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HONG KONG - ISEP Chinese University of Hong Kong

East meets West in an exciting metropolis!

Since the transfer of power from British rule in 1997, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. A cosmopolitan and highly developed city, Hong Kong is also one of the most densely populated areas in the world. The deep harbor and unique sky scrapers provide an impressive and expansive skyline.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is one ISEP’s oldest members and a popular destination for exchange students.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.  

Learn more about The Chinese University of Hong Kong here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Experiences of Former Students


“In a blend of Eastern and Western cultures, Hong Kong is truly a diverse and unique place with a distinct history and fascinating emerging culture.” –Jennifer Pham, San Jose State University

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0.  

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


Hong Kong is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China. Situated on China’s south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbor.

It is a perfect blend of East and West, where the busy city pace meets a traditional lifestyle. Highlights of Hong Kong include:

  • International cosmopolitan city lifestyle
  • Follow traces of Chinese and Western cultures
  • Eat and shop around the clock
  • Learn business and trade in world’s freest economy
  • Travel to Mainland China and Asia in the blink of an eye

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Hong Kong. 


Experience the perfect blend of East and West in the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. CUHK professors and students come from all corners of the world. Courses are available in the arts, business, engineering, sciences, and social sciences fields. Particularly recommended for students interested in Asian, Chinese, and international studies. CUHK also offers many cultural activities including Tai Chi classes, field trips, and part-time teaching opportunities.

Courses focused on Asian, Chinese, and International studies. Chinese (Cantonese and Putonghua) language courses available.

Students typically enroll in 4-6 classes per term, which averages to 12-18 hours in class per week. A term runs up to 15 weeks. 

At The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), one unit is roughly equivalent to one hour of instruction per week. In general, most three-unit courses are composed of three hours of lecture, or two hours of lecture and one hour of tutorial per week. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 168 total contact hours or 27 ECTS.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 126 total contact hours or 21 ECTS.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.


CUHK offers a wide range of courses from different disciplines in English. Please refer to the teaching timetable for course availability.  

Many classes are taught in English, but the availability of English-language classes varies from year to year and requires flexibility in making course selections.

ISEP participants will be affiliated with the International Asian Studies Program (IASP). IASP offers Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese language courses (through the Yale-in-China language program).

Currently, spaces in Business, Management, Finance, Marketing, Communication, and Broadcasting courses taught in English are extremely limited. Students requesting courses in these departments must be flexible in their course requests.


Course Information” link, click:
“Teaching Timetable/Classroom Booking” >> “Full-time Undergraduate Teaching Timetable” >> “Teaching Timetable”


For direct-enroll courses, please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.


Language Requirement: Previous Chinese language study is not required.
Language Courses: Intensive Cantonese and Putonghua courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year and/or semester for all levels.
Additional Information: Students may enroll in up to 6 credits of Chinese language without additional charge. 

Student Life

Founded in 1963, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is a forward-looking comprehensive research university with a global vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. CUHK teachers and students hail from all corners of the world. As a top university in Hong Kong and Asia, CUHK aims to nurture students with both specialized knowledge and wisdom for life. The education experience here is distinguished by a flexible credit unit system, a college system, bilingualism, and multiculturalism. 


ISEP students can meet with the international office upon arrival or they can register for the extensive events-filled university orientation with other international students. International students can also sign up for the Buddy program to partner up with local students.


Airport pickup is not provided. The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.


To fully maximize students’ experience at CUHK, an array of cultural programs are organized. The Cultural experience is an integral part of an exchange experience at CUHK. Cultural programs include field trips, teaching-in-China program, teaching-in-Hong Kong, Tai Chi class, etc. A wide range of student-organized clubs open for international students to join. More information will be provided within the orientation package.

  Experiential Opportunities
Students can volunteer to teach English in Hong Kong or Mainland China. More details are provided on arrival in Hong Kong.
Housing and Meals

Students are housed in double rooms in one of the residence halls located on campus. A monthly stipend is provided to students. Wi-fi is accessible in the dormitories. The dormitories vary in quality and space, but all are quite livable. You will be placed with one or two Chinese roommates and will have to get accustomed to more rules and regulations than on a US campus. 

There are eleven canteens on campus that cater to students with various dietary/religious restrictions. Students are provided a stipend to cover approximately 19 meals/week.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to CUHK includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office