The Hong Kong Polytechnic university is located in Hung Hom which is in Kowloon. Although it is not on the island, there are excellent transport links including MTR stations, buses and ferries which can take you almost all over Hong Kong (the MTR does not yet reach the south side of the island).
Hung Hom is a more local area so it can be tricky to find western food, however the main benefit of this is that the local food is much cheaper than western eateries which there are many of on the main island. There are many restaurants and 2 main supermarkets within walking distance from the halls of residence.
The accommodation at PolyU is a large 20 floor tower block with shared rooms. A bathroom joins together 2 rooms so 4 people share a bathroom. Initially the thought of sharing a room did put me off coming to Hong Kong, however after a couple of weeks you get pretty used to it. I would recommend bringing ear plugs and a sleeping mask, the rooms are not big so its easy to be disturbed if your roommate wakes up before you or comes home after you.
When applying for accommodation it is possible to request to be put with another student from your country, or if you are arriving with someone also from Manchester, you can ask to be with a specific person, which is what I did. From my own personal experience and speaking to other exchanges, the university usually accepts these requests.
The halls of residence has pretty good facilities including a gym, an outdoor pool, a games room, a laundry room and meditation and dance rooms. The gym is free but you have to be quick and put your name down for an induction session when you arrive at the halls otherwise you won’t get a place!
There is also a canteen in the halls but I found the food wasn’t amazing and there are lots of places to eat in the area which I preferred.
There is a large common room area with a kitchen which is shared between 2 floors. The kitchen is basic but has a microwave, a hob and a hot water tap. In Hong Kong the culture is very much about eating dinner out, which is actually cheaper and easier than buying and cooking food. Therefore, I only really used the kitchen to make porridge for breakfast and the hot water tap for drinks.
I hope this post has been helpful in familiarising you with the accommodation at PolyU. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions. 🙂