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Tips for CityU students living off-campus in Hong Kong

Any new city is daunting to an outsider. No matter how well organized, its layout will elude any confused and tired traveler. It takes focus, time and a smidgen of common sense to become comfortable and to begin to build a new home wherever you are.

I feel comfortable20160903_142234 in Hong Kong now. However, I had fears as a result of not being accepted for on campus accommodation at City University of Hong Kong. Weren’t all the exchange students going to be situated on campus? How would I get to know anyone, or find my way around without help? I was lucky to wind up in Sham Shui Po –  a fun, navigable suburb with a tonne of cheap and tasty food and a subway stop a stone’s throw away.

I definitely would have benefitted from some research prior to arrival though, so here are some tips if you are planning to take the off campus route:


  • Consult the CityU web page for off campus accommodation options first. They can point you in a few good directions to start, and if you are still struggling try and have a look at the FindYourRoomInHongKong Facebook group.
  • Check the MTR map, and make sure you are looking for accommodation close to an MTR train stop, and ideally on a line that will get you to Kowloon Tong (the closest station to CityU.)
  • If you need to get stuff like toothpaste or shampoo when you arrive, look around for a Wellcome supermarket. It is more affordable than Taste, which caters to wealthier shoppers. You can also get towels from Wellcome, and I would recommend grabbing a few spare if you aren’t sure of the laundry facilities at your accommodation.
  • Get a microwaveable bowl and some cutlery. Some accommodation options (like mine) won’t have a fully fledged kitchen. If you are provided with a kettle and microwave, stock up on mi goreng so you aren’t eating out for every meal. Even in the cheaper restaurants, the cost adds up!
  • If processed, packaged grub makes you cringe, I would recommend hunting down a good grocery or street food stall. Areas like Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok are littered with them, and you’ll get a fresh snack for less than $2.
  • Get a small umbrella or raincoat. The weather in Hong Kong changes so quickly, it’s a safe bet to carry something around with you for when the rain hits.
  • If your accommodation is dorm style or in a hostel, and there are common living spaces, hang out there! It’s your fastest route to making friends who live near you, which is a must if you wanna eat out at the local joints without looking like a loner!

Rory Green


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