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Hong Kong: Student Finances - Must read

Student living costs in Hong Kong

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One of the main advantages of living in a region like Hong Kong is that you’re never too far from new scenery. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have an all-encompassing view of the region, overlooking city skyline and water, with the mountains in the background (if not, you can be somewhere new in just a short time thanks to the excellent transport links and close proximity of several different landscapes).


Accommodation in Hong Kong

If you’re lucky you’ll be placed in university accommodation which is usually subsidised for students and a lot less expensive (this is quite common practice). While perhaps not as expensive as living in London or California, Hong Kong is still rather dearly priced because so much of the region is undeveloped and space isn’t readily available. You should set aside between HK$10,000-17,000 for accommodation for the year. This is a rough estimate, and you should always confirm your university’s accommodation charges with them directly (use the University of Hong Kong’s guide as an example). In rare circumstances, you may have the option to choose between a single or shared room; if you want to save money, a shared room will be the cheaper of the two options.

While universities in Hong Kong are newly-built and do not have the same sense of longstanding tradition and heritage of those in England, they tend to be more modern and contemporary in their design and aesthetic (because they were built more recently in the 20th century).

Accommodation culture is both similar and very different to that of US institutions. Because space is limited all over Hong Kong (not just in student accommodation), expect to share a dorm room with a roommate like you would in the US (and a bathroom with a handful of fellow-students). Hong Kong accommodation really makes use of particular design features to minimise space occupation – expect desks which extend slightly over your bed and ingenious storage facilities etc. If you don’t study well in these “cosy” conditions, you can always look off-campus for a place where you enjoy working – luckily Hong Kong is very safe to move around even after dark, and the transport links are excellent.

However, campus culture is quite different to what you might expect in the US or UK. Students are expected to participate in social activities, including attending meals with other student, something referred to as ‘High Table’ at some institutions. Those who don’t are punished by the administration, though overall its aim is to promote cohesion and bonding with those you live with.

If you cannot secure on-campus student accommodation, there are a number of off-campus possibilities such as renting a room in a flat, or as part of a home-stay with a family. Take a look at the following useful links:


Living Costs

Depending on where you’re living, you may have to pay additional fees and costs, including utility bills, internet access etc. Below is a rough breakdown of what you can expect to pay per month:

  • Gas.....HK£0.22/MJ + HK$20
  • Electricity.....HK$1.04/kWh + HK$36 (step toll charge)
  • Water.....First 12 m2 free + HK$4-6/ m2 (step toll charge)
  • Internet.....HK$200 (Hong Kong Broadband Network; 500Mbps)
  • Mobile phone bill.....HK$100-300



Fortunately the transport system in Hong Kong is both varied and efficient to cope with the hectic local lifestyle, making the need to own a car completely redundant:

  • Train railcard per month.....HK$25/day, or HK$600 a month
  • Bus travel card per month.....HK$6/trip



Eating out for a student can be relatively cheap for a city environment, with students expecting to pay between HK$ 25-35 for a delicious meal from a cafe. If you’d rather stay in and cook for yourself (or with housemates and friends), check out how much the following key ingredients cost from a shop:

  • Thai rice (8kg bag).....HK$89
  • Chilled Chicken.....HK$100-120 per kg
  • Vegetables.....HK$14-18 per kg
  • Pork.....HK$70-80 per kg


M  Misc. costs

  • Combo Meal at McDonalds.....HK$35
  • Domestic Beer.....HK$10 (Tsingtao Beer in China, 640ml)
  • Imported Beer.....HK$17 (Budweiser Beer, 600ml)
  • Cappuccino (regular).....HK$30 (Starbucks Tall Cappuccino)
  • Coke/Pepsi......HK$4.5 (330ml)
  • Bottle of Water.....HK$4-5 (Bonaqua, 770ml)


Now that you know a bit more about the costs to live and study in Hong Kong, find a course in Hong Kong today!