Hong Kong
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About Hong Kong

Hong Kong, with its colourful history, diverse culture and East-meets-West character, is a beloved destination. It can mostly thank its colonial history and international harbour for the rich blend of cultures that give it its unique character. The city of seven million people is located on the South China Sea coast. Its strategic geographical location on the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea has made it one of the world’s most thriving and cosmopolitan cities. Moreover, the city is Asia’s financial centre. Hong Kong Island is positioned south of the harbour, while the Kowloon peninsula forms its northern shores. North of Kowloon, one finds the New Territories, which stretch all the way to Mainland China. Hong Kong is also home to more than 200 small islands. Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China in 1997 under the principle of One Country, Two Systems. While the majority of the city’s population speaks Chinese (Cantonese is spoken by 88% of people in Hong Kong), English is widely spoken too. Today, it is the language of preference in the government, business and tourism sectors. All official signs and public transport announcements, as well as most menus, are bilingual. The comfort with which these languages and a multitude of dialects co-exist reflects the high level of cultural tolerance in Hong Kong. 

Climate
The city has a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasons. In spring, temperatures and humidity are rising. In summer, the temperate can exceed 30C but high humidity levels can make it feel even hotter. In autumn, there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Many people regard these as the best months of the year to visit Hong Kong. It can get cool, dry and cloudy with occasional cold fronts during winter. Typhoon season begins in May and ends in November. 

Interesting facts

  • The Peak Tram was the first cable funicular in Asia in 1888. It remains one of the steepest and oldest cable railroads in the world. Over 11,000 people ride the tram every day, or more than 4 million annually.
  • The services industry comprises 92.9% of Hong Kong’s GDP, with 41.4% of its labour force employed in wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotels. 
  • Mongkok has the world’s highest population density; with an average of 130,000 people per square kilometers. 

Studying in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is 19th in the QS Best Student Cities ranking. The city is home to eight government-funded universities, of which three appear in the top 50 of the QS World University Rankings (Hong Kong University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong), and a further three in the world’s top 300. All of them offer dozens of major areas of study. All of them use English as language of instruction for most of their courses. Moreover, many offer crash courses in Chinese language so that foreign students can make the most of their stay. Hong Kong’s universities give students a broad perspective on life, culture and ethics, as well as gaining practical experience to take with you into the real world. This attracts high-calibre professors from around the globe, which are renowned for excellence, including Nobel laureates. As of 2012, four – rather than the previous three – will be the norm for most undergraduate degrees. Moreover, Hong Kong’s universities are very open to foreign students and offer a wide variety of scholarships, including some exclusively for international students. 

Living in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has long been regarded as the meeting point of East and West; its history as a former British colony and hyper-developed finance sector combined with traditional Chinese elements make Hong Kong a city with a truly global outlook and atmosphere. In terms of affordability, the picture is less rosy; rent is extremely expensive, but general living expenses such as eating out and transport remain low. Hong Kong is no place for motorists with only about 380,000 private vehicles for a population of over seven million. Its public transport, on the other hand, with its interconnected buses, ferries, railways, metro and tramway, make Hong Kong’s network one of the most sophisticated in the world. One won’t need a wallet to pay for all this; all you need is an Octopus card. It enables one to pay for all public transportation, meals, vending machines, groceries etc. One will notice sanitation stations in every building in the city; elevator buttons are sanitized an average six times a day and being sick in public is practically forbidden. Although rather expensive, living in Kowloon or Central will prove to be worth the money as the districts are buzzing and full of interesting places to see and visit. 

If one values quiet, personal space and peace, life in this fast-paced metropolis might be daunting, but for those who really want to experience city life in its heightened form, Hong Kong is without doubt one of the most buzzing and diverse study destinations. 

"31 reasons we should all be living in Hong Kong" - Globalpost

Top three activities

  • Victoria Peak: the panorama from Victoria Peak encapsulates Hong Kong at its finest. One will see a skyline so improbable and lofty that Manhattan’s looks provincial. 
  • Temple Street Night Market: hawkers sell everything from patent medicines to counterfeit watches in this jaw-dropping place. 
  • Star Ferry: the journey with Hong Kong’s iconic ferry only costs $0.28, whereas it will grant beautiful widescreen views of Hong Kong. It is advisable to take a sailing just before 8 p.m. These boats stop mid-harbour for a few moments so that one can take pictures of the nightly light show. 

Facts about Hong Kong

Population      7,188,000
LanguageCantonese,
English
Size (km²)1,104
Life expectancy86,7 years
GDP per capita$38,605

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