Fleur Spedding – Geography – University of Hong Kong
There is a feeling of regressing going from a small room in University halls in first year, to a spacious room with a double bed to yourself in second year, back to a shared small room with a bunk bed for your year abroad in third year. There are some downsides to being 5 ft 10 and having to stick your feet through the gaps at the end of your bed, yet the accommodation in Hong Kong has its own charm that no other place could quite get away with.
I am very lucky with my room mate and flatmates, and the rest of my friends in the building – we have formed a sort of dysfunctional family. I live in a university-rented off-campus accommodation called On Hing Building, but most people live in University Halls. On Hing Building has a much more laid back, communal vibe, whereas I know a lot of the University halls are very strict on visitors and have an interesting ‘hall culture’ in which first years have to go through certain initiations. However this is just for locals, so no exchange student will have to take part, but nonetheless if you are looking for a more fun and easy-going time in HKU I would recommend applying for On Hing Building. Although the rent is more expensive than halls (I pay 3120 hkd per month, which is £321) it is worth it for the atmosphere of the place! Just don’t compare it to what you can get in Manchester for the same price – remember you’re in Hong Kong, space is a luxury!
In On Hing Building you share a flat with 6 girls, or 6 boys as the flats are unisex. There are 3 bedrooms in one flat, so 2 to 1 room. You also have 2 bathrooms each with a shower and toilet, a communal space with a sofa if you’re lucky, and a little ‘kitchen’ on the side equipped with a hotplate and microwave. One thing you can add to your CV once living in Hong Kong is how creative you become in conjuring up 3 meals a day. Although there are plenty of places to eat on the street below, your bank balance will thank you for cooking a few of your own meals.
The location of On Hing Building is ideal. It is a 10 minute walk to campus, a 5 minute walk to the metro station and 5 minutes on the metro to Central which is where you’ll find parks, zoos, observation wheel, Victoria Peak and Lan Kwai Fong (LKF). As an exchange student you will spend many a night out in LKF, which is an area of bars and clubs filled with a mix of expats and locals. Living 10 minutes away from LKF in a taxi (which are super cheap) makes life a lot easier.
Nevertheless, accommodation is admittedly not the most deluxe in Hong Kong for students, but you will find that you do not spend that much time there anyway what with exploring the city, travelling around Asia and working on your deadlines in Chi Wah learning commons on campus.