Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Student report – Spring semester 2012 Introduction Hong Kong is an amazing city, and if you are considering applying for HKUST we really recommend you to do it. If you go on exchange to HKUST you will experience campus life and culture you are not used to. This report will provide you with some practical information that is good to know. At times we encountered some difficulties, but everything always worked out fine in the end. General information about the school The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is located on a hillside with a stunning view overlooking Port Shelter on the Clear Water Bay peninsula. The university was built in 1991, and it’s approximately 30-40 minutes drive from HKUST to Hong Kong Island. The University has around 10200 students, where around 6400 are undergraduate and 3600 postgraduate. The University is divided into 3 faculties. Science, Engineering and Business and management. Each semester approximately 250-300 exchange students are enrolled, and about half of them are business students. The library consists of five floors, where the second floor called the “learning commons” was renovated this semester. You will find both individual study space and group study rooms. The study structure is different from what you are used to at BI, with smaller classes. In some courses, both attendance and participation is a part of your grade. Sporting facilities HKUST have very good sport facilities. This include 5 tennis courts, 2 swimming pools (one indoor and one outdoor), football pitch, running court, 2 basketball courts, gym, 3 squash courts, indoor hall and gym. The outdoor swimming pool opens in April/May. If you want to use the sport facilities it is mandatory to see an introduction movie. There is also an online booking system. Practical information You will receive two information packages from global student office (GSO) at HKUST. The information packages will contain information about housing, insurance, visa application and course registration. It’s very important to keep the deadlines, and once you are accepted we recommend you to apply for visa. It will take you some time to fill out the forms, but the process is not difficult. If you have any questions the international student officer at HKUST, Wendy Cheung, will help you. She will respond to any inquiries and is extremely helpful. Academic Calender Arrival date 25.01 First day of semester 01.02 Last day of classes 12.05 Examination period 16.05 – 25.05 GSO will arrange orientation and buddy activities in the beginning of the semester. All the exchange students will have their own buddy, as long as they sign up for the buddy program. Reception The first couple of days there are a lot of buddy activities, which are great for meeting new people, but also to get to know the city. Getting help from locals when you apply for courses is very helpful because the system is quite different then what you are used to at BI. Housing The school offers housing for exchange students, and they offer single, double or triple rooms. We would recommend applying for a double-room, because a triple-room might get a bit crowded. We stayed at hall 4, but hall 7 and 6 are the most hygienic. Costs Housing expenditure is around 5000 NOK for the entire semester; compulsory literature is half price, compared to Norway. Living expenses in general are very hard to determine since Hong Kong is so diversified that you can find all different kinds of prices on all products. It is still cheap compared to Norway, hence one of the most expensive places in Asia. Prices for alcohol in clubs are pretty similar to Norway, so a lot of exchange students stop by 7 Eleven to buy drinks. The International Office Wendy Cheung is responsible for all incoming exchange students, she will send you all relevant information and she will do it on time. Upon arrival, you can meet her in her office and she will explain all the things that you need to do. There will also be held meetings where course registration and administrative work will be explained. Exchange promotion In September we attended the exchange fair, which is very similar to the one held at BI for outgoing students. Social activities There are a lot of opportunities for socializing at HKUST. Sports are one of them, and football was a cool way for us to get to know other students. The different halls arrange their own promotional parties as well, and they were very excited when we visited to try some food or just look at their activities. All the exchange students we met at HKUST were very open and easy to get in touch with, and we all got along great. The locals can be a bit harder to socialize with, but they are never rejecting if approached! Rather they would like you to make the first initiative. Culture and Language All professor are fluent in English, at least in the business department, there are however occasions where administrative staff are struggling with English, hence there is always someone fluent in English around. The university offers language courses in Cantonese and Mandarin, a great experience but very demanding. Since local students are fairly kept to themselves a great way to get to know them more is to choose to share room with them in the Hall, hence be aware that their hours are very different and they hardly sleep at all. Travel Spring break is an excellent time to travel and we went to Vietnam and the Philippines. Vietnam was an amazing place to experience Asian culture; it is also a very cheap place to travel, and only 2 hours away by airplane. The Philippines provide you with sunny skies and beaches when Hong Kong can’t! You can get very cheap plane tickets through Tiger Airways, which makes it perfect for a long weekend-trip. They also speak English very well. The Teaching situation All courses within the business faculty are taught entirely in English, some professors have a heavy Asian accent however it never caused any problems. The academic level is fairly similar to BI, however the workload is heavier. Almost every week there is some form of exam or assignment and participation is graded in almost all subjects. Teaching methods is more of a combination of practical and theoretical compared to BI who focuses more on theoretical means of teaching. The professors at HKUST encourage more interaction, and we experienced a more personal relationship with the professors since classes are in general smaller than at BI. Required literature All required literature is in English. A lot of the other exchange students did not buy the required books, but the literature is good and the books are cheap. We both brought some books back to Norway, so that we might use them later in our studies. Exams Most exams consist of a multiple-choice test. They also put some emphasis on midterms and presentations when determining your grade. Your grades are decided by using a normal distribution of the class performance. This usually means achieving a grade of B or C is easier, but a B+ or A is even harder. Other There is a large library, four floors containing individual study spots as well as group rooms and computer barns. The university uses a computer system called LMES, which is similar to BIs Its learning and provides you with all the academic information you may need. Course descriptions Financial Markets This course will give you a brief introduction to finance, and is a very interesting course. The professor is highly ranked by the students and has worked over 30 years in the banking sector. There is a lot of oral activity and presentations. FINA 3104 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management This course provides you with general knowledge about investment models and strategies. Securities and derivative securities, such as futures and options, are also covered. The lecturer is a very smart man who always provides real life examples and interesting stories from the world of finance. ECON 4385 Globalization: Trade, Investment and Exchange Rate This course is quite heavy, but teaches you how a central bank operates, why we trade and how we do it. Our professor had previously worked for the Federal Reserve, so the focus was mainly on China and America. We found this highly interesting. ISOM 2720 Introduction to Operation Management An introductory course which is quite interesting and it is not that hard to achieve a decent grade. You learn a lot about supply chain management, Toyotas just-in-time principles, and other operational models. This course is mandatory for us back home, and we are glad we chose to take it in Hong Kong. MGMT 3140 Negotiation The professor is a well-known person at HKUST and has been awarded several awards at the university for his untraditional methods of teaching and interesting speeches. Definitely a course you should apply for, but it can be hard to get in. It is mainly an oral course, and lectures are usually negotiations and discussions.