The Chinese University of Hong Kong is one of the top 3 Hong Kong based unis and it stands within the top 100 universities worldwide.
Aaand it has a huge campus (and other nice things).
(My O’camp buddies)
The process of getting into this uni was quite challenging since I had little idea of the requirements and the Hong Kong system in general. On top of that, my year group was the first ever A level batch to ever graduate from the International School of Samui, so no one had a clear understanding of how to handle uni applications. So it was a blind walk.
I was initially choosing between Singapore and Hong Kong. There were a few reasons as to why I dropped the Singapore idea. Firstly, this city was definitely more expensive (tuition fees and living costs). Secondly, the universities required students to seek their own accommodation. AND lastly, the universities there DID NOT give out conditional offers based entirely on one’s AS level result.
***For the ones who are unfamiliar with A levels***
A levels or GCE is a British examination system, where you study for 2 years and usually have to pick 3 to 4 subjects to study. I chose Maths, English and Physics (and General studies). People sit examinations at the end of their first year (and get AS results), and also at the end of their second year (and get the A level results). Since the application deadline for Singapore unis is earlier than the date when the results for A levels come out, you end up looking like this
I mean they have a way around that, they want you to give them in addition the SAT results, but its just too much pain up your badonkadonk.
So the choice narrowed down. I also had a quick glance at the Mainland unis, but most of them required you to speak Chinese, or/and did not reply to emails, or/and had problems with their online registration procedures. Aww hell, I ain’t dealing with that.
I applied to all unis in Hong Kong and for ethical reasons I will slow down here. All unis in Hong Kong give sort of ambiguous minimum requirements. Last time I looked at HKU requirements they stated that they want you to get at least 3 Es in A levels. Yes, it goes like a b c d E! Well I guess only in a case of you being an Olympics champion or Mother Teresa that would work. In general I am not sure why they do that that but for every application people have to pay a decent fee of around 300 HKD. Just saying.
But having good grades is essential. Extra curriculum and personal statement also count but ehm.. It’s almost like holding a Soviet party with a bottle of vodka and glasses. Whilst vodka is essential, the glasses may be optional. But it’s just nice to have them.
Anyway I got it going with CUHK. It was a lengthy process, and they really nicely guided me through everything and also guided through the steps of receiving the visa. All you have to do is watch out for emails (I guess I learned from my mistakes…..).
About the CUHK itself.
New Asia college
CUHK consists of 9 colleges. Since I have never been to Hong Kong and never visited the uni before I got accepted, all those 9 names rang absolutely no bells and the campus looked completely different in my imagination.
Apart from the university gym and university library, all colleges have separate gyms, the big colleges have separate libraries (shh it’s a secret: my college has the best library). We also have tons of canteens and cafes and each one has it’s own working hours. There are many mini buses circulating around the campus, but you better look up the routes, because at first they might be a bit confusing.
S.H.Ho college canteen
Speaking of being confused: I was getting constantly lost around the campus when I just arrived. I had to get a huge paper map and while in my imagination I looked like an explorer, others probably saw me as that low level noob. And people just couldn’t miss the chance to rub into my face their ‘shortcuts’. It is indeed a useful thing, but it took time to figure out all of them, especially since the campus has many building with the same names. Moreover (I shall confess), it was kind of hard for me to remember the Chinese names of buildings. And MTR stations too…
Uni bus station
Anyway, I moved into my hostel and met my room mate. She is really nice and we quickly found a common wavelength. I am very lucky with her and we intend staying roommates. I’ve heard that some are not as lucky, but oh well…
That’s all I had in mind for today.
Stay approved, comrades