connected to the HKU Campus Network, with a network point provided for each hall resident. Please see Hall Network for setting up your internet connection in the halls.

Are there any gym facilities at HKU?

A: There are two gyms in HKU. If you want to use these and you already have a gym membership card from a sports institution or your home school, please bring these with you so that you can be exempted from having to take a gym training class again before getting a HKU gym card.

Studying at HKU

What should I do if I have learning disabilities?

A: HKU welcomes students with special needs. If you have physical, senor, mental, learning, developmental disabilities or SEN are encouraged to contact CEDARS-Counselling and Person Enrichment (CoPE) for the support service available. 

Please visit SEN Support or email for details.

How to find a classroom?

A: Know the meaning of the abbreviations of the classrooms will help you find their location, please see map

Where can I find the contact of my faculty?

Is there any financial aid for non-local students?

A: Like most countries, the HKSAR government or the University does not provide financial aid to non-local students. It is therefore important for you to plan your budget well and ensure that you will have adequate financial resources to cover all of your expenses during your stay in Hong Kong.

Living in Hong Kong

What is the general nature of the population of Hong Kong?

A: The majority of Hong Kong’s 7 million people are ethnically Chinese, though there is also a large expatriate community. 

The official languages include both English and Chinese. While English is commonly used as an official language and is almost always employed in business and government dealings, Cantonese is the dialect most often heard in the streets of Hong Kong. Many people in Hong Kong also speak Mandarin and the number of Mandarin speakers is now on the rise.

How is the weather in Hong Kong?

A: The climate of Hong Kong is sub-tropical. May to October is hot and humid usually with occasional heavy rainfall. Sometimes Hong Kong is hit by a tropical typhoon. From November to December, the temperature drops and the weather becomes less humid. January to March can be very cool with some fog and light rain with the average temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C (40°F-59°F). Winter clothing is needed. April to May is unpredictable with temperature ranging from cool to pleasant.

Can I use my 110-120v electrical appliances from other countries?

A: No. Electrical voltage in Hong Kong is 220-240v. You can buy small appliances such as hairdryers, curling irons, etc., easily in Hong Kong after you arrive. If you bring your own appliances make sure they are 220-240 adaptable.

What's the general budget I should expect for living expenses?

A: Please visit Finances for major expenditures. 

Can I use my phone from home in Hong Kong?

A: If you want to use your mobile phone from home in Hong Kong, you must check whether it supports the GSM network first. If it does, you then need to check whether the phone is locked to your original mobile provider and how you can get it unlocked (some telecommunications stores can do this for you).

As you will stay in Hong Kong for a while and roaming service is very expensive, you should get a Hong Kong mobile number, either through a prepaid card or a fixed tariff.

Where can I buy prepaid cards for mobile phones?

A: Prepaid SIM cards are available at convenience stores (Circle K, 7-11). Cards are normally with a certain number of airtime and cost around HK$200. Be aware that cards are normally only valid for 180 days after the last recharge. After this period the card expires with no refund available and you lose the number.

How to open a bank account in Hong Kong?

A: To open any kind of account you need your identification documents, such as your passport and your Student Card. You will also have to show a proof of your Hong Kong address. If you live on campus, you can obtain a proof of residence from OISE.

Where can I find ATM service?

A: All banks offer ATM service, but they may be in different systems (such as HSBC ATM system and the Jetco system). Check the reverse of your bankcard to confirm and to avoid additional charge. 

Can I withdraw foreign currency from ATMs?

A: In general, ATMs do not support withdrawals of foreign currency. However, some ATMs provide cash in RMB. Bank charges can vary significantly between different banks and also depend on the type of account and service package you order, so it is worth shopping around and comparing carefully.

Where can I get medical service?

A: University Health Service (UHS) provides comprehensive primary health care to registered students at a clinic on the main campus. Medical consultations are generally free of charge. Certain medications, preventive services and other items are charged at cost. A notional charge is also levied for dental treatment and physiotherapy treatment at the UHS.

While studying for the exchange semester, can I work in Hong Kong?

A: No. Most non-local students, without a HKID card, will need to apply for a student visa to study in Hong Kong. Student visas are usually granted subject to the condition that the student shall not take any kind of employment, whether paid or unpaid, during their exchange studies. 

Where can I find my consulate?

I understand that a Student Octopus Card is a debit card which can be used on many transportation and convenient shops in HK. How can I apply for one?

A: You can get a Octopus Card application form at your Faculty Office, fill in your details and submit it to the Mass Transit Railway Offices.


I wish to travel to Mainland China during the semester break. Do I need to apply for a separate tourist visa to the Mainland?

A: Yes, you need to apply for a separate tourist visa to enter Mainland China. Application procedures and details can be found on China Travel Service Agency.

Can I stay behind for a while after I finish my exchange study at HKU?

A: All non-local students are bound by the limit of stay stated in their student visa. Staying beyond the allowed period in Hong Kong will be considered as breaching the immigration regulations. Please check your student visa and exit Hong Kong before the date stated in your student visa. Some foreign passport holders may enter Hong Kong as a tourist on visa-free basis. 

If you would need to stay in Hong Kong for a longer time, you may exit Hong Kong before your student visa expires and re-enter as a tourist. Please check the websites of the Hong Kong Immigration Department or the ministry of foreign affairs of your home country to confirm the visa requirement.