Students should expect both academic and social challenges Hong Kong students planning to study in mainland universities will meet challenges in their academic and social lives, a group of local students say. Academic challenges might range from a more difficult mathematics exam to questions on politics that Hong Kong students might never have imagined - most of which would require a profound knowledge of Chinese contemporary history and the political system, they said. The Hong Kong students have spent a year at Tsinghua University or Beijing University, two top mainland tertiary institutions, before returning to study at the University of Hong Kong under a $100,000 annual scholarship. They suggested students at the two universities were the 'best of the best in China', whose strength in calculus and other sciences might easily beat Hong Kong's top students if they were under extra pressure. 'They [local students] should also be prepared that, after studying in Tsinghua, their English level will definitely drop,' said Zhang Jiawen, an economics student majoring in finance. 'It's not that the English teachers in Tsinghua are bad, but the environment is really not favourable to speaking it.' Wang Li, a second-year law student, said: 'A lot of Tsinghua students spend the whole day studying and they take breaks only for meals or sleep. If you are not one of them, you will find yourself very lonely.' Despite the gloomy picture they painted of studying in Beijing, all the students said Hong Kong students would benefit from the experience. 'They will learn to be independent; their vision will be broadened. The most valuable thing is that they will understand the Chinese way of doing business,' Mr Wang said. Beijing University, meanwhile, has recruited 43 top Hong Kong students from 150 applicants. Most applications were for studies in medicine, politics and law. Among those offered places was a student at King's College, Fong Chin-lung, who scored nine As in last year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination.