A cosmopolitan and highly developed city, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The deep harbor and unique sky scrapers provides an impressive and expansive skyline. Ride the tram up Victoria Peak for a panoramic view of the city, or hang out at the latest hot spot to experience Hong Kong's active nightlife.


Languages Spoken:

Chinese, English, Cantonese

Education System


After more than 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong returned to the People’s Republic of China as a Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997. The formation and evolution of higher education in Hong Kong has been unlike that in mainland China. Additionally, as a Special Administrative Region of China, it continues to function with a high degree of autonomy, legislated under its Basic Law, which encompasses higher education. 

There are nine degree-granting institutions of higher education in Hong Kong, including seven universities, a teacher education institution and an academy of performing arts. All of these institutions, except one, are financed by the Hong Kong Government. Entry to university is competitive and is largely determined by public examinations during the last year of high school. 

Most universities operate on a credit-based system—students are required to have obtained a certain number of credits in order to be eligible for graduation. The typical undergraduate degree takes three to four years to complete depending on the discipline and number of credits required. 

CUHK's housing and student unions are organized into Colleges, which roughly resemble Houses in some other higher education institutions. Take a look at CUHK's different Colleges here. Note that some Colleges are not available to ISEP students because of extra fee requirements. 




The CUHK campus is set on a beautiful, lush green mountainside in the less populated New Territories. The facilities include modern student unions, lecture halls, library, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and recreation facilities, and a university shuttle bus that helps transport students between buildings. The dormitories vary in space and amenities, but all are quite livable. You will be placed with one or two Chinese roommates, and will have to get accustomed to more rules and regulations than on a U.S. campus. Many classes are taught in English, but the availability of English language classes varies from year to year and requires flexibility in making course selections. ISEP participants will be affiliated with the International Asian Studies Program, which offers Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese language courses (through the Yale-in-China language program). 


There is a registration period on campus after orientation, though be sure to check with CUHK to ensure nothing needs to be done prior to arrival.  

Course Load 

At CUHK, one unit is roughly equivalent to one hour of instruction per week. In general, most 3-unit courses are composed of 3 hours of lecture, or 2 hours of lecture and 1 hour of tutorial per week. As a student, you will take three to six classes per term, spending about nine to 18 hours per week in class. Semesters are roughly 13 weeks long. 

Exams & Grading 

ISEP participants will be evaluated according to the standards of each academic department at CUHK. Criteria for assessment may include any one or any combination of the following: attendance, class work, written work, laboratory work, field work, research papers, tests, exams, and other criteria. Students are required to attend classes (or receive special permission to be absent), to sit for all examinations given for courses in which they are enrolled, and must submit all written work for each course to the satisfaction of the teacher within two weeks from the last day of class for the term. A student who does not complete all such requirements before the end of the term will be given an F for failure. 


ISEP participants should complete the check-out procedures as stipulated by Office of Academic Links before leaving CUHK to ensure that his/her transcript will be issued and mailed to ISEP in a timely manner. 

Visa and Residency

COVID-19 Update: Visa and Residency guidelines are subject to change and may be updated without warning a result of COVID-19 governmental regulations. Students should review the Special Conditions of Placement in their ISEP Acceptance Package for the most current information.

Visa regulations can change at any time and without notice. All students are required to obtain a visa to enter Hong Kong. Visa requirements can vary depending on the country your passport is issued in.


Students should not under any circumstances apply for a student visa at the Chinese Embassy or consulate. CUHK acts as a sponsor for international students who have been admitted to the university. CUHK will send students instructions for obtaining the student visa ultimately issued by the Hong Kong immigration department.


Visa fee: HK $580


When to apply: immediately upon acceptance


View the printable paper application here

CUHK Visa Page


Application Requirements:

o   Application for entry for study in Hong Kong

o   Passport size photo

o   Photocopy of valid travel document

o   A letter of acceptance from CUHK

o   Proof of accommodation arrangement

o   Proof of financial support

o   Confirmation of delivery address


Application Guidelines: Complete and send the application form, supporting documents and payment to CUHK. Your host university will submit the application to the Hong Kong Immigration department for processing.


General Processing Time: 6-8 weeks after CUHK submits the application to the Hong Kong immigration department


Daily Life

Health and Safety

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference our Guides and Tips section for general information regarding health and safety abroad. 

ISEP expects changes to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for 2021 and 2022 programs. If the student's host country, host university, home university, home country, or travel provider require a COVID-19 vaccination, students must comply with that requirement. ISEP will notify students if we become aware of changes in the terms of participation for their program.

For helpful tips for before, during and after your study abroad trip, please visit this page of the CDC website.

If you’re planning to bring your prescription or over-the-counter medicine on your trip, you need to make sure your medicine is travel-ready. More information can be found here. Please contact your Student Services Officer and ISEP Coordinator with any additional questions. 

Detailed information about Hong Kong can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security, Local Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. 

Please review the CDC's Health Information for Travelers to Hong Kong.

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State. Non-U.S. nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections. 



Hong Kong is in a unique position in the banking and finance world. Its prominence as a major international port and its location in a time zone that covers the gap in working hours between Europe and America have made international finance one of its major industries. As a result, there are few problems in exchanging currency and cashing traveler's checks. A full range of banking services is offered. Reportedly, however, a month is required to clear foreign checks. Hang Seng Bank, located on the campus of CUHK, may be a convenient place for you to open a savings account. The bank also has a branch in New York City. The Hong Kong monetary system is based on dollars and cents and is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Please visit (http://www.xe.com ) to see the latest currency exchange rate.


More Topics in Visa and Residency