17 November 2019
Many top mainland high school students still look to Hong Kong for tertiary education.Photo: Xinhua
Many top mainland high school students still look to Hong Kong for tertiary education.Photo: Xinhua

HK universities still appeal to top mainland students

Mainland fervor for studying in Hong Kong may have cooled compared with a few years ago but the city’s universities are still attractive to some top students across the border, mainly due to its mix of East and West.

Wu Yaochen, Shanghai’s top scorer in science in this year’s college entrance exams, said he chose the University of Kong Kong’s Faculty of Science because of a new program that lets students study at the labs of the most prestigious universities in the world, the overseas edition of People’s Daily reported Tuesday. Wu is also keen to take part in the university’s broad range of activities to expand his outlook.

Yu Shao, Hebei province’s top scorer in last year’s entrance exam for literature, chose Chinese University of Hong Kong for its great multicultural and academic atmosphere.

The report said that although the biggest assets of Hong Kong universities are their global reputation and international approach to teaching, many mainland students still do not think of the city as their first choice. Cultural differences are major concerns, as are the challenges of English-only lectures, extensive use of Cantonese in the city and higher living expenses. 

Rising tension between mainland tourists and Hong Kong residents is another reason.

“Quarrels between Hong Kong people and mainland tourists, or the Mong Kok incident when a mainland couple let their child relieve himself in public — these changing attitudes of Hong Kong residents towards mainlanders put me off studying in Hong Kong,” a top student from Yunnan Province was quoted as saying.

An unnamed mainland education expert said Hong Kong universities have become a little less attractive as more mainland universities have gone global.

Nevertheless, the University of Kong Kong received more than 10,000 applications from mainland students and enrolled only 307, suggesting competition to get in is still intense.

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