1. Getting Around Campus
CUHK is quite a hilly campus so unless your college (the dorm/hostel you stay in) is close to where your class is, you’ll have to catch the CUHK shuttle buses to where you need to go. There’s a pdf of the shuttle bus timetable on the CUHK website or you can download the CUHK mobile app. During the day, various buses run different routes. It’s a good idea to check the route map next to the door of the bus before you hop on to make sure it’s the right one. On weekdays after 7PM, only one shuttle bus (Route N) runs, and it operates until 11:30pm.
2. Where to Eat
There are plenty of canteens on campus and although there are varying opinions on the quality of the food, the meals are definitely very affordable! Near the Benjamin Franklin Canteen is also a small store that sells heaps of snacks (ice-cream, buns, egg-waffles, drinks, etc.) which is open quite late. It’s a bit hard to find but just ask around, it’s the store facing the swimming pool. At most canteens, you’ll need to grab your own tray to put the food on and remember to return your trays/bowls once you’ve finished eating. At some canteens, like Morningside, you’ll also need to scrape any leftovers into a bin. You can pay with your Octopus card at most canteens. The Octopus card is like our Metro card but way more convenient – you use it for public transport but it can be used to pay for stuff at most shops around Hong Kong, like convenience stores.
3. Off-Campus Public Transport
Exchange is definitely the best time to be exploring, so being able to navigate around Hong Kong is also very important! Luckily, public transport in Hong Kong is super convenient and quick. The best way to get from CUHK to somewhere else is via the railway network, called the MTR. CUHK is located at its own MTR station (The University Station) on the East Rail Line, which is the light blue line on the MTR map. If you’re unfamiliar with the MTR/public transport in Hong Kong, don’t worry! At Orientation Day, CUHK presenters give a great summary of all this basic info.
Tip: Make sure to grab your application form for a student Octopus card from i-centre (located at YIA) the first week you’re there, fill it out and hand it back to the i-centre ASAP. About a week later, i-centre returns the form in your pigeon hole (also located at i-centre). Then, you’ll need to submit the form at an MTR station. Your student Octopus card can then be collected, usually from Tai Wai (a station a few stops away from the University Station on the same line) a month later.
4. Photo Ops!
Before you leave CUHK, I’d definitely recommend that you take heaps of photos around the campus. I’d suggest going to see the infinity pool near New Asia College and the main entrance to CUHK near the Lee Sau Kee (LSK) Building. (Hint: These places make great repostable Instagram photos #uaglobal). Just ask a local student where these places are and they should be able to give you the directions (like I did because I couldn’t trust myself to find it alone). Also, outside the University Library is a large statue that is hard to miss. Don’t walk under this statute because local students say that those who do won’t ever get a GPA higher than 3 (out of 4)!
Moving to my last and most boring point, examinations at CUHK! Unlike at Adelaide Uni where exams are held at Wayville, CUHK exams are all at different venues on campus. You’ll receive an email when the timetable is out, make sure to check your venue and your seat number because the seating chart won’t be there at the venue on the day of the exam.
Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your exchange!