Tips for surviving Hong Kong

Fleur Spedding – Geography – HKU – Hong Kong

When you feel as though you have just got used to Manchester life and the way the University works, it can be daunting to move to the other side of the world and start again. However after a few weeks, you will have sorted documents and cards and feel settled once again into your new city and University. But here are a few tips to help along the way in the mean time…

  1. Money and Banks…

I would advise to get currency card if you are here for either one semester or for the year. I learnt the hard way and set up a HSBC account, however the amount of bureaucracy and faffing around that is involved in transferring your money is infuriating. Plus on top of this you get an international transfer  charge… more faff! Whereas I have been advised by various friends to go for the Caxton FX currency card, which is easy to use and can transfer your money within a few hours without any transfer charges. You can use them just like any ATM card, and withdraw at any ATM without any withdrawal charges. They seem a lot more simple and stress free.


2. The Mtr…

The mtr is a blessing and a curse. Coming from London it is extremely cheap compared to the tube, but still so efficient and clean. I would definitely recommend getting an octopus card as this will be your saviour and can use it not only for getting around the metro but also buying food and drinks for shops. However if you’re taking the metro at peak times, be aware of the amount of people that will be trying to squeeze onto the same carriage as you. You’d be surprised how many people can actually fit into an underground transport system!  If you have a lecture you need to get to but you’re the wrong side of town, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get there!


3. Ladies, now put your hands up…

It is a tradition throughout Hong Kong, one which is controversial and not to everyone’s liking, but one that still continues. Every Wednesday turns into Ladies’ Night! Free drinks and entry for ladies in most bars throughout Hong Kong, particularly Wan Chai. Perhaps the city wants to give back to women for their contributions to this world… or it is conscious business decision. Either way it is part of the Hong Kong culture, and if you are on a tight student budget, it can be a good way to enjoy a night out to de-stress from the constant assignments set by HKU.



4. Healthy body is a healthy mind…

It can be easy to get overwhelmed in the first few weeks, missing friends and family whilst out of you’re comfort zone. Staying in and turning to McDonalds (the only familiarity you have) will not help. I strongly suggest going to the local food markets or stalls and buying a bunch of fruit, staying hydrated as the heat can really get to you, and take a walk or run around the area so you get to know it. Or even better get a group of friends together and do a hike every weekend, so you explore whilst getting out and exercising at the same time. I have found doing some sort of exercise and getting out in the mountains away from the congestion of the buildings really helps with peace of mind, as its so easy to get bogged down with work and deadlines.




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