In my previous posts, I had tried talking about my specific experiences and learning at UST, which might apply to any study abroad program in general. However in this post, I will be more specific and talk about the amazing resources, opportunities, and food options on the HKUST campus.
Those of you who have been following my previous posts might be aware about the difficulty of classes and grading at HKUST. Every university has a minimum bar for setting the difficulty of classes, and for HKUST, I must say it’s pretty high. Because of which, it’s not surprising to see the students here studying really hard to do well on the classes. In return, HKUST provides great academic facilities and resources on-campus to ensure maximum productivity out of the students. For example, the library is the most popular place to study on campus with multiple sections spread across the different floors. The facilities like personal computers, private seats and carrels, mobile chairs, and a quiet area are ideal for an individual study. Whereas the resources like group study rooms with smart TV screens and group study tables are perfect for group study as well. There’s also an outdoor study place attached to the library which provides a refreshing sea facing view and peaceful surrounding to boost your productivity. And most importantly, if you’re someone who is more productive at night, there’s another section of the library which provides refreshments and stays open 24 hours. Moreover, there are three computer barns spread across the campus, which provide free access to personal computers for the students. And lastly, there are ample spaces inside and outside the academic building which provides enough room for the students to sit and work with their books or laptop. In fact, many times I simply grab my laptop and prefer coding at the beach. Which means you aren’t restricted to your room while studying. You can always go to the academic building or pretty much anywhere on-campus and make full use of all the above-mentioned academic resources.
Apart from providing the outstanding academic resources, HKUST also cares about the mental health and well-being of the students. As a result, the entire campus is well-equipped with sports facilities and multiple recreational points. To begin with, there are at least two major indoor sports complexes with facilities like a gymnasium, cardio areas, a swimming pool (indoor), squash, table tennis, basketball, volleyball, badminton, a climbing wall, and many more. In addition, there are outdoor facilities like a word-class swimming pool (right next to the sea), a professional soccer field surrounded by a running track, a mini soccer pitch, golf practice cages, a lawn area, basketball courts, and almost eight tennis courts around the campus. You don’t even need to have all the equipment for any sport you wish to play as all of it can be rented for free. All you need is to make a booking and reach the facility on-time. Also, as the campus is located on the Clear Water Bay shore, there’s a beautiful shoreline on-campus where you can walk, run, workout, or chill at anytime throughout the day. There’s also a well-maintained beach (with barbecue pits) on-campus, which is again a good place to grill and chill with your friends.
And lastly, the availability of food has always been another major concern for the aspiring exchange students. As HKUST is mostly a closed campus university in Clear Water Bay Peninsula (far from the city), one wouldn’t expect to find street food options or restaurants on the roads outside the campus. But, to ensure the utmost convenience for the students, multiple canteens, food outlets, and a huge supermarket are spread across various parts of the campus. While each of them operate during the different hours, it’s mostly possible for the students to find food at different outlets beginning from 7:00 in the morning until 2:00 at night. Also, as the restaurants are well spread, one can quickly find some food anytime between classes without having to worry about walking a long distance to one specific food outlet or a dining hall. HKUST and most of the universities in Hong Kong don’t have fixed dining halls and don’t provide any fixed meal plans for the term. Instead, they have canteens and restaurants where you can pay as you go and choose from all the different cuisines. If you have some dietary restrictions like being a vegetarian, you will still find limited but enough options in the canteens and restaurants. But the good part is that you can always go to different outlets each day and diversify your daily diet. Moreover, buying grocery from the supermarket and cooking your own food is always an option as well.
Therefore, studying at HKUST is a completely different academic and living experience compared to Drexel, but something that I would highly recommend to experience. Despite not being located in an urban setting and a city like Drexel, it provides ample of resources on the campus to ensure a solid academic and extracurricular experience for the students.