Preparing to Go: Hong Kong


Syracuse Hong Kong Program Dates

Syracuse Hong Kong Center mailing address

Syracuse University in Hong Kong
Jockey Club Environmental Building
Room 1, G/F., 77 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC

Hong Kong staff contact information

Ms. Josette Li, program manager,
Ms. Iris Shum, program assistant, 
Ms. Kelly Zhao, clerical assistant,

Mail should be sent to the student’s attention at their housing address:

Syracuse Hong Kong Center – Housing
Grand Blossom House
No. 123, Bulkeley Street
Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PRC

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

Travel to Hong Kong

There are two options for traveling 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 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.

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. The size of the beds are not as large as in the U.S.  They are typically 3′ x 6′.  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 door-to-door.

Housing for City University direct enroll students: CityU 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 CityU facilities, including the on-campus health clinic and library. 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.


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 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 and printing).

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. Visit the MTR system webpage for more information.

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 Services Center, which provides approximately 900 computers. The center is open from 8:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m. every day. Each apartment will have WiFi. Eduroam WiFi service is available on campus by logging in with your Syracuse NetID.

Cell Phones

There are two options for cell phones in Hong Kong:

  1. You can buy an inexpensive new cell phone once you arrive in Hong Kong. During orientation, you may ask one of the CityU student ambassadors assisting you to help you purchase a new cell phone and SIM card. Phones can be purchased at Fortress, Broadway (both of these stores are located in the ground level of Festival Walk which is the mall close to CityU), or other electrical appliances stores like Suning, Wilson, or Chung Yuen.
  2. You can also bring your own unlocked cell phone from the United States. Once you arrive you can purchase a SIM card at a convenience store and a new telephone number is provided. You will also need to purchase a prepaid calling card.

There are two options for cell phone service plans in Hong Kong:

  1. Pre-paid card: You can get a pre-paid SIM card at 7-Eleven and Circle K convenience stores. Credits can be topped up at convenience stores at any time.
  2. Monthly Plan: You can also subscribe to a monthly plan at these local telecom service providers, 3, SmarTone and China Mobile. These stores are located only a couple of blocks from Syracuse housing. The plans and promotional offers vary by store.

Because making and receiving international calls on a cell phone will incur expensive charges, consider using services such as Skype, WhatsApp or WeChat to speak with your friends and family in the United States. Other alternatives would be to chat through iMessage, GroupMe, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, which also offer free messaging as long as the phone is connected to WiFi.


Syracuse Hong Kong Program Cost


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, American Express and Union Pay, there is often a minimum purchase required. Therefore, you will use cash more frequently for smaller purchases or at small vendors and your credit card for larger purchases or at large stores.  You can also request your credit card company to issue a card with Visa payWave or Mastercard PayPass function.

Please do not bring large sums of cash with you since Hong Kong banks will not exchange dollars and exchange windows charge large fees. Syracuse Hong Kong recommends that you arrive with approximately HK $770 (about US $100) in cash from your home bank and make future cash withdrawals at ATMs in Hong Kong.  An ATM card with an international PIN is the best way to get cash in Hong Kong. Most ATMs in Hong Kong are connected to the Cirrus, Plus, and Global Access System. 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.  Also, let your bank(s) know before you depart for Hong Kong about where and when you will be living abroad so they do not suspect fraudulent activity when you first use your card(s) abroad.  If you will be traveling outside of Hong Kong during the semester, you should also notify them of the destinations and dates.  This can be done on-line.

While not essential, it is a good idea to have a credit card under your name in case of an emergency.

Make copies of both sides of your credit and debit/ATM cards and keep them stored in a safe place.  If a card is lost or stolen, you will still have access to the important contact and account information on your card

Some alumni of the Syracuse Hong Kong program opened a Charles Schwab account prior to their semester in Hong Kong. You can easily and quickly create an account online. You get reimbursed for every ATM fee at the end of the month, and you can use it in any country, at any ATM, without paying any foreign transaction fees.  However, you do you need a minimum deposit of $2000 to create an account, but after creating the account, there is not any daily minimum balance or account maintenance fee.

If you travel to Mainland China during the course of your semester in Hong Kong, please note that foreign credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.) are not widely accepted by many businesses in Mainland China.  Cash can be withdrawn from ATMs which are widely accessible in Mainland China.

Bank Locations

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

Academic Information


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.


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 available to you about one or two weeks before the scheduled registration period starts.

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