Introduction to Hong Kong!

25 January 2019

Charlotte De Klopstein studies Management Science and is at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for the year. Find out how she's getting on below!

Charlotte blog 1

I arrived in Hong Kong in October and already feel like a true “Hong Konger”. Far different from what I expected, the city has kept on surprising me since day one, and I still keep my eyes wide open every time I go sightseeing. Hong Kong is bustling and vibrant, crowded with traffic, delightful and noisy. Modernity embraces tradition, and every corner of the city reflects the shock between Western and Asian cultures.

Although I experienced quite a cultural shock during my first week, I was soon to be seduced by the variety of landscapes and the tremendous amounts of activities to do. Hong Kong isn’t just a busy city with lots of office towers and skyscrapers. It is also a city of mountains, hiking trails, beaches and fishing villages. Between strolling in the streets with the locals, going to the horse races at happy valley, discovering the local food and enjoying the nightlife, living in Hong Kong is the best experience for a year abroad student.


Getting around in the university was also very easy. HKUST being a campus, the university life is very different from UCL’s. HKUST offers an amazing study environment, with an incredible view upon Clear Water Bay. The university provides many recreational and sports facilities, and plenty of student activities are organised every week. Whether you want to take a windsurfing course during two days or learn how to make mooncakes with the Chinese Folk society, HKUST gives you the opportunity to fully enjoy your year abroad in Hong Kong.

However, I was disappointed to see that exchange students usually do not participate or get involved in societies, that are mainly for full-time students staying at the university for a couple of years. In terms of academics, the teaching method is very different from UCL. Depending on the chosen modules and topics, students are evaluated on a more regular basis, with assignments, tests, presentations or quizzes coming up every week. While at UCL, most of the degrees only have exams at the end of the year, HKUST students have to take mid-terms and finals twice per year. The grading system also differs in that the grades are assigned relatively to the class level. Nevertheless, there is a great variety of courses students can choose from according to their preferences and adjust the workload.

Hong Kong Street

Living in Hong Kong also offers the opportunity to travel all around Asia. Exchange students are always on the look for organising the next trip to Taipei, Vietnam, or go backpacking in the Philippines. Being a student at HKUST gives you the chance to discover the Asian culture from the inside and apprehend its legacy. As part of my year abroad objectives, I decided to get involved in many China-related courses to get a better understanding of the history of China, and of its current situation. I am currently undertaking modules about Chinese literature and history, as well as innovation and technology in Hong Kong. Understanding the history of China is key to get a better apprehension of the challenges it faces today, and travelling around Asia will give you the opportunity to witness it with your own eyes.

When I left, I thought this year abroad would widen my views of the world through meeting international and local people and travelling around Asia. But it is only when I got here that I realised how true this was. Everything that I wished for my year abroad is fulfilled at HKUST, and after a short adaptation time, I perfectly see myself staying for a year.

By Charlotte De Klopstein