FAQ for non-local students

1)Where are the grocery stores?
Ans:There are a number of grocery stores around CityU. They range from more upscale (TASTE in Festival Walk) to the more basic (wet market and Wellcome supermarket in Nam Shan Estate).
TASTE is located at LG2 in Festival Walk, a shopping mall next to CityU campus. The opening time is from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm.
Wet market and Wellcome supermarket are located in Nam Shan Estate, a local residential area adjacent to campus. Most of the local grocery stores in Nam Shan Estate will open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Of course, there are many other grocery stores in town, but these are closest and most popular for non-local students.

2)Where can I buy bedding?
Ans:There are two popular choices - IKEA and Pricerite.
The nearest IKEA store is located in Shatin (Address: L6, HomeSquare, 138 Sha Tin Rural Committee Road, Shatin). Take MTR East Rail Line and alight at Shatin. IKEA is just within walking distance.
There are many Pricerite stores in town. The nearest one is located in Mongkok (Address: 1/F, Hollywood Plaza, 610 Nathan Road, Mong kok). It is very convenient to get to Mongkok by MTR.

3)How can I get an Octopus card?
Ans:For immediate use after your arrival, you may get one Octopus card with "Adult status" at the Hong Kong International Airport right after landing, or purchase it at the Customer Service Counter of almost every MTR station. The Octopus Card is a stored-value electronic fare card accepted by almost all public transport, and at many restaurants and places including fast food outlets, convenience stores, supermarkets, vending machines, pay phones, etc. You can add value to your Octopus Card at MTR stations, CityU Canteen, and convenience stores all around Hong Kong. Full-time students aged 25 or below are eligible to apply for a Personalized Octopus Card with "Student Status" to enjoy discount on MTR. Please obtain an application form and get verified at Student Development Services (SDS). Then return the form to any MTR station to complete the application. Upon successful application, you will receive a new Octopus card with "Student status". If you have already purchased regular Octopus card (with "Adult status"), you may return your old "Adult status" Octopus card at any one of the Customer Service Counters of MTR for a refund. Please note that there will be a services charge of HK$9 if you return the card within 3 months of issue.

4)Do I need a computer?
Ans: CityU campus is a wireless and Wi-Fi enabled environment that you can connect to the internet at all classrooms and lecture theatres and in most of the campus area. Many students will use their own laptop computers. With computer terminals that span across the campus, connecting is easy and free. In addition, there are computer labs inside the Computing Services Centre that provide IT facilities and support to the CityU community for general use.

5)What's the general budget I should expect for living expenses?
Ans:Rental for off-campus accommodations could vary depending on the size, location, age of the building, etc. A room in a shared flat costs, on average, HK$5,000 a month for rental only, depending on which district in the city. It is common that students will rent 2- or 3-bedroom flats together and save a good amount over looking for a single, one-bedroom apartment.
Utility costs in Hong Kong usually include electricity, water, gas and/or management fees. Heaters are not common in Hong Kong as the temperature in winter months normally ranges from 10 to 20 degree Celsius. Cable internet is around $200 a month. As far as food goes, it depends on where you eat. On average, a meal at student canteen costs between HK$20 and HK$50. It will of course cost less if you cook your own meal. The cost of foodstuff for a month of single person eating can be as low as HK$1,500, depending on where you shop and how much you eat.

6)Can I take up internship during my study at CityU?
Ans:Unless you are enrolled as a full-time, degree-awarding student at bachelor's or above level and your degree study mandates you to take up curriculum or study related internship, otherwise it is against the laws to do internship and any kind of work, whether paid or unpaid, during your study in Hong Kong.

7)Can I use my phone from home in Hong Kong?
Ans:If you want to use your mobile phone from home in Hong Kong, you must check whether it supports the GSM network first. If it does, you then need to check whether the phone is locked to your original mobile provider and how you can get it unlocked (some telecommunications stores can do this for you).
As you will stay in Hong Kong for a while and roaming service is very expensive, you should get a Hong Kong mobile number, either through a prepaid card or a fixed tariff.

8)Where can I buy prepaid cards for mobile phones?
Ans:Prepaid SIM cards are available at convenience stores (Circle K, 7-11). Cards are normally with a certain number of airtime and cost around HK$200. Most companies charge per minute, so if you make a call of 1 minute and 1 second, you will be charged for 2 minutes. Please also note that incoming calls are also charged. Be aware that cards are normally only valid for 180 days after the last recharge. After this period the card expires with no refund available and you lose the number.

9)How to open a bank account in Hong Kong?
Ans:To open any kind of account you need your identification documents, such as your passport and your Student Identity Card. You will also have to show a proof of your Hong Kong address, such as an electricity bill.
All banks offer ATM service, but they may be in different systems (such as HSBC ATM system and the Jetco system). Check the reverse of your bankcard to confirm and to avoid additional charge. American Express cardholders can also use Jetco ATMs and can withdraw cash. MasterCard and Visa holders can withdraw money from HSBC ATMs. In general, ATMs do not support withdrawals of foreign currency. However, some ATMs provide cash in RMB. Bank charges can vary significantly between different banks and also depend on the type of account and service package you order, so it is worth shopping around and comparing carefully.

10)How can I get a travel visa to Mainland China?
Ans: You can apply for a travel visa to the mainland of China through the travel agent "China Travel Service (CTS)". Single entry, double entry and multi-entry are available depending on your need. The nearest branch of CTS is at Mongkok (address: 2/F, Tak Po Building, 62-72 Sai Yee Street, Mongkok, Kowloon) or visit this website: www.ctshk.com.

You may also apply directly from the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR (address: 7/F, Lower Block, China Resources Building, 26 Harbor Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong) or visit this website: www.fmcoprc.gov.hk/eng.

11)I cannot complete the enrolment procedures because I was told that my student visa is not validated. What should I do?
Ans:If it is the case, you probably have entered Hong Kong as a tourist as some foreign passport holders may visit Hong Kong without visa. You may simply exit and re-enter Hong Kong and activate your student visa by presenting your student visa label (or entry permit label for Mainland Chinese students) to the immigration officer upon re-entry. After inspection, the officer on duty may grant you entry to Hong Kong as a student. By then, your student visa status is validated. With the validated student visa (or entry permit), the University can formally enrol you as a student under the laws in Hong Kong.

12)I cannot register for the courses I am interested. What should I do?
Ans:Most of the courses can be registered online through AIMS. Courses which cannot be registered online can be registered by using paper Add/Drop form. The form can be downloaded from AIMS. Add/Drop form should be submitted to the course-offering department for approval. For any reasons that you must take a particular course, you should consult the course teacher in the teaching department and state your reason(s) for his/her consideration.

13)I need to find a residence off campus. What should I do?
Ans:Students may contact Student Residence Office (SRO) for assistance. The "Off-campus Accommodation System" at the website of SRO can help students find flat mates.
However, it is advised that you book a temporary accommodation in the first week of your arrival in Hong Kong. Then you can find a suitable flat through professional real estate agents. It is in your best interest that you DO NOT pay or sign any contract before going through all the terms and clauses in person.

Some of the most popular licensed professional real estate agents in Hong Kong:
Century 21www.century21-hk.com/en/index.php
Midland Realtywww.midland.com.hk/eng

14)Is there any scholarship available for non-local students?
Ans: CityU has offered a number of merit-based scholarships to non-local students. You may check with Student Development Services and/or your host College and School for further information.

15)Can I stay behind for a while after I finish my exchange study at CityU?
Ans:All non-local students are bound by the limit of stay stated in their student visa. Staying beyond the allowed period in Hong Kong will be considered as breaching the immigration regulations. Please check your student visa and exit Hong Kong before the date stated in your student visa. Some foreign passport holders may enter Hong Kong as a tourist on visa-free basis. If you would need to stay in Hong Kong for a longer time, you may exit Hong Kong before your student visa expires and re-enter as a tourist. Please check the websites of the Hong Kong Immigration Department or the ministry of foreign affairs of your home country to confirm the visa requirement.

If you cannot find the answers to your questions here, please do not hesitate to contact GEO. Tel: 3442 8089 / Email: geoins@cityu.edu.hk.