Packing up and moving to China, the most populous country in the world is a big step and before you take the final plunge, there are some things you should know first. China is an amazing country with a great diversity of terrain, cultures and cuisine, and Hong Kong, with its booming economy and modern, cosmopolitan society, is a very popular choice for many expats. If you’re planning to move your entire family and settle there, these are the basics you need to know.
Choosing a place
One of the first choices you’ll have to make upon your arrival is finding suitable and affordable accommodation either on or off the island. It’s is much more expensive to live on the island but that also means no commuting and lots of great amenities the city has to offer. On the other hand, off-island locations will give you more space, proximity to great shopping malls and good schools. It’s important to bear in mind that Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live and the prices are continuing to rise, especially for expats, so you’ll need to do your part of the research to find the balance of affordability and quality of life.
Even if you don’t already have a job waiting for you in Hong Kong, you’ll discover that there are a lot of options to find employment. Everyone has and shares their business cards as a part of common social interaction, so you’ll make contacts quite fast. One profession that’s always wanted is teaching English and as a native speaker, you have great chances of finding work. Jobs teaching kindergarten age and young learners are on high demand so you may find a great opportunity in a place like Monkey Tree English language Centre in Hong Kong where you can teach throughout the whole year, including various fun summer courses.
Choosing a school for your kids
Hong Kong schools generally have a high standard so there shouldn’t be any problem to find a place for your children, but they might need some extra help and tutoring sessions to catch up with their age group. Even if they go to a local school, kids pick up the language amazingly quickly, but there’s always the option of enrolling them in an international school where there’s no barrier and the other kids have similar background and experiences.
With rents being quite high in Hong Kong, it’s very surprising to learn how cheap public transport is, which makes it very easy to get almost anywhere you want. The system runs 24 hours a day so you’ll always be able to catch a train to the city or back home. Buying an Octopus card is a good investment because then you simply tap and ride, plus you can add money to it and use it in some cafes and bars. Taxi rides are also cheap and the price already includes the tip.
Eating out and having fun
Chinese cuisine is known worldwide and most people eat out. Prices can be quite low and you can find almost any type of food you crave. With noodle bars everywhere and teahouses that serve dim sum at almost every corner, you’ll be able to enjoy the local cuisine. One of the must-try local delicacies is a roast goose served in both small family restaurants and the Michelin-starred ones on Stanley Street. For kids who enjoy in sweets, a real treat will be the egg tarts and tofu puddings, and if you enjoy cooking yourself, street markets sell fresh veggies every day.
Sport is a big thing in Hong Kong and you’ll see people everywhere jogging, doing tai chi, working out in gyms or going swimming. Even though the climate is quite humid, you’ll find refreshment in Kowloon Park and the galleries and museums you plan to visit. Moreover, there’s Hong Kong Disney Island and Ocean Park for your kids to have unforgettable fun! China is a vast and amazing country, but it may not be for everyone. However, if you have a sense of adventure and you’re open to change and new experiences, then living and working in Hong Kong can be the right choice and very rewarding experience. Hong Kong is an exciting, vibrant city where you can find friendly local people, a good job, great food and lots of fun!