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Teaching in Hong Kong

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by pantobabe, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. pantobabe

    pantobabe New commenter

    Hi all, wondering whether anyone could offer me some advice. I'm currently teaching in the UAE and now my contract is expiring, am looking for another place to move and Hong Kong has caught my eye. Just wondering if anyone could give me some information as to how suitable this place is in terms of saving potential (I'm aware accommodation is expensive) and whether there is enough of an expat lifestyle for a single 20 something female to make friends? UAE has been very easy to fit into a social circle (so much so it can be liked to uni all over again) so i'm a bit apprehensive about moving to Hong Kong all by myself. Any areas in HKG that are geared more towards expats?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Staffo

    Staffo New commenter

    Mr Hersteller has painted a rather negative image of Hong Kong, so I'd like to balance that out. Coming to Hong Kong as a single male I saved a small fortune.

    The two biggest expenses are accommodation, as you said, and school fees, which I'm guessing won't apply to you. It means that families tend not to save much but people without kids can do pretty well as the Hong Kong dollar is relatively strong.

    Obviously it all depends on the contract that you get and if you don't have much experience then you might not earn a lot.

    You can save on accommodation by not living centrally, or by being happy to live in a shoe box right in the middle of everything. It sounds like you want to enjoy the nightlife so the latter might be a better option for you. And there is a very good nightlife for young westerners, if that's what you want. You will meet Chinese but they'll be very westernised, probably having grown up in UK, US, Canada or Australia.

    Many ex-pats live a life that doesn't touch on the local culture at all, other than buying cheap noodles from time to time, which is a great shame. There's a whole lot more to Hong Kong, and the more you uncover, the more intriguing a place it is. But from the sounds of your post you are more interetsd in the partying, of which there is plenty, and it's easy enough to enjoy the "minless corporates" as there are lots of international schools and so lots of ex-pat teachers. My school has quite a few teachers in the same position as you and they all seem to be having a prtty good time here.
  3. clovispoint

    clovispoint Occasional commenter

    I'm with Staffo, HK is not a grim place to be at all. I work with plenty of people who make no effort and spend all their money. They are having a great time here. Rents are high, socialising and nightlife can be very expensive. HK is a very easy place to spend a lot of money.

    You can save here with some effort. You can compromise on flat location or size and pay less, cheap nights out range from heading to Club 7-11 for some beers on the street and dai pai dong (street food) meals or trying restaurants that are away from the Lang Kwai Fong / SoHo money pits. There's a very good social scene around club sports but there is no shortage of other things to do. Plenty of other young expats about especially other teachers in most schools. I save money but only by trying. Salaries are high here because it is expensive but it is possible to have a good time and save.
  4. pantobabe

    pantobabe New commenter

    Thank you so much for all your help, but I think maybe I didn't explain what I meant by 'expat lifestyle'. I definitely didn't mean living a party lifestyle and ignoring the fascinating culture around me, far from it, but meant more about making a close knit group of friends around the same age to do things with on the weekends. The school to which I've applied doesn't offer a living allowance, but the salary is almost double what I am earning in the UAE despite being at one of the higher paying schools, so maybe living is something I need to factor in. Thanks again for your help! :)
  5. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    HK packages are not what they used to be - it is now generally considered a first world destination by teachers and by their prospective employers so the benefits are on the way out. The salaries are high though because, as has been pointed out, the cost of living is high. It isn't that high though, (accommodation and some alcohol aside) and is actually a city that offers fantastic value for money. Is it a good city for a 20 something female? - if you want my two cents then it's when you stop asking that question that you get the best out of places. It's a mother city, like London or New York, with something for everyone (as long as they like cities). It's a much easier, safer and more friendly (despite it's straightforwardness) city than the other two. And it has a more agreeable climate most of the time.
  6. a pedant

    a pedant New commenter

  7. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Good for a visit, not sure I would like to live there. For me!!! I prefer places that are a bit less ex pat heavy (especially the mindless corporate types - too many bankers!) and a bit more edgy!

    Guangzhou not Hong Kong
    JB not Singapore
    Hanoi not Saigon

    But hey, horses for courses.
  8. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    I do understand what you are saying Mike but other than Hanoi the other two places are really pale comparisons of their counterparts. Even Malays, those most dull of folks flee south at the weekend and friends of mine at a college not far over the border fill the pages of their social media sites with pictures of anywhere but JB!
  9. mikemcdonald25

    mikemcdonald25 Occasional commenter

    Back in the day Perce JB was a breath of fresh air from the Lee Kwan Yew inspired antiseptic version of Singapore across the straits. On a Saturday night the old car park across from City Square in front of the Hindu temple would turn into a night market full of hawker stalls and a few streets away their would be a hell of a show put on by snake charmers and other snake oil salesmen.

    In those days the Singaporeans would flock over the causeway for cheap knock off goods and even cheaper petrol! Then of course Mr Yew called all Malays 'bandit and thieves' and put a stop to the whole thing - can't have people enjoying themselves now can we?

    Mind you going across the Straits to Boat Quay and Clarke Quay for a night out, as well as a visit to Sim Lim was always a nice change.

    But my main point was the lack of corporate types, not that my three choices were somehow better than their flashier counterparts in .
  10. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    I am currently in HK. I'm not single, not in my twenties (sigh) and have a young child. I do work with single females in their twenties, though, and they seem to be having a great time here. It's possible to get a good balance of 'expat' activities and more 'local' exploration. I love it. AND I seem to be saving a hefty sum.
  11. jamesandrewpollock

    jamesandrewpollock New commenter

    This thread is relevant to my interests.

    I visited HK late last year, and found that (as with any capital city), you can live as frugally or as richly as you choose.

    The accommodation is obviously expensive in HK, but most packages include a generous contribution.

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