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 and became 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.

Academics at CUHK

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, librarie, and an olympic-sized swimming pool and recreation facilities; a university shuttle bus helps transport students between buildings. The dormitories vary in quality and space, 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. IASP offers Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese language courses (through the Yale-in-China language program).

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 closed to ISEP students because of extra fee requirements.

Visa and Residency


ISEP participants should NOT under any circumstances apply for a student visa at the Chinese Embassy or consulates in the United States.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong acts as a sponsor for international students who have been admitted to the university. This means that CUHK will send students instructions for obtaining the student visa (ultimately issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department) with the university acceptance packet.

*For the most current information on the visa process, please refer to the application procedures provided by The Chinese University of Hong Kong on their visa page.


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. 

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. 

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.


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