MDes Talks: Mainland Students Living in Hong Kong: Small Things Not to Be Neglected

Liu Hanyun has a degree in Digital Media Technology from Beijing Forestry University and is currently studying in the International Design and Business Management  programme. Born and Educated in Northern China, this is her first time to be away from home. Everything is new and worth exploring.

As students from the Mainland, we expect new experiences and surprises in Hong Kong. However, living in a new city is stressful for everyone at the beginning. After living in Hong Kong for a while, I would like to share some of my experiences so that future Mainland students can prepare themselves better for settling into this city more smoothly.

∙   ∙   ∙

Before we are able to find our new routines in the new environment, we will need to look after our body and pay attention to how our health condition is responding to a change in the climate and weather.


Mainland Students Living in Hong Kong: Small Things Not to Be Neglected
Photo by JC GellidonUnsplash

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate. It means a long, humid, sweaty hot summer. But indoor, the air cons in public spaces run in full-blast, so you may need an “indoor” jacket even in the hot summer. In winter, although Hong Kong is located at the southeast part of China, the weather is wet and freezing due to the lack of central heating. Northern Chinese would better have sweaters, jackets, warm blankets and even an electric heater to keep yourself comfortable.

Health Concern

If you used to live in the northern part of China where the weather is dry all year round and rainy in summer, be aware that things are super different in Hong Kong. You need to pay attention to health issues such as heatstroke. Make sure you are prepared for the intense heat of summer, such as avoid to stay outside during mid-day and use hats and sun-blocking umbrella if needed.


Two days of classes were cancelled during the attack of Super Typhoon Mangkhut mid-September as the city braced for the most intense storm for years. Hong Kong’s peak typhoon season extends from July to September. There is a belief in the Chinese culture that typhoons occurring around or after mid-autumn festival can be terrifying. I’d advise you to take precautionary measures before typhoons come. The HK Observatory app is useful for Weather Forecast and Tropical Cyclone Warning and related information.

∙   ∙   ∙

You will probably get a thousand articles when you search for living in Hong Kong. However, the following would work particularly well for PolyU students.


Mainland Students Living in Hong Kong: Small Things Not to Be Neglected
Photo by katie manningUnsplash

There are abundant street food dishes and local delicacies available in every corner, such as egg yolk tarts, milk tea, rice-wrapped spring rolls, and so much more. The food in "Cha-Chaan-Teng"s are affordable and tasty; they are your place to go for breakfast and lunch. They serve a wide range of food, including western, eastern, or fusion cuisine there. Cantonese cuisine uses a number of ingredients to enhance flavour, but if you are craving for something spicier, you will find Sichuan Cuisine everywhere in the PolyU neighbourhood.


Hong Kong is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most expensive cities to rent property. The prices are higher here than other major cities in Mainland China; the flats are generally smaller. If you can, find an apartment close to PolyU (in areas such as Hung Hom or Tsim Sha Tsui), or an MTR (subway) station if further away.


Mainland Students Living in Hong Kong: Small Things Not to Be Neglected
Photo by RISE/ Flickr

Leaving one’s hometown and family to live in an unfamiliar city and the need to instantly adapt to a new life makes us feel lonely. Fortunately, you will meet new friends from all over the world. Your mind will be broadened as you learn about different cultures and traditions from your flat mates and schoolmates.


MTR is the most efficient way to get around the city that covers almost all residential and commercial areas in Hong Kong, and you can pay by a Octopus Card. Prices vary depending on where you’re heading. Having said that, if you are in no rush, you can enjoy the views by taking ferry when you cross the harbour and tram upon your arrival in HK island.


Most of the locals speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. English is one of Hong Kong’s official languages, and we see an increasing number of Mandarin speakers living in Hong Kong. Therefore, don’t worry about the everyday communication even if you don’t speak Cantonese. But it’s fun to pick up some Cantonese vocab and slang from your local classmates ;)

About the Writer

Liu Hanyun, a Mainland Chinese Student with a Bachelor’s in Digital Media Technology, currently studying Master of Design (International Design and Business Management). I am interested in the Internet industry that needs design, not just technology. Since my background is in technology, studying in PolyU Design helps me improving the abilities of design thinking and innovating of using multidisciplinary knowledge.

MDes Talks is a series of student blogs produced by current MDes students and recent graduates. For its third edition, the editorial team consists of writers from China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. They write about study life, living abroad, design, and what you don't know about PolyU and Hong Kong.