Preparing to Go: Hong Kong

Overview

Spring 2018 Pre-Departure PowerPoint: Hong Kong Center (coming soon)

Spring 2018 Pre-Departure PowerPoint: CityU Direct Enroll (coming soon)

Syracuse Hong Kong Program Dates

Syracuse University in Hong Kong
Jockey Club Environmental Building
Room 1, G/F., 77 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC
Tel: (852) 2776-4846
Fax: (852) 2778-4876

Syracuse Hong Kong Center – Housing
Grand Blossom House
No. 123, Bulkeley Street
Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC
Tel: (852) 2142 0332
www.grandblossom.com.hk

City University of Hong Kong – Housing
Hall 1-11 Student Residence
City University of Hong Kong
22 Cornwell St., Kowloon Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC
Tel: (852) 3442-1200
Fax: (852) 2794-7716
www.cityu.edu.hk/sro

Hong Kong staff contact information

Dr. Aleksandra Thurman, director, aethurma@syr.edu
Ms. Josette Li, program manager, josette@cityu.edu.hk
Ms. Julion Lam, program manager, juliolam@cityu.edu.hk
Ms. Iris Shum, program assistant, ceiriscy@cityu.edu.hk

Mail should be sent to the student’s attention at the Grand Blossom House address:

ATTN: Student’s Name
Apartment number, floor number
Grand Blossom House
No. 123, Bulkeley Street
Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC

Staying Connected on Social Media: Twitter: @SyracuseAbroad; Instagram: @syracuseabroad; Facebook: Syracuse Abroad


Getting to Know Hong Kong

There are two options with regard to travel to Hong Kong. You can choose to take a group flight arranged by Advantage Travel, or you may choose to make your own travel arrangements and meet the group upon arrival in Hong Kong.

Group Flights

Taking a group flight allows you the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong with other students on our program, as well as with a Syracuse University group flight leader. Upon arrival in Hong Kong, you will be met at the airport and taken by bus to the Syracuse housing to begin orientation activities.

Group flight tickets are round-trip. It is important to note, however, that group flight leaders are not on the return flights to the U.S. Transportation to the airport is also provided  for your return to the U.S.  Students who change the date of their return flight are responsible for their own transportation to the airport.

Independent Travel

Students who choose to travel independently to Hong Kong will receive an independent travel memo, detailing where to meet the group upon arrival in Hong Kong. You will need to take a taxi from the airport in Hong Kong to your housing. The taxi fare is approximately HK$400/US$50.


Living in Hong Kong

Housing and Facilities

Syracuse Center students will be housed in the Grand Blossom House apartment building. Like all accommodations in Hong Kong, your lodgings will be significantly smaller than you are accustomed to. Hong Kong real estate is among the most expensive in the world and a family of four typically live in an apartment with living space of 300 to 600 square feet. Living in this style of housing will be part of your cultural adjustment to Hong Kong.

Grand Blossom House: Each apartment at Grand Blossom House has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a small kitchen, and a small sitting area. All bedding and bed linens are provided. You will need to bring a towel or purchase towels when you arrive. The apartments also include a small washing machine, but no dryer. Limited laundry services are available to occupants of Grand Blossom House. There is also a laundromat across the street from the apartment building. Students take the subway to CityU, which is approximately a 25 minute commute.

Housing for City University direct enroll students: City University direct enroll students will live in dormitories. If space in the dormitory is unavailable for a given semester, direct enroll students will live in the Grand Blossom House apartment building.

CityU dorms do not provide bedding. Students can lease bedding from CityU upon arrival or purchase bed linens inexpensively near campus. Students should not bring bedding with them. Towels can also be purchased on-site.

All Syracuse Hong Kong students have access to City University facilities, including the on-campus health center, library, a sports complex, and an Olympic-sized pool. You can dine inexpensively at CityU’s four cafeterias or at any of the city’s local restaurants, take-outs, and noodle shops. Meals are not included in your program fee, so you will need to budget accordingly.

NOTE: You may not host overnight guests during your semester abroad. Visiting friends and family should make hotel reservations.

Cultural Adjustment

When you arrive in Hong Kong you will naturally experience a period of adjustment. The culture is different than in the United States or other areas of the Western world, and you may find it more challenging to adjust to than you expected. One of the largest challenges students face is acclimating to smaller spaces. Your housing accommodations will be tight, but in time you will grow accustomed to this style of living. In addition, you may find that Hong Kong residents stand closer together when they speak or while commuting via public transportation. This is all part of learning to operate with less personal space.

You may experience a period of adjustment with the food in Hong Kong as well. You may want to pack some familiar snacks to help ease this adjustment.

Transportation

Hong Kong is a compact city well-served by various modes of public transport. Railways, buses, minibuses, and taxis run through the entire territory and provide easy and affordable means to get around. Traffic jams are common, particularly during peak hours. The CityU campus, which is linked to the Kowloon Tong Station by a pedestrian subway, has the advantage of being served by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

Syracuse Center students will receive a monthly stipend, included in the program fee, for transportation between your housing and CityU to cover the commute during the academic portion of the program, Module B.

Octopus Card: This electronic, stored-value card provides the most convenient way to travel. It can be purchased at any MTR station and can be used on the MTR, public buses, and green minibuses. The Octopus card can also be used to make food and convenience purchases at designated stores such as 7-Eleven, supermarkets, vending machines, university centers, and other university paid services (e.g., photocopying).

MTR: The MTR is an air-conditioned railway servicing areas in Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and New Territories. Normal operating hours are 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. and tickets are available for purchase at all stations. For more information on the MTR system, visit www.mtr.com.hk/eng/homepage/ .

Buses: Five bus companies operate in Hong Kong. There are double-decker buses and coaches, and all are air-conditioned. Buses can be flagged down at designated bus stops. Fares are displayed and the exact amount should be inserted into the coin box or paid by Octopus Card. No tickets are issued and no change will be given. Bus services usually stop around midnight.

Minibuses: Two kinds of minibuses operate in Hong Kong. Green minibuses operate on fixed routes at fixed fares and have fixed stations. Fares are paid in the same way as the buses and no change will be given. They normally stop running before midnight. The red minibuses have various routes and destinations. Passengers can board and disembark from red minibuses anywhere along the route, in accordance with traffic regulations. Fares are normally paid directly to the driver and change is given. Both types of minibuses display their destinations and fares.

Taxis: Three kinds of taxis operate in Hong Kong: Red taxis operate on Kowloon and Hong Kong Island; green taxis operate in the New Territories; blue taxis operate on Lantau Island. From the Hong Kong airport to CityU or program housing on Kowloon, only red taxis can be used. Taxis operate around the clock and can be flagged down anywhere, except in restricted areas. Luggage is charged by the piece and the maximum number of passengers per taxi is five. Fares are charged according to approved scales and applicable tolls.

Computer Information

We recommend that you bring your own computers. Ensure that your computer will work on 220/240-volt, 50-cycle current. If your computer only works on 110/120-volt, 60-cycle current, you will need an adapter/converter. These are available from most local electronics stores or can be purchased once you arrive in Hong Kong.

Students have access to CityU’s Computing Service Center, which provides approximately 900 computers. The center is open from 8:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m. every day. Each apartment will have WiFi and there are also local commercial establishments where you can pay to use computers with Internet access. You can also enjoy Eduroam WiFi service at the local university campus by logging in with your Syracuse email account.

Cell Phones

There are two options for student cell phone use in Hong Kong:

You can buy a new cell phone once you arrive in Hong Kong. Syracuse Abroad will arrange for City University student assistants to help you purchase a new cell phone and SIM card.

You can also bring your own unlocked cell phone from the United States. Once you arrive you can purchase a SIM card at a 7-Eleven convenience store and a telephone number is provided. You will also need to purchase a prepaid calling card.

Most of the telephone systems used around the globe such as GSM 900, PCS 1800, CDMA, and WCDMA can operate in Hong Kong. Phones can be purchased at Fortress, Broadway, or Chung Yuen Electrical Appliance Shop. Service providers include: CSL, China Mobile, SmarTone, China Unicom, or 3. CSL is the recommended service provider and is located only a couple of blocks from the SU housing.

To make an international call in Hong Kong you must dial 001 or, if you use a stored-value IDD calling card purchased in Hong Kong, another prefix as shown in the dialing instructions provided with the card.

Because making and receiving international calls on a cell phone will incur expensive charges, consider using services such as Skype to speak with your friends and family in the United States.


Finances

Syracuse Hong Kong Financial Planning Budget 2017-18

Banking

You will find that you will use cash more frequently in Hong Kong than you do in the United States. While most businesses in Hong Kong accept Visa/MasterCard and American Express, there is often a minimum purchase required. Therefore, you will use cash more frequently for smaller purchases and your credit card for larger purchases.

An ATM card with an international PIN is the best way to get cash in Hong Kong. ATMs are widely accessible in China. Check with your bank to be sure your ATM card can be used in foreign countries, and to get information on your bank’s service fees for international ATM withdrawals.

Currency Exchange

 

It is suggested that you exchange about U.S. $100 into Hong Kong dollars prior to arrival in Hong Kong. You can exchange U.S. dollars to Hong Kong dollars for a minimal fee at a U.S. bank (it could take several days to two weeks depending on the size and location of your bank). It is not recommended that you withdraw cash from an ATM or the money exchange shop at the Hong Kong airport because of the higher exchange rate. If you must do so, withdraw/exchange only a small amount. You can withdraw/exchange money once you are in the city center.

Bank Locations

There is a Hang Seng Bank branch located on the CityU campus. Branch offices of common U.S. banks such as HSBC, Bank of America, and Citibank are located off campus.


Academic Information

Enrollment

Syracuse Hong Kong Center students must be registered for coursework in each of the three modules: Module A – the Signature Seminar, Module B – a ten-week period of intensive classroom instruction, and Module C – a five-week period devoted to credit-bearing independent research or an internship worth three credits. All undergraduate students are required to enroll on a full-time basis (a minimum of 12 credits for undergraduates), including up to 13 Module B credits. The maximum undergraduate credit load for all three modules is 19 credits.

Syracuse Hong Kong Center students are required to enroll in the Signature Seminar and those with no Chinese language background must register for an introductory language course in Mandarin or Cantonese. The Signature Seminar may not be dropped.

Some courses may not be audited. These include courses required by the program, CityU courses, and Module C courses.

City University direct enroll students take 12-15 credits at City University. In fall semesters, CityU direct enroll students have the option of participating in the Signature Seminar for two additional credits.

Module C grades: All Module C internships must be taken for a letter grade; Pass/Fail grading is not an option for these courses. The posting of final grades for Module C internships and independent research may be several weeks later than the posting of final grades for Syracuse Hong Kong Center Module B courses.

Grades for CityU direct enroll participants: Final grades for courses taken at City University may not be received and posted to Syracuse’s student records system until early February for fall semester and early August for spring semester.

Registration

Syracuse Hong Kong Center students: You will register online for your Module B classes during the semester prior to departure. Detailed registration instructions will be sent to you about two weeks before the scheduled registration starts.

City University of Hong Kong students: You will be pre-registered by CityU based on the first-choice classes and alternates you list on your Student Advising Form. Registrations are finalized in Hong Kong.