Mainlanders in HK share study experiences |
Home > Career Advice > Case Study > Mainlanders in HK share study experiences

Mainlanders in HK share study experiences

Published on Friday, 01 Mar 2013
Wang Yijia


Wang Yijia, from Beijing, came to Hong Kong in 2007 to study a doctoral degree in architecture from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She graduated last November and is now a research associate at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

What brought you here?

In 2007, as a fresh university graduate in China, I was eager to leave my familiar environment behind. My curiosity drove me to find somewhere new to study, which turned out to be Hong Kong.

After I started at HKU, I found Hong Kong to be the perfect place to research China's housing problem. From here, I can observe mainland developments, get international perspectives on my research problems, and obtain access to a lot of rich information blocked in the mainland.

How was campus life at HKU?

It was peaceful. Like all research students, I did my research under the guidance of supervisors, but there was a feeling of isolation. In our department, around 70 per cent of PhD students came from mainland, so we formed a small group, dining and playing together.

I had the chance to cooperate with local students, who were kind and easygoing, but I failed to develop long-lasting relationships with them. I think in my case, language was an important factor in this isolation, but it did not affect my study because the university took good care of us.

What helped you adapt to Hong Kong?

While studying, I seldom felt the need to integrate with the local community, but after graduation I started to learn Cantonese to make life more convenient.

Why did you choose to stay?

Compared to the mainland, the work environment is well regulated, the salaries are high and society is more stable. I am not quite sure whether having a Hong Kong experience will further my career development, but I like my job.


Vanessa Zhang, from Hunan province, came to Hong Kong in 2008 to pursue a master's degree in financial journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University. She now works at a public relations firm in the city.

How was campus life at HKBU?

Somehow I didn't feel much like I was a part of the campus because, except from having lessons, or staying in the library for a few hours after class, we barely engaged in any kind of activities there. We didn't live on campus but rented a flat outside.

One year is short and if you didn't proactively seek new friends, you would just stay with mainland friends, since we had more in common with each other. For the class I took, around 70 to 80 per cent of students were from the mainland.

What helped you adapt to Hong Kong?

Learning the local dialect by talking with people such as professors, neighbours and shop keepers. It's not hard, it just takes some time.

Do you think your experience in Hong Kong will benefit your career?

Since I haven't returned to the mainland yet and started working there, I'm not sure. There is no doubt, though, that people in Hong Kong are much more hardworking than in the mainland and their will to work overtime is beyond my imagination - and now I am part of it.

In terms of language - both English and Cantonese - efficiency and dealing with international clients, I think working in Hong Kong will help me grow and develop quicker.

Become our fans