This article investigated the learning experiences of mainland Chinese students in master’s degree programmes in Hong Kong. Using a qualitative research approach, 20 mainland Chinese students in master’s degree programmes in a first-tier Hong Kong university were interviewed. It observed, first, that mainland Chinese students appreciate the teaching and learning approaches adopted in Hong Kong, but that they take some time to adapt. Thanks to heavy financial support from parents and parental expectations, they are pressed to adapt as soon as possible and get high marks in the one-year programmes in Hong Kong. Second, the mainland Chinese students’ previous experiences of participating in campus activities in mainland China and their instrumental views of learning restrict their involvement in informal learning through campus activities. Third, their limited interaction with local and foreign students constrains the development of their intercultural competence.