Benefits of Studying Design in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an international higher education hub with high-performing universities, affordable manufactures, and attractive lifestyle. Find out how a Masters in Design there can benefit your career.

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It is estimated that, by 2020, there will be 8 million international students studying outside of their home countries compared to 2.5 million in 2009, over 200% increase in just a decade - according to a report published for UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education.

Globalization brings exciting new and expanded opportunities to students for study, work and research. Students often tend to choose to study their Bachelor’s degree in their home country. As they become more aware of the global issues and industry trends in their 3- or 4-year education, more and more of them consider a master’s degree elsewhere that can better suit their needs. Employment prospects, connection worldwide, quality of education are the top three benefits of attending a programme offered by an internationally recognized university, according to Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

The need to study in a foreign environment is perhaps stronger for designers, design-preneurs and innovation consultants than other professions. Designers are in the heart of shaping everyday experience and culture through products, services and systems they define and realize. Creative solutions often depend on designers’ ability to distill insights and to find patterns emerging from in-depth understanding of people – how product/ service users think and act in a given context. Designers from overseas who study in Hong Kong – a dynamic city of high-speed and density that still enjoys freedom of information – will become sensitized quickly to the psychology, behavior, culture, and heritage of Asia. This might not be the case for studying in other Asian cities like Shanghai, Seoul or Tokyo where English speakers encounter language barriers in communication. English, along with Chinese, is an official language of Hong Kong.

For designers who are into manufacture:  Hong Kong is the international city closest to the world’s manufacturing hub – China’s Pearl River Delta. It is a prototype heaven for anyone with the maker’s spirit. The outsourcing services and digital suppliers in this part of the world unleash the potential to realize one’s own products. Find out more in Designers Inbetween, a revealing documentary created by two in-bound exchange students of PolyU Design, about the inner workings of the creative industry, its inhabitants and the challenges faced, set against the urban backdrop of Hong Kong.

At a macro level, the Asian economies, according to IMF, will continue to lead the world growth in 2015. Hong Kong has a low unemployment rate at only 3.3% in Q1 2015. Some of the more popular industries here are banking and finance, hotel, restaurants and tourism, trade and retail, real estates, professional and business services according to a Fact Sheet published by HK SAR Information Services Department (Apr 2015).  Hong Kong has been welcoming to attract overseas talents (Policy Address, 2015).  Under IANG Scheme, international students who completed their study here can stay for 12 months without other conditions of stay. Many design graduates have taken these opportunities to start a new page in their career development – from starting up a new business, to engaging in research, consultancy or design practice in Asia.

Hong Kong is student-friendly (QS Best Student Cities Index, 2015), safe (The Economist Intelligence Unit Safe Cities Index 2015) and livable (Monocle Annual Quality of Life Survey, 2014). It is also among the cities of highest living costs (Mercer Cost of Living Ranking, 2015). But don’t be put off by high rent – the costs for food, transportation, and telecommunication are fairly reasonable (Numbeo 2015).

To move your study abroad plan forward, all you need is planning. Allow 6 – 9 months before the start of study for consulting the institutions, taking an English test, preparing your portfolio and recommendations, researching accommodation options, and planning your finance. By doing so, you will be better prepared for a change – having enough time to iron things out or seek for help.

Further information
PolyU Design:
QS World University Rankings – Art & Design 2015:

Source: PolyU Design