Student Report: Hong Kong Polytechnic University Exchange semester: Fall, 2015 I. PRACTICAL INFORMATION Hong Kong is an amazing city and you should strongly consider to apply. An exchange experience in Hong Kong is a perfect combination of China and the western world. It offers everything! The city is safe, and people are polite and kind. With an effective metro system, you can easily move from the Kowloon side to the inspiring Hong Kong Island. Taxis are cheap and start at HKD 25. The weather is hot and humid from summer to late October (35 degrees), whereas in December it drops to around18 degrees. With more than 1300 skyscrapers in a relatively small area, the city is a metropolis with one of the highest population densities in the world. Another upside, is that you easily can escape to beaches and hiking experiences with great views. Applying for a Visa The university provides all mandatory forms and guides you through the application process. After you have been accepted to the university, the international exchange office at PolyU will contact you and send your information to the immigration office. Finally, they send you your visa by post. Costs Hong Kong can be an expensive city. Since there is a lot of people living on relatively little space, the housing market is under pressure. If you decide to live outside of the halls, you should expect to pay twice as much as in Oslo, for half the space. Because most apartments require a one-year-lease, you probably need to rent a serviced apartment which is more expensive too. However, if you decide to live in the halls, the costs are way cheaper. Monthly rent is about HKD 1300. We did not live halls, but we heard it is ok. Food at the school canteens is about HKD 25 for a hot meal. There is also a variety of dishes each day. Outside campus, a classic Chinese and Asian meal costs about HKD 50-100. There is also a variety of western restaurants which offer food at a Norwegian price level, HKD 150 <. Culture and Language Hong Kong can be seen as “Asia’s Manhattan”. The British heritage still has an impact on the city, there is order and the city runs efficiently. There is however a difference between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon side. The Island is hip and modern, whereas the Kowloon side is much more Chinese. People speak Cantonese, but you always find someone speaking English. There is also a lot of western expats who speak English, especially on the Island and in the modern parts of the city. It is important to remember that the inhabited parts of Hong Kong are the most densely populated in the whole world. You can expect to always see a lot of people in the streets. II. ABOUT THE SCHOOL The Campus The campus area is centrally placed on the Kowloon side. There is about 30,000 students, but there is a limited space. As elsewhere in Hong Kong, there are many buildings in a relatively small area. Campus is built in bricks and generally has a lower standard than BI in Oslo. On campus there are about three canteens, and two coffee shops. Current Faculty Divisions The university consists of six faculties and two schools: Faculty of Applied Science and Textiles, Faculty of Business, Faculty of Construction & Environment, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, alongside with School of Design & School of Hotel and Tourism Management. It offers more than 130 postgraduate, undergraduate and sub-degree programmes. Approx. Number of Students There is more than 30,000 student, but many are part time. There is also a lot of exchange students, where many are from mainland China. Of European exchange students, Germany and France are highly represented. Study Structure (post-graduate) 50 % of your grade will generally be the final exam, whereas the rest is divided between participation, midterm, group projects, papers, presentations and/ or homework (some of these). There is generally a lower level than in Norway, but you are forced to work simultaneously through the semester. The work load is on average equal to the Norwegian, except that you will work more evenly. Course Registration Through your application you select preferred subjects. A couple of months before the start of the semester, you can register all your courses online. The first two weeks of school you can also add and drop courses. Remember that 50 % of your subjects must be in your selected department. Were You Able to Register for Courses before Arrival? Any Difficulties? We registered before we arrived by assistance from the PolyU international exchange office. If the School Has a Lottery or Bidding System, Describe this System and Your Experience in Detail. N/A When and How Long Was the Period for Adding/ Dropping Courses? You can add and drop courses for two weeks. Academic Calendar Arrival date: First day of the semester: Last day of classes: Examination period: August 27 August 31 November 27 December 4-19 Any special events/holidays: A few days of public holiday during the fall semester. Other: Arrival Was the Administration and Faculty Well-prepared for Your Arrival? The faculty organized a welcoming event for all exchange students, including a welcoming party on the first Friday. They organize everything for you, including student-card etc. Did the School’s Students Participate in the Reception of the Exchange Students? You are assigned a buddy who will show you around and answer any questions you might have. Describe the Introduction Week? There are a couple of welcoming parties and a reception where you can meet other exchange students. The International Office Is There an International Office? All your communication with PolyU goes through their international office. As an Exchange Student, Did You Receive Sufficient and Relevant Information? In English? You receive all the information you need by email in English. They need a lot of information during your application process, but you receive sufficient instructions in advance. Promoting BI and Norway What Kind of Activities Were You Involved in to Promote Exchange to Norway at Your Exchange University? N/A Social activities How Was Your Relationship with Native Students? The Chinese culture is different, and at first the Chinese students can have a bit more childish appeal. There is no problem to communicate on group projects etc. We had a few relationships with Chinese people. How Was the Relationship Among the Exchange Students? There is a lot of exchange students, and they are easy to get in touch with. We have seen more to European students, especially Danish and French. Is There a Student Organization, and If So, Are the Exchange Students a Part of It? There is an international student organization. We believe it was more common among undergraduates. Are There Any Special Activities and Gatherings for Exchange Students? There is a PolyU facebook group for exchange student, where all exhibitions are posted. There is also the ANSA group on facebook. III. ACADEMICS In the Classroom Describe the Teaching Style. As in most universities, some professors are good teachers, whereas some are less qualified. Unlike BI, you are required to attend every class as this will be 10 % of your grade. They prefer participation in class, but not many Chinese participate. As exchange students, we were easily noticed in class, and it was not difficult to join the teachers’ reasoning. Language of Instruction All our professors spoke English, although some were a bit hard to understand at first. Is the Teaching Primarily Practical or Theoretical? We would say the teaching is primarily theoretical in the accounting classes. However, we took a Chinese economy class which was great and practically oriented. How Is the Workload Compared to That at BI? The academic level is less challenging than in Norway, but you are forced to work evenly through the semester. The work load is on average equal to the Norwegian. Describe the Relationship Between Professors and Students. We had a good relationship with the professors. They were interested in us and our perspective on academic topics. It is easier when you stand out as international students and are open minded. Describe the Relationship Between the Students in the Classroom. We had a good working relationship with other students, both international and local. Course materials Describe the Course Materials Used (books/literature, online articles, Powerpoint) Most professors post all required materials on blackboard (e.g. its’learning). You might also need to buy books for some classes. Powerpoint slides are common. How Do You Estimate the Level of the Course Materials in Comparison to BI? Overall, the academic level is less challenging than in Norway. Exams Most professors reveal what chapters are relevant for the final exams. The final exam is three hours long in each subject. We had all five final exams within seven days. Library and Technology You have free access to library material, including computers and printers. Descriptions of some of the courses taken Course code and name Master/Bac Exam form helor prerequisit es Approved as Comments AF 5625 Chinese Economy Master Attendance, paper, presentation, final exam None Elective Qualitative AF 5112 Management Accounting Master Attendance, homework, midterm, final None Elective Quantitative AF 5326 Managerial Finance Master Attendance, midterm, group project, final None Elective Quantitative AF 5343 Quantitative Methods for Finance Master Attendance, homework, paper, final Statistical course in undergradua te degree Approved as required for “Metode” at BI for Master Thesis in Master in professional accountancy Very interesting and highly recommended subject! Excellent and very knowledgeable professor. Not too high workload. You learn about China’s economy compared to the rest of the world from a macroeconomic perspective Basic management accounting course. Quite easy subject, but a lot of time consuming homework assignments. Canadian professor who is very dedicated. Basic managerial finance course. Not too high work load. Quite easy if you have had finance courses before. Statistical course for finance. Most challenging of our courses. Quite manageable if you do the required homework. AF 5508 Corporate Governance Master Attendance, midterm, presentation, final none Approved as required for “Etikk” at BI in Master in professional accountancy Course focused on Corporate Governance in Hong Kong and the requirements for public companies in Hong Kong. Quite low workload, but maybe not that relevant for Norway.