As a region that begins with letter H according to Trackaah, Hong Kong is a small state with many inhabitants. With only 1,106 square kilometers and 7.3 million inhabitants, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated states. In addition, Hong Kong is surrounded by the world’s busiest port, with the overriding result that traffic is constant, wild and unavoidable.
Although Hong Kong was ruled by Britain from 1841-1997, the population is 98% Chinese and they are committed to preserving the ancient traditions. It is a city of contrasts; there is an abundance of modern skyscrapers, stands with herbal medicine and shops with trendy fashion clothes. There are wheelbarrows parked next to Rolls Royce cars. Birds in cages are taken for a walk in the city parks, where the fortune tellers sit lined up at the roadside. Hong Kong is a good example of the East meeting the West.
Socially and culturally, many of the traditional Chinese values are important in Hong Kong. Concepts like family solidarity and not losing face are essential in Hong Kong. In social contexts, Hong Kongians are often very respectful and formal.
- CAPITAL CITY: Victoria City
- LANGUAGE: Chinese and English
- CURRENCY: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
- AREA: 1,104 km2
- POPULATION: 7,324,000
People and community
You will probably live in an urban area on the mainland or one in a small suburban area. It is very common for both parents to work many hours a day, and it is also normal for the grandparents to live with your host family in a small apartment. Respecting and having time for your host family is important. Families prefer to eat together at home on weekdays, but you can expect to eat out on weekends, especially like Sunday for yum cha (lunch). It may also be that the day goes by with a trip to mainland China.
You will attend a school where the classes are taught in either English (EMI) or Chinese (CMI). EMIs and CMIs are public schools with a set of hard subjects and electives such as tourism, music, or Chinese literature. Your school will be highly academically oriented, intensive and demanding. According to TopSchoolsintheUSA, the school year runs from September to July for about eight hours a day. Most subjects take place at lectures, and those students are expected to wear uniforms.
Both English and Chinese (most often Cantonese) are official languages of Hong Kong. You must have a basic knowledge of English before your exchange stay begins and you must be prepared to learn Cantonese. We will offer Cantonese lessons at the beginning of your stay.
Hong Kong offers lots of goodies for your taste buds. A normal meal consists of fish, meat, eggs, vegetables and rice or noodles, and most dishes are wok-fried or steamed. Salads, raw vegetables and dairy products – such as milk or cheese – are found in Hong Kong, but are not common. Many students bring lunch with rice and meat to school.