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I am a sophomore at Tulane University, and I am considering studying abroad at HKUST for business/finance in Spring 2013. I am an American-born Chinese, and speak (relatively rusty) conversational mandarin, although I need to work on my vocabulary. I was hoping you guys could tell me a bit about the school- its social life, academic difficulty in comparison to top American universities, the surroundings, etc.
I understand that HKUST uses a bell-curve for all of its classes; this is something I am extremely concerned about. I have a 3.8 GPA and I fear that I will not be prepared for the level of competition in a prestigious Hong Kong university. My father always told me about how when he went to college in China, he never set down the books except to eat or sleep. Going to school in the US my whole life, this is not a workload that I'm used to, particularly since I intend to see the city. I don't mean to come off as a slacker; I work hard, but I also drink and enjoy my downtime- and I've seen the PISA reports that rank HK the most educated in the world, with the US ranking in the 20's. Will getting A's be a feasible possibility? It's all just very intimidating.
Also, my understanding is that while Hong Kong does speak English, it is not entirely fluent/clear as Americans would hope. This is another factor I fear for in regards to my grades and spot on the bell curve.