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Study Abroad in Hong Kong

Sometimes referred to as ‘the Pearl of the Orient,’ Hong Kong may seem ultra-modern but it’s still firmly rooted in tradition. By living with a local host family and attending high school, you’ll be fully immersed in the unique culture of Hong Kong, which is one of the most densely populated places in the world. You’ll meet lots of new people and have the opportunity to become a part of the community. Get ready for an experience unlike any other!

Eligibility

Graduates Eligible? No, only current high school students are eligible to apply.
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range 15 years 6 months to
17 years 0 months at start of program
COVID-19 Vaccine Strongly recommended, not required*

*AFS cannot predict and is not responsible for changes to host school or government health requirements which may change from the time of application and could impact program eligibility.

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

Your Journey to Hong Kong

Visa Information

AFS will provide visa guidance and support documents (if applicable). Visa processes can be lengthy and complex; you may be required to travel long distances to apply for the visa if there is not an embassy, consulate, etc. close to your home. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond a return date from your host country. We urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible if applying to an AFS program. We recommend not taking any trips (domestically or internationally) within 2 months prior to your AFS program as it may interfere with the visa application process and result in a late program start date.

Travel & Orientation

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience.

Also during this time, AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Hong Kong will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers…as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.

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Your Accommodations

Meeting your Host Family in Hong Kong

You could live anywhere in Hong Kong, including the mainland or other outlying areas. Even though Hong Kong is a huge city, excellent public transportation makes it easy to get around and explore. Most families have small, urban apartments and it’s not uncommon for multiple generations to live under one roof. Like many Asian societies, people in Hong Kong take off their shoes when they enter a home. You’ll typically be offered slippers to wear by your host. Traditionally many relatives live together but you’re more likely to live with a standard nuclear family. Even so, you can expect to visit with extended family fairly regularly. On the weekends and holidays, families enjoy shopping, having a picnic, going out to a restaurant for tea, or traveling to mainland China.

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Your High School in Hong Kong

High School in Hong Kong is very challenging, but while the education system used to be based on memorization, most teachers now focus on interactive learning and critical thinking. School runs for ten months and lasts about eight hours a day. You’ll probably attend a public high school and have a core set of classes along with many elective subjects like tourism, music, or Chinese literature. Taking part in various school clubs will provide you with a great opportunity to get involved in your community. There are clubs for a wide range of interests including sports, debate, drama, and history.

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Daily Life

Teenage Life in Hong Kong

A lot of your time will probably be spent socializing with your host family and friends from school. However, Hong Kong is a bustling city and you’ll find lots to do. You could play sports like basketball and soccer or go hiking on one of the region’s great trails. Yoga has also become extremely popular, especially among women. In the evening, you can expect to hear the sounds of people singing karaoke.

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Food you’ll encounter

Rice is a staple food and appears in almost every dish. Congee, a rice porridge sometimes served with meat and vegetables, is a popular breakfast. You’ll also see a wide variety of noodles, including ramen, udon (a thick wheat noodle), and rice noodles. Most noodles are served either fried or boiled. There are a number of different drinks you could find offered with your meal, including coffee, tea, fruit juices, and flavored milk drinks.

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Hong Kong? Yes
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) Online
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
$
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from high school in Hong Kong, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Hong Kong.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.