Study Abroad in Hong Kong

Riccardo Marcon – BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing

My name is Riccardo Marcon, and I’m an Italian student currently enrolled in the English Literature and Creative Writing course at the University of Surrey. I’m writing this because I just spent 9 awesome months in Hong Kong, at the City University of Hong Kong.

I think everyone should go abroad whenever they have the chance, regardless if it’s for studying or any other reasons: indeed, as soon as one is removed from one’s own, comfortable surroundings, one is already growing as a person and citizen of the world, nevermind their studies. With the Surrey exchange program however, one also has the opportunity to incredibly deepen their studies and the relevance of their degree on the world stage at a competitive university: a very good deal, if you ask me!

At CityU, most accommodations are shared with another student, with the bathrooms shared among four people. At the beginning I thought this was going to be unpleasant and inconvenient, but the very cheap cost (much less than London), and the friendly atmosphere changed my mind completely and I was soon happy with my choice. The CityU campus is a 10-minute walk away from the University: very convenient! The University is provided with four different canteens, each with their own menus and cooking styles, so that you can never get tired of the food you can eat; moreover, it is so cheap that I literally never cooked myself – indeed, I would have spent more buying food at a grocery store.

The best place in Hong Kong is unarguably the small islet of Cheng Chau, where fishermen will show you how to fish and then cook what you hunt for you in the traditional steamed style. The CMC, Creative Media Center, was the best thing around the university, with plenty of places where to study and rest, and cinema screens to screen your favourite movies.

Hong Kong is located in a very convenient spot in Asia, facing the South China Sea and open to many different countries (this is the reason why it has developed as probably the most important harbour in the area), in such a way that travelling from HK to nearby places is very easy and quite cheap. I went to Japan for two weeks and the whole trip, including visits to all the major cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, cost me less than a return ticket from London to Tokyo: I couldn’t let this chance slip by.

Honestly, the grant I received was everything! The student accomodation in Hong Kong was very cheap, which meant that I could make the most of the money I was granted, and travel to other places and really immerse myself in the local culture.

*Disclaimer: The Santander grants are no longer available for students to apply for beyond the 2023/24 academic year. Please see our MySurrey website for further information about funding available through the Turing Scheme and other grants and scholarships.