Prior to departure, all participants are required to attend a pre-departure briefing session. Representatives from FUSIA and HKU will provide essential information such as the visiting schedule, preparation work, dress code, and important points to note.
Date: December 20, 2023 (Wed)
Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm (Hong Kong Time)
Venue: MW315, 3/F, Meng Wah Complex
Participants in Hong Kong are encouraged to attend the orientation in person. Otherwise, please refer to email for the Zoom link.
The next NYEP “New York Career Exploration Programme” is run in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong’s CEDARS from Jan 2 through Jan 13, 2024 exploring NYC’s diverse industries through 16 company visits.
What should I expect during departure and arrival?
1 Before Boarding Check with your airline for any last-minute updates. Be informed about what you can and cannot bring on the flight, and be mindful of duty-free allowances. If you’re carrying medication, ensure it’s in its prescription packaging.
2 On the Day of Departure Arrive at the airport early. Carry your passport and the letter from HKU. Make sure to get to your gate early as flights to the US often require an additional inspection before boarding.
3 Upon Arrival Proceed to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection area and join the line for non-citizens. Expect an interview followed by fingerprinting. Take the visa interview seriously, as in rare cases, CBP may conduct a secondary inspection. This process can take several hours or, in some instances, lead to entry denial. After your CBP interview, you will proceed to the luggage area to pick up your baggage. Please remember not to use your phone while in customs, as there is a risk of it being confiscated.
4 After You Exit Customs You will come across machines selling SIM cards. Generally, it’s advised not to purchase from these machines unless there is an official AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon store present. If you haven’t purchased a SIM before leaving, don’t worry - there are many stores near your hotel where you can get one. You may also encounter people offering car rides. Do not accept these offers. For your commute from JFK to the hotel, consider a yellow cab, Uber, or licensed car service. The travel time by car is approximately 20 minutes. A Chinese car service* offers an optimal mix of affordability and efficiency for your journey from JFK to Flushing Chinatown, but a US mobile number is required for this service. Also, given that passengers aren’t permitted to wait outside the airport, they will only accept calls after you exit customs with the exact location specified.
*Examples of Chinese car services include Huang Hou (+1 718 762-3333) and Golden Horse (+1 718 359-6666). When calling, provide your location, group size, and luggage. Rates fluctuate with peak times and load - $28-$32 for cars, $42-$46 for vans. Cars fit 2-3 people, vans up to 5, luggage dependent.
Where will I reside?
1 Flushing Our selection of this area considers accessibility, affordability, and safety, while recognizing its notable Chinese cultural influence. This aspect might not align with the preferences of some participants.
2 Hotel Room The hotel is the Asiatic Hotel in Flushing, Queens. Some rooms will undergo renovations in January. Each room includes two standard double beds and breakfast. Due to limited availability, some rooms may receive upgrades upon check-in, with a return to standard double rooms the next day. Breakfast is provided courtesy of the hotel from 7 AM to 10 AM.
3 No Gym and Laundry The hotel does NOT have a gym or laundry services, but there are facilities for these within walking distance.
4 Cleaning Services Available only upon request. Bed sheet changes are scheduled EVERY FOUR DAYS. For other cleaning needs, please PLACE GARBAGE OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR. If you require additional cleaning services on days other than the scheduled ones, please use the provided door tags or inform the receptionist.
5 Packages/Ordering Items When ordering items to be sent to the hotel, clearly indicate your name/room number, and make sure to track your package. Your belongings are your responsibility. Despite having a safe, refrain from leaving valuables in your room.
6 Briefing and MetroCard We will hold the briefing in the lobby. If you have any outstanding payment discrepancies, bring cash, and submit it at the briefing. After the briefing, for students who can’t purchase a weekly subway card in advance, we can offer assistance in buying one.
How does public transportation operate in New York City?
1 Traveling Between States NYC’s charm includes easy access to cities such as Boston, DC, and Philly, perfect for day trips or weekend getaways via Amtrak or shuttles. Adjacent to NYC, there’s New Jersey to the west and Long Island to the east, accessible via NJ Transit/PATH or the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).
2 Subway Safety The New York subway system, steeped in history, differs from those in Asia. Notably, there are no barriers between the platform and track, so it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance from platform edges. Eating inside the subway is prohibited. If you encounter performers or beggars, refrain from giving them money as it’s illegal. In the event of a fight or quarrel, keep your distance. Also, avoid taking the subway alone, especially at night. If you need to travel during these hours, stay close to the conductor for safety.
3 LIRR and Path Although LIRR and PATH trains may appear similar to the NYC subway, they operate with distinct payment systems and fares. When using LIRR and PATH, always purchase your ticket in advance to avoid penalties or fines.
4 Helpful Apps If your phone’s app store permits the download of US apps, download the official NYC payment and map apps ahead of your trip. Foreign credit cards may not be accepted at subway vending machines. If you encounter this issue, please seek assistance from us during the post-arrival gathering.
5 Transportation to Use Here’s a quick rhyme to help you remember: Inside NYC, use subways and buses, around NYC, ferries are a plus. To Long Island East, the LIRR’s your guide, to the west, NJ Transit/PATH coincide. Heading north, Metro-North’s your train, for other cities, cross-town buses and Amtrak pertain.
How is the cost of living in NYC? How much money should I bring?
1 Average Meal Price Personal expenses can vary based on location, time, and your spending habits, but on average, the budget is around USD 10-20 for lunch and USD 15-30 for dinner per day. Dining in Manhattan is generally more expensive than in Queens. On top of the bill, there is generally a sales tax and tip. Terms like "tipflation" and "taxflation," humorously describing phenomena, can lead to significantly higher final prices.
2 Taxes on Goods and Services The sales tax, which combines city and state rates, is charged on goods and services, and varies by city. In NYC sales tax is about 8.875% and New Jersey’s rate is about 6.625%. Five US states, including Delaware, have no sales tax. The US does not offer sales tax refunds to foreign visitors. In NYC, clothing is taxable, but items under $100 are exempt. In New Jersey, both food and clothing are tax-exempt.
3 Tipping in NY When dining at a restaurant with a party of six or more, a tip of 20% or above is typically already added. For lunch, a tip of about 15% to 18% is customary, while dinner normally ranges from 18% to 25%. When leaving a tip, ensure it's not already included to avoid double taxation. A quick method in NY is to multiply the tax by 2.
How much money should I bring, and can I use my credit card in NYC?
1 Alert Bank Before departing for the US, alert your bank of your travel plan. Additionally, inquire about associated fees, exchange rates, and the ATM systems connected with your bank. For added security, set a spending limit on your accounts, and activate transaction alerts.
2 Cash to Bring Foreign credit cards might face compatibility issues in NYC, especially with vending machines or online transactions that need zip code verification. Hence, bring some cash, but be cautious about carrying a large sum. Historically, students have typically brought an amount ranging from USD 1000 to 2000.
What should I do if I get sick and need to a doctor or medication?
1 Emergency In case of an emergency, go to the hospital. If it is not a severe emergency, visit a doctor, specialist, or an urgent care clinic, depending on the nature and severity of your condition.
2 Medical Facilities There are doctors, specialists, and an urgent care clinic within walking distance, with the closest and best hospitals to the housing facility are known as New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Main Street.
3 Health Insurance Claims Doctors and medical centers usually do not handle medical claims for you unless they are within the same network as your health insurance provider. If your insurance has network providers, visit those, as they typically assist in the claims process. If you have to handle your own claim, remember to secure a receipt and file it within the designated timeframe, and accurately provide your overseas address for the prompt delivery of any reimbursement checks.
4 Ambulance Ambulance services in the US, which are often operated by private companies, may not always be fully covered by health insurance.
How do I stay safe?
1 General Safety Tips NYC is widely regarded as a safe destination for tourists. As with any large metropolitan area, there is a substantial police presence. Nevertheless, it’s prudent to remain alert, understand how to protect yourself, and be aware of what actions to take in case of emergencies. As a general rule, always go out with someone and trust your instincts. If something feels off, stay away and avoid direct eye contact with strangers. Avoid quiet areas, and stick to well-lit, populated streets. After dark, opt for Uber, Lyft, or a licensed car service. Stay distance from large crowds and always have alternative safety plans in place. When alone, inform someone of your whereabouts. Have a portable charger and enable location tracking, connecting with one of your trusted friends.
2 Beware of Scammers Scams are prevalent nowadays; always stay alert and think twice before downloading or clicking on anything. Use ATMs at real banks and stick to daytime withdrawals. Do not leave valuables unattended in hotels, even in safes or locked luggage.
3 Keep a Record in Advance Before departure, photograph the serial numbers of your equipment and the cards in your wallet. Additionally, make a record of the phone numbers and card numbers to call in case they are lost or stolen, as you'll require this information to report the incident. Keep one set with your family members and another with you.
4 Police Report If you are a victim of a crime and need to obtain a report for insurance claims, ensure you report the incident at the police station where the incident occurred. After reporting the incident, obtain a reference number from the police officer. Then, go online to file for the police report, which will be sent to you. To play it safe, provide a self-addressed return envelope for the report to be sent to a US. address.
5 Emergency Number For after-hours emergency assistance or personal questions, reach out to EK or Yanni. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, dial 911. The police precinct, 109, is situated on the same street as the hotel, and the fire department is just one street away.
Should I buy a SIM card before or after I arrive?
1 Verizon vs T-Mobile Verizon is known for having the best coverage, while T-Mobile is popular among tourists due to its competitive pricing. However, preferences depend on many factors such as location. So, it is best to check the coverage of the area you plan to be in before making a purchase.
2 MVNOs (e.g., Boost Mobile, Cricket, Mint, Metro) provide budget-friendly plans but may face network congestion during peak hours, prioritizing customers of major carriers. When choosing an MVNO, consider the network they rely on for your purchase decision.
3 Buying a SIM Card These days, it’s convenient to buy US SIM cards in advance from overseas or have them shipped to your overseas address, a recommendation from fellow students. However, if you haven’t purchased one before arrival, avoid airport vendors. Flushing offers numerous stores where you can find SIM cards. Alternatively, consider visiting a physical store of one of the major carriers for your purchase. Typically, a one-month SIM card costs between USD 15-35, but finding one for around or below USD 50, especially with a major carrier, is considered a good deal.
Can you describe the agenda?
1 Industries Visits Our program encompasses more than 16 visits, ensuring a wide range of industries are represented. This encompasses finance, education, technology, non-profit, and community sectors.
2 Changes/Cancellations The program is set to take place right after the winter holidays, which can complicate the scheduling of some appointments. Furthermore, as many of the speakers we intend to visit occupy senior positions, arranging meetings at our preferred times poses an additional challenge. Consequently, the agenda might seem uneven, with some days having only one visit while others feature more than three. Be prepared for last-minute changes, including potential cancellations without replacements.
3 Prepare Snacks Some days may have limited mealtimes, necessitating students to prepare in advance, including bringing snacks.
4 Morning Each morning, we will convene in the lobby and leave as a group. For most visits, we will utilize the subway complemented by a certain amount of walking. Upon arrival at the venue, we will enter approximately 10-20 minutes before the scheduled time, depending on whether a security check is required. After each visit, we will proceed to the next.
How should I prepare and present myself?
1 University Represenation Given that all participants in our group hail from the same university, it is crucial to pay attention to your presentation and conduct, as the actions of any one individual can significantly impact the collective image of both our group and the university.
2 Do your Homework We encourage you to study the companies in advance, remain attentive to instructions, dress and present yourself appropriately, and ensure punctuality. Go over the agenda page and study about the company in advance. Given that networking is a key aspect of this program, many visits will involve engagement with people. Study the companies we'll be visiting in advance and ask appropriate questions, avoiding sensitive or irrelevant topics.
3 Agenda While the detailed agenda can be found on the agenda page, the night before each visit, we will touch base the agenda for the next day. In the event of any changes or specific instructions, we will communicate them to both WeChat and WhatsApp groups. Stay updated with our announcements. Bring a portable charger and ensure you have an internet connection.
4 Dress Appropriately for the Occasion New Yorkers have a relaxed and friendly demeanor, and winters in the city can be quite cold. So, the rule for the dress code is to dress warmly, comfortably, and neatly, and wear flat shoes, and be prepared for walking, even in snowy conditions. For reference, visit our past photo gallery to get an idea of the winter attire.
5 Be Prepared and Stay Enthusiastic Be mindful of the schedule and stay enthusiastic and engaged. For each visit, we will enter venues as a unified group before the scheduled time. If you happen to be late, we may ask you to wait outside until the visit is over. Ensure you get enough sleep the night before, and on free days, avoid excessive napping during visits. When someone is speaking, maintain eye contact and engage. If you find yourself feeling sleepy, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to wash your face.
6 Disband and Reconvene In situations where we must disband and reconvene, ensure that you adhere to the scheduled time. Before each visit, know where to go in case you get separated from the group, whether in the subway or while walking. Ensure you can still meet up with them in time.
7 Keep Quiet New York is a city of immigrants, where people often speak their own languages and have different accents. In public areas (e.g., inside the subway, waiting in the lobby for a visit), keep the volume of your conversations low to minimize disturbance to others.
What considerations should I be aware of?
1 Information Disclosure Some visits may require us to share the names, majors/background, and email addresses of participating students in advance for security checks and/or provide our hosts with a better understanding of our students' backgrounds.
2 Student Lead We will assign a student leader who will be responsible for introducing our group and presenting a souvenir to the host during our visits.
3 Photography and Videography We will be capturing photos and videos throughout our visits. If you would rather not be included in these visuals, keep a distance from the camera. All original photos will be shared witht the students on Microsoft Drive.
4 Group Gatherings and Dietary Preferences Our daily activities will conclude with a group dinner before we return. If you have dietary restrictions or specific food allergies, please inform us in advance.
5 Free Time. Students will have free time on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as after scheduled visits. While students explore on their own during their free time, we can assist in connecting students with others who plan to visit similar places as a courtesy.
6 Social Media Platforms In addition to the photo gallery, students' photos/videos will also be shared on our social media platforms. Additionally, a Microsoft shared folder will be accessible by both visiting hosts and students, as well as the university.
- @theccip @thenyep @fusiaj1
How to align expectations on daily scheduling and activities?
1 Program Scope The program revolves around providing participants with an understanding of NYC's dynamics through company and cultural visits, culminating in an inclusive gathering where complimentary food and refreshments will be provided. Our program scope includes arranging accommodation, providing students with essential resources, designing an agenda that incorporates 16+ visits similar to the sample provided in the initial announcement messages, scheduling visit appointments, and facilitating students' transportation to each visit place.
2 Visit Arrangements The visits aim to align with the original announcement sample while maintaining a balanced representation of commercial, community, and public administration sectors. Cultural attractions are not our focus, but we will include some. For company visits, content, speakers, and duration are at the host's discretion. If any visits require an admission ticket, we will take care of it. Meals are not provided during visits, and students are expected to make their own dining arrangements.
3 Agenda Our agenda is available at www.fusia.net/nyepagenda and may change without advance notice. The page features the agenda for each visit, as discussed with the host. Before each visit, we typically contact the host 1-2 days in advance, and any updates will be communicated in our agenda and group messages. The night before each visit, we will also provide a snapshot of the next day's agenda in our WhatsApp or WeChat group. Visits vary in duration, and speakers vary in style, ranging from casual to formal. If any changes occur, we will go with the host's decision and ask students to be prepared to adapt.
4 Changes For the core program scope and arrangements, we aim to align them with our previous announcements, undertaking, and briefing session. Execution-wise, we aim to accommodate the majority's interests while keeping deviations from the announced program to a minimum. For daily arrangements, cancellations and changes are expected, and we request everyone to be mentally prepared and adaptable. To reduce disruptions due to changes, we strive to communicate promptly and keep everything transparent. In our previous communication, we mentioned that if changes or cancellations are likely, they will not be replaced. In reality, if the schedule allows, we will make an effort to accommodate them. To ensure there are at least 16 activities in our agenda, we include more than we're supposed to, as a precaution against contingencies. As a general rule, any latest changes/updates will be communicated through our WhatsApp or WeChat group and may not be immediately reflected on the agenda page.
5 Daily Shedule Mornings usually begin with a lobby gathering before heading to the first visit. Latecomers will be waited for a few minutes if time allows; otherwise, proceed to the next location directly. Between visits, we'll wait if time permits, but we may continue without the latecomer. Between visits, it's okay to take photos. We'll wait if there's time; if not, we'll stick to our group's timeline. If you need photography assistance, try asking a student rather than staff to minimize interference with the group schedule.
6 American and Group Culture American culture values cultural sensitivity, empathy, and respect alongside freedom of speech In this group where we all belong to the same school. We ask students to represent our university positively and uphold the American value of respect. As examples, while being participative, please keep in mind others' schedules. Ask questions that people can answer without embarrassment.
7 Additional Remarks
We respect everyone's personal time, but please keep in mind that your safety is your responsibility, and ensure that your actions do not cause inconvenience or disruptions to the group. If you have any opinions, speak to us directly. We will do our best to accommodate your opinions as long as they are reasonable, constructive, and align with collective interests.
General safety precautions include advising you to always go out with at least one more student, be cautious of your destinations, and return to the hotel by a reasonable time. If you opt to go independently, inform another student of your whereabouts.
Our agenda involves third parties, making it challenging to evenly distribute visit time and group similar locations in one place. Given the uneven visit schedule, students are advised to bring snacks or food in case there's limited time to grab a meal.
All the information provided is written, and we encourage students to read through it carefully and ask any questions they may have for clarification. Without doing so, we would ask you to take responsibility for what you have missed and minimize inconvenience or disturbance to others.