31 UBC exchange students in Hong Kong marked safe

In light of violent altercations between protesters and police in Hong Kong, UBC affirmed that its 31 students on exchange in Hong Kong are safe or have left the city.

In a press conference this afternoon, VP Students Ainsley Carry and Go Global Student Safety Abroad Advisor Laurinda Tracey said UBC has contacted its exchange students, recommending that they leave the city. As of today, 20 exchange students have left Hong Kong. The 11 remaining are “safe and accounted for.”

Of the 11, six have secured travel plans to leave before the end of November, and UBC is working with two on their travel planning. The remaining three have chosen to stay with family in Hong Kong. All were offered an emergency bursary of $1000, which 27 successfully received.

“We are encouraging any UBC students who choose to remain in Hong Kong to be mindful of directives from their host university and monitor International SOS to receive ongoing updates and guidance on how to stay safe,” wrote Murali Chandrashekaran, vice-provost, international in a statement to The Ubyssey.

UBC is currently working with their partner universities — the Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong University — to determine if exchange students can complete their terms from a distance and receive the credits for this semester.

“At this point, our partner schools have made the decision to suspend in-person classes or to end the term early. We do not know when they will be able to reopen and resume normal operations,” said Carry.

UBC will be cancelling term two exchanges and co-ops in Hong Kong. Students were informed of the cancellation and will be given the choice to either switch to a different university for exchange, defer their exchange or withdraw from their exchange.

“[Hong Kong partner universities have] been keeping in very close contact with us, sharing updates, helping all our students make arrangements for short-term accommodations, really going above and beyond to support our students,” said Tracey.

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According to Tracey, she has received no reports of injuries sustained by UBC students during the protests. Nor are they aware of any exchange student involvement in the protests.

Carry said that UBC has issued no warning to students regarding travel to Hong Kong at this time.

“The university will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves,” said Carry.