Skip to main content

Jeff Tse

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Management Information Systems
Study Abroad

Experience Faculty
A study abroad semester will change your perspective on life and the world. Don't miss this opportunity of a lifetime during your studies.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

To prepare for your study abroad experience I suggest figuring out how to get a SIM card beforehand. This will help you communicate and navigate the city easily. I suggest getting an eSIM online or getting a SIM from a convenience store.

Location Research

When searching for a location to study abroad, it's important to consider your academic goals, personal preferences, and budget.

  1. First, research the academic programs offered at different universities and institutions in your desired location. Make sure the program aligns with your major or field of study.

  2. Consider your personal preferences such as climate, culture, and lifestyle. If you prefer a more urban environment, you may want to look for universities located in larger cities. If you prefer a more rural or natural setting, you may want to look for universities located in smaller towns or in the countryside.

  3. Consider the cost of living in your desired location. Some cities and countries have a higher cost of living than others, so make sure you budget accordingly.

  4. Research the safety of the location, talk to the school's study abroad office.

  5. Finally, speak to students who have previously studied abroad in your desired location to get first-hand accounts of their experiences.

By considering these factors, you can find a location that aligns with your academic goals, personal preferences, and budget, and ensure a safe and memorable study abroad experience.

Financial Preparation
  1. Research the cost of living in the location you plan to study abroad. This will help you budget for expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and entertainment.

  2. Check if your home university offers financial aid or scholarships for study abroad. This can help offset some of the costs of studying abroad.

  3. Look into obtaining international student loans, which can help cover the costs of tuition and living expenses while you are abroad.

  4. Find out if your bank has a presence in the country you will be studying in, or if they have partnerships with other banks that will allow you to access your funds without incurring high fees.

  5. Consider opening a local bank account in the country you will be studying in. This will allow you to access your money more easily and avoid high withdrawal fees.

  1. Make a list of essentials: Before you start packing, make a list of the items you absolutely need to bring with you, such as passport, visa, medication, and any important documents.

  2. Pack versatile clothing: Pack clothes that can be dressed up or down, and that can be layered for different weather conditions.

  3. Consider the climate: Research the climate of the location you will be studying in and pack accordingly. Bring appropriate clothing, shoes and accessories for the weather conditions.

  4. Bring products you might not find abroad. For example, in Hong Kong supplements and protein powder were 3 times more expensive so make sure to pack an adequate supply.

  5. Pack an adapter and converter: Make sure you bring an adapter and converter if the location you are traveling to has a different type of outlet or voltage.

  6. Leave some space in your luggage: Leave some space in your luggage for souvenirs and items you might want to bring back home.

Travel and Transportation

Hong Kong has one of the best transport systems in the world. You will be primarily use the public transport in Hong Kong. Hong Kong taxis are comparatively cheap compared to Canada. You can call a cab through the HK taxi app or Uber or just hail a cab on the street.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

During orientation, it is important to attend all the events and meetings organized by the study abroad program or host university. This is a great opportunity to meet other students in the program, as well as learn about important resources and services available to you. Additionally, it's a good idea to attend any cultural or social activities that are organized, as these can be a great way to learn about the local culture and make new friends.

In the first few weeks of your study abroad experience, it is also important to familiarize yourself with the local area, including transportation, grocery stores, and other important locations. Additionally, try to find a way to get involved in the local community, whether it's through volunteering, joining a club, or participating in cultural events. This will help you to feel more connected to your host country and will also be a great way to improve your language skills.

Accommodation and Living

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world so try to obtain student housing since it costs considerably less. 

Day to Day
  1. Keep an open mind: Studying abroad can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, but keeping an open mind and being willing to embrace new experiences will help you to make the most of your time abroad.

  2. Stay organized: Create a schedule or planner to keep track of your classes, assignments, and any other important deadlines.

  3. Stay connected with family and friends: Make sure to keep in touch with your family and friends back home, whether through phone calls, video chats, or social media.

  4. Be respectful of local customs and culture: Be respectful of the local customs and culture, and make an effort to understand and adapt to different ways of living.

  5. Take advantage of opportunities: Take advantage of any opportunities that come your way, whether it's traveling, taking a class, or meeting new people.

  6. Try new things: Take the opportunity to try new foods, sports, hobbies and take part in cultural events.

Learning and Adaptation
  1. Embrace the culture: Immerse yourself in the local culture by trying new foods, attending cultural events, and interacting with locals. This will help you to better understand and appreciate the culture, and will also help you to feel more at home.

  2. Learn the language: Make an effort to learn the local language, as this will make it easier to navigate your day-to-day life and will also help you to connect with local people. Try to practice speaking and listening as much as possible, with native speakers or language exchange partners.

  3. Be open to new experiences: Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. This will help you to adapt to your new surroundings and to make the most of your study abroad experience.

Social and Extracurricular Activities
  1. Exploring local markets and street food vendors
  2. Visiting historical and cultural landmarks such as The Big Buddha and the Hong Kong Museum of History
  3. Hiking in the nearby mountains, such as Victoria Peak and Lion Rock
  4. Taking a boat tour of Victoria Harbour
  5. Shopping in popular districts like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui
  6. Joining a sports club or intramural league at your university
  7. Sampling Cantonese cuisine at local restaurants
  8. Attending a traditional Chinese opera performance
  9. Visiting a Buddhist or Taoist temple
  10. Try bars and clubs at Lan Kwai Fong
  11. Joining a language exchange program to practice Cantonese or Mandarin with locals.
Reflection & Tips

Studying abroad in Hong Kong for an exchange semester is an opportunity to grow as a person and experience new cultures in a way that is not possible by simply visiting as a tourist. As a student, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and truly understand the way of life in Hong Kong. You will be challenged to adapt to a new environment and navigate unfamiliar surroundings, which will help you develop independence, resourcefulness, and confidence.

One of the most exciting aspects of studying abroad in Hong Kong is the chance to experience the unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures. The city is a melting pot of different nationalities and cultures, and you will have the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. This will give you a deeper understanding of different cultures and ways of life and help you develop cultural competence, a valuable skill in today's globalized world.

It's natural to be scared of the unknown, but it's important to remember that taking the leap to study abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The challenges and fears you may encounter along the way will only make the experience more rewarding. You will not only gain a better understanding of the world but also a better understanding of yourself.

In summary, studying abroad in Hong Kong for an exchange semester is an opportunity to grow as a person, experience new cultures, and gain a competitive edge in the global job market. Despite the initial challenges and fears, the experience will be a unique, enriching and life-changing one.

Advice for Future Students

Just do it. Studying abroad was the best experience I had in my life. 


Jeff Tse

SFU Student Undergraduate
Beedie School of Business › Management Information Systems
Study Abroad
visibility  285
Jan 20, 2023

Posts by Author

Hong Kong Skyline at Tsim Tsai Tsui
SFU Story
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone