HKU International Affairs Office

Prepare to Study Abroad

Resources and Support

Prepare to Study Abroad

Before your departure for study abroad, it is very important for you to learn about the credit transfer, application of leave of absence and other preparations. Therefore, please take some time to read through the information here to get yourself more familiarised with the items you need to know and prepare.


Pre-departure Briefing

Pre-departure Briefing Session is to provide soon-to-be study abroad students with the most important information and reminders before they take off. Students may refer to the important information for preparation:


Credit Transfer

Before departure, students should seek pre-approval of courses for credit transfer according to the Faculty’s regulations and requirements. Please consult the Head of Department or Departmental Course Selection Adviser on the credit transfer application. Students selected to participate in the exchange programme should submit the application form for credit transfer for exchange studies to their Faculty.

Students are advised to do comprehensive research to identify the most suitable courses, especially the required courses. To achieve this, you could map and compare the course offerings between HKU and the host institution. During the process, we ask students to be as flexible as possible because the arrangement of each institution may vary.

To facilitate the credit transfer, you are recommended to save the course materials during the study abroad programme. In this way, the Faculty could refer to the materials carefully and decide which courses are transferrable. The actual transfer of credits happens after you have returned to HKU. The Faculty has the final authority to decide the number of courses and credits taken at the host university to be transferred back to HKU towards your degree.

Please note that the pre-approval of courses and credit transfer arrangement of each Faculty may vary so please refer to the following pages for more information. 

Leave of Absence

Students are required to apply for leave of absence for the exchange semester (Fall, Full-year and/or Spring) to their Faculty. Please complete the Leave of Absence application before departure. In the application, you have to explain clearly which programme you participate in and attach relevant supporting documents.


Not every host institution offers on-campus accommodation. Be prepared to live off-campus or even work on your own housing arrangements. Nevertheless, all host institutions will provide assistance for you to find proper accommodation.

Financial Commitment and Arrangement

You are strongly recommended to observe the conditions and refund policy of the flights, accommodation, and quarantine arrangements to have better preparation. You are reminded to keep all related documents such as receipts and transaction records so that you can use them as supporting documents where a refund is necessary.

Extra and unexpected costs may arise upon your arrival at the host country especially in the first month of your stay. It is important to have the most realistic idea of the amount of money you need and prepare for different circumstances. Please conduct comprehensive research and have the best idea of all expected and potential expense items.

Try to get a rough estimate of living costs from the International Office of your host university. You are suggested to get tips from other exchange returnees as well.

Visa Requirement

Most countries require international students to apply for a valid student visa if they are planning to stay there for more than 90 days. Please check the requirements in detail with your host university or with the relevant consulates in Hong Kong. Please bear in mind that failure to comply with the entry visa requirements may result in delays or even deportation.

Students are reminded to refer to the instructions and website of the host university carefully. Students are also reminded to follow the updates closely of the Immigration Department and Consulate General of the host country since there may be constant changes.

University Health Service

For some study abroad programmes, the host university will require students to provide proof of good health. In this case, students will need to have a medical check-up. If students have received a medical check-up form from their host university, please make an appointment with our University Health Service (UHS) department for a check-up as soon as possible.

In order to protect yourself from infectious diseases endemic in the countries you will study or visit, you may have to get inoculations and vaccinations before going abroad. If you need vaccination, let the doctor know if you have any allergies before receiving it. The other way to protect yourself is to investigate the public hygiene of your host country and make sure the drinking water is safe to drink and the food is clean and cooked before you have your meals while abroad.

Academic Advising Forum @ Moodle - Finding Exchange Buddies

The Academic Advising Forum @ Moodle is an excellent platform for students seeking an exchange buddy. The online platform allows students to search for potential exchange buddies and connect with each other. They can post online, send messages, and get to know more about each other's interests. This platform is a great way for students to make new friends and get a head start on their exchange experience.