Wendy Cheung - NUS Business School

Evaluation Form
Name: Wendy Cheung
SEP Semester: Semester 1 01/02
Host University/Country: HKUST
1. How does the host university differ from NUS?
In the business school, most lecturers are foreigners rather than local Hong Kong Chinese
but the language used among the students are almost all in Cantonese rather than English.
The host university has only 4 faculties so the student popular is much smaller.
2. What strong points does our School have compared to your host university?
English as the language of mainstream communication, and a faculty area of its own,
rather than spread all over the campus.
3. What strong points does your host university have compared to our School?
Location – right in Clearwater way, fantastic view and air conditioning in hostel.
Career service is fantastic running interesting seminars and actively source for many job
opportunities for student, as well as training for students on resume writing, setting for
screening written test etc.
4. What expenses did you incur at the host university for one semester?
Estimated Breakdown of Expenses:
Airfare (Return Ticket)
Travel & Health Insurance
Books & Stationery
Expenditure (S$)
Miscellaneous (Eg: Local transportation, phone calls, postage,
student visa, medical report)
Others (Eg. Extended stay, airfare for tour of neighboring
states/countries, etc) Please specify here:
Tour to Shanghai, Beijing.
Overall, my SEP experience was an enjoyable one. I made new friends, traveling to
China and see through my own eyes, how the HK education compares to a Singapore one.
HKUST and NUS has many points which make them resemblance to each other. Both is
technology advanced, has an excellent reputation in Asia Pacific, hostel life and academic
teaching style and standard. Singapore and HK also hold close resemblance in terms of
culture though some basic Cantonese should be learnt to meet basic needs off campus.
The exchange city I went to for my student exchange program is Hong Kong. As it is my
birth country and a place where I have lived until the age of nine, though my family have
all immigrated out of Hong Kong 11 years ago, this exchange semester still felt like
going back home.
Most of my time during the exchange was spent on the HKUST campus, which is
situated right but the beautiful seaside of Clearwater Bay, as one can imagined based on
its name, it is surrounded but a clear blue water sea where nobody can missed its breathe
taking view. Most of HKUST building are quite concentrated, unlike NUS where
buildings are spread all over a huge piece of campus land. Other than faculty buildings,
there are also all sorts of shops on campus. Form medical or banking service, to
everyday groceries or stationery, one does not need to set a foot out of campus for weeks
but if you can’t find what you need on campus, only a 30 minutes ride bus ride will take
you to a huge shopping mall call Hollywood plaza where you can probably find what you
desired. Traveling in HK is extremely convenient with the efficient MTR and the
reasonably priced bus or van rides.
Many things NUS and HKUST resemblance each other, probably explains why both have
high relative rankings in universities reputation in Asia Pacific.
Similar to NUS, HKUST is also very technology advanced, it also has plug and play
internet points all over the campus and in all the hostel rooms, as well as internet stands
where instant internet access are given to students. The university also have a series of
laptop ownership program to encourage students to be updated with the current
Hall life in HKUST too is also very busy and time consuming. Most residents are
strongly encouraged to take part in hall activities such as sport events, formal dinner if
they want to be readmitted a place in the hostel in future semesters. The academic year
also starts off with hall orientation, where the new students are given opportunities to
mingle and make new friends.
The hostel rooms are quite clean and tidy depending on one’s sill to maintain it that way.
The rates are very similar to Singapore hence definitely affordable. There are no singles
room as all rooms are either 2 persons or 3. Rooms in the hall I stayed in (HALL 2) is
reasonably spacious and each is installed with a ceiling fan as well as air conditioner to
ease the pain in the humid HK summer. Combined the facilities in the room and a view
of the sea from your window (if you are lucky) studying or living in the rooms are very
pleasant. However, sometimes hall activities such as choir or band may be a nuisance,
the reading room located at each of the halls are reasonably quiet and coolly airconditioned. At there is always the main university library as the last resort.
The courses I took in HKUST are all business related modules. I found the course quite
interest as it set up is similar to NUS. For each course, as well as weekly assign readings
for final exams, group project work and presentation simply cannot be avoided. But due
to these group project team, it also allowed me to make many good local friends.
Most student enter the HKUST business school with reasonably good A level grades as
its business school reputations is excellent in HK. Hence most fellow students are either
extremely smart and/or hardworking, making studying in order to get the top grades very
difficult and competitive. Especially, when lecturers must follow the stringent guidelines
set by HKUST in the distribution of letter grades.
The lecturers are mostly foreigners or visiting scholars from oversea. I have lecturers
who are from New Zealand, India and Germany, though I also have a Hong Kong
Chinese lecturer. Despite racial differences, they are very friendly and are always open
for suggests or request for help. Even if approached, outside their office hours, they will
still be very eager to assist the students and listen to their enquiries attentively.
The medium used for education in HKUST is English but since Chinese is the
dominating race in Hong Kong, one really need to survive in HK with at least some
knowledge of Cantonese. Most fellow classmates uses Cantonese to held project
meetings, and sometimes, ask questions in class. Since I am a “native”, the language
component was not an issue. As well as helping me adapt to the communication scene,
my HK background has also made very adaptive to the food served both at the canteen
and in the hall. Some foreign students may have trouble digesting the different types of
Chinese food served. Food on campus is reasonably priced compare to off campus
thought its more expensive than NUS’s, but the portion are also much larger.
As Hong Kong is situated in a central location in East Asia, traveling to countries nearby
is very convenient and relatively cheap. During my 6 months exchange, I made 2 trips to
visit China – one to see the great wall and Beijing, another trip the visit the vibrant city of
To be honest, though HK is like a home to me, my time there hasn’t exactly been a
smooth ride. Going through a full university semester on your own far away from the
similar surroundings of NUS can be very challenging. There will always be problems
waiting for you to solve, challenges to encounter and issues which you think you never
have to deal with charging at you. But after going through such experience, I am sure
that one will definitely find themselves transformed to become a better person, one with
strength to stand firm during hard times and endurance power to achieve the impossible.
This exchange doe not only provide a great opportunity to attend another top universities
in Asia, but also can provoke and heightens one’s real strength and academic ability.
So do prepare yourself, though HK may seem like another Asian country similar to
Singapore, don’t let that impression fool you, HK too, has its own unique characteristics
which takes persistent attitudes to get used to.