Advice/Information - Living in Hong Kong

23 replies
Found 5th Jun 2010
Greetings all. My girlfriend has been accepted onto a graduation scheme to teach English to kids at a primary school in Hong Kong. It is for 9 months and she is really nervous about it, to the point where she is considering rejecting the offer.

What I am looking for is any information you guys can give on what it is like to live, visit or work in HK. Some example questions below:

How many people speak English over there - either fluently or well enough to communicate, at least?
What are the prices like there? For clothes, food, other general living expenses? We would like to work out how much she will be able to save while she is working there, to try and recoup the cost of her flights, etc.
Living there - what is your average student accomodation like? Any ideas on pricing?
For those who have lived there before, what is it like adjusting to the culture?
Does anyone know the cheapest way to fly there (preferably from the North of England)?

Any and all information will be greatly appreciated, and rep left.
/Chris

23 Comments

Just wanted to say I can't answer anything that you have asked.... but wow what on opportunity for you both x:w00t:

Try hkexpats.com/ website for info, am very jealous HK is my fave city

kong kong is a marvellous place to visit, i would go back there tomorrow, literally one of my favourite cities in the world. you must persuade your gf to take this once in a lifetime chance, she'll love it if she embraces it. hk is an ex british colony so almost all signage is in english as well as chinese. it is a very safe place to be, fantastic infrastructure and so exciting. prices are cheap until you want stuff like pizza hut or whatever and then you'll pay the standard franchised prices. i'm sure there'll be sites like the expat one referred to above where she'll get loads of useful info or the chance to chat to people who can help or even meet up with over there. travel around hk is very cheap and very efficient.

as for flights from northeast, try courtney airsavers, branches in newcastle or sunderland, tel numbers are 0191 510 8088 for sunderland, check web for newcastle branch or just pop in, blandford st in sunderland, just off northumberland st for ncle. they got me and my gf excellent deals a couple of years ago, very, very competitive. flights were from newcastle to hk via dubai and were muck cheap.


hope this helps. so jealous!!!


forgot to mention, she should get an octopus card whilst there, costs a few quid (£5 or so) but you basically get most or all of that back when you return it depending on how long you have it for. i think if you have it for over three months you get a complete refund. you load it with credit as and when you need it. for our 8 day stay i chucked about £30 or 40 on it. for small transactions you just press your wallet (or phone or sleeve or handbag or whatever/wherever you have your card stored) against the reader and it takes the money out of your credit. so simple yet such a timesaver. virtually everywhere from fast food outlets to newsagents, small shops, metro, buses, trams all have readers. very widespread.

as for other prices, clothes etc are cheap enough. you can buy knock offs at the market for a couple of quid or get really cool stuff for not much more. really good value. the whole ethos, i imagine, for hk students is that they will do their utmost to learn and therefore i expect your gf will be faced with model students and my recollection is that people, if they are able, genuinely want to try to communicate in english to show off their abilities and, if they can't, well, what's lost, you can always point or mime or whatever (mind, i did a chicken impression in one all night authentic restaurant where they didn't speak a single word of english - whatever i got sure wasn't chicken but it was tasty enough!!)

so many things to see and do over there. get her to check out all the guides and basically have a good time in this vibrant, friendly, bustling city.

my tutor said she went over to hong kong to teach and she said it was very different they just sit there quietly and they dont change facial expressions or anything x

Original Poster

Thank you all very much (rep left). Unfortunatly its not a great oppertunity for me - It's just her going. I don't really want her to go to be honest but I know it isn't fair for me to keep her here, and I would go if it was me because it's such a great oppertunity!

CReilly;8767060

Thank you all very much (rep left). Unfortunatly its not a great … Thank you all very much (rep left). Unfortunatly its not a great oppertunity for me - It's just her going. I don't really want her to go to be honest but I know it isn't fair for me to keep her here, and I would go if it was me because it's such a great oppertunity!



good to visit for a little city-break for you though?

thanks for the rep, if you need to know anything else, drop me a pm.

Original Poster

Hardly made of money and its distance from the UK makes me think it would cost an arm and a leg in air-fares, but its something i'll certainly consider. Thank you very much - I'll direct her to this thread and if she does have any more questions I will

you can get flights for around a few hundred quid. less than you'd pay to go to one of the costa's for a week or so. deffo worth a visit. absolutely memorable, beautiful, mad, frantic, cool.

good luck i'm going abroad to teach in September can't wait

are school not paying flights out there???

eslcafe.com/

might be worth checking out for some answers to your questions you have people seem helpful and friendly on the site

good luck

its a great opportunity, as long as you go willing to learn and integrate i think it will be great

worked there for 18 months a few years back for one of the big hotels....


How many people speak English over there - either fluently or well enough to communicate, at least?

95% of people to a good standard
What are the prices like there? For clothes, food, other general living expenses?

Expensive
We would like to work out how much she will be able to save while she is working there, to try and recoup the cost of her flights, etc.

Very little I would imagine
Living there - what is your average student accomodation like? Any ideas on pricing?

Again,expensive
For those who have lived there before, what is it like adjusting to the culture?
Easy adjustment if you are open minded,very western style culture

Does anyone know the cheapest way to fly there (preferably from the North of England)?

Any of the middle eastern airlines with a stop over in abu dhabi,doha,dubai

Original Poster

shedboy66;8767252

good luck i'm going abroad to teach in September can't wait are school … good luck i'm going abroad to teach in September can't wait are school not paying flights out there???http://www.eslcafe.com/might be worth checking out for some answers to your questions you have people seem helpful and friendly on the sitegood luck its a great opportunity, as long as you go willing to learn and integrate i think it will be great



No, she has to pay for her own accom and flights, and a deposit for the course. Her salary is ok though and hopefully will cover accom and living costs with enough left over to save and pay for her flights (that's why we are looking at approx prices for living!). Thanks for link btw, again will pass it on.

Original Poster

boothy;8767270

What are the prices like there? For clothes, food, other general living … What are the prices like there? For clothes, food, other general living expenses?Expensive We would like to work out how much she will be able to save while she is working there, to try and recoup the cost of her flights, etc.Very little I would imagineLiving there - what is your average student accomodation like? Any ideas on pricing?Again,expensive



Thanks. Could anyone shine any more light on how much things cost? I am reading lots of different things. Just looking to find how much public transport costs, how much it would cost to feed yourself, etc.

Also, does anyone know what there is to eat as a vegetarian? Been reading some blogs and the veggies on there aren't finding it easy!

Thanks!!

HK is a great place to be very fast paced and exciting, i have family over their so been a few times and i would say the above replies are spot on, regarding general living expenses i would compare them with London.

I suspect it is just the unknown that is scaring her so much. Can she contact someone who can put her in contact with another English girl doing something similar over there. If this is a proper graduation scheme i would expect this is quite a common problem. If everything is above board with the job there should be some back up i would think especially for young women.

From someone in her 40's happily settled with children you only get a few chances in life like this and sometimes you have to be really brave and go for it. Good luck.

Just make sure the job offer and everything is all above board. :thumbsup:

Original Poster

mumbojumbo;8772310

Where is the school? Public or private? What ages are the children?Does … Where is the school? Public or private? What ages are the children?Does your GF speak Chinese?Teaching at an "International School" on Hong Kong island would be very different from a state school in the New Territories for instance.



She isn't given her school until she arrives and does her months induction. And no, she doesnt speak chinese. The children are primary school age, and I will ask about the public/private thing.

Goofeys Girl;8772325

I suspect it is just the unknown that is scaring her so much. Can she … I suspect it is just the unknown that is scaring her so much. Can she contact someone who can put her in contact with another English girl doing something similar over there. If this is a proper graduation scheme i would expect this is quite a common problem. If everything is above board with the job there should be some back up i would think especially for young women.From someone in her 40's happily settled with children you only get a few chances in life like this and sometimes you have to be really brave and go for it. Good luck.Just make sure the job offer and everything is all above board. :thumbsup:



It is certainly above board, it is done through the university and with a reputable graduate charity scheme (Chatteris International Graduate Programme). She gets a month induction before the course to meet people/potential flat-mates, I think.

Thanks all for replies, rep left.

Original Poster

ukmonkey;8772315

HK is a great place to be very fast paced and exciting, i have family … HK is a great place to be very fast paced and exciting, i have family over their so been a few times and i would say the above replies are spot on, regarding general living expenses i would compare them with London.



Cheers for that!

I've only visited but hong kong was absolutely amazing, she will have a great time. To answer some of the questions:
English speakers will get by with no trouble at all, theres still plenty of british influence anyway and hong kong is one of the most westernized countries in asia.
When I was there food was around the same price, ie a mcdonalds was slightly cheaper haha but I doubt thats a good measure. It depends really where you go, she will probably make most of her food anyway which will help her save money.
I think accomodation is going to be expensive, I travelled all over asia and it was one of the most expensive, but if shes a teacher she might be able to get a good deal somewhere, the school might help her find somewhere too.
If she goes there with an open mind she will have no trouble at all adjusting, its very hectic and fast paced, but at the same time exciting.If she's chosen to go there anyway I'm sure she'd be fine with that. Oh and if you are after cheap flights emirates seem to do the best deals, you might check flights to singapore, and then get a connecting flight with a budget carrier like jetstar or air asia. Hope that helps.

i'd jump at the chance! went there on holiday and loved it! really want to work there for a year or something after uni. Hopefully I will be able to go over to Asia (KL if i get into Nottingham) whilst at uni. Everyone speaks some English, most very well. General living costs are fine (food, clothes) but accommodation can be expensive. Have fun, hope you go!

dcx_badass;8773851

Why is everyone saying fly via somewhere else? I just got a standard BA … Why is everyone saying fly via somewhere else? I just got a standard BA flight direct to HK, easy, why bother not going direct.



Because it can be cheaper. Especially since the budget carriers in asia are really cheap.

Which primary school is it? I went to Sha Tin Junior School which is part of the ESF (English Schools Foundation) which means they only teach in English.

The majority of people speak fluent English and those that don't speak enough for you to buy something from them (though they may have to show you a calculator!)

Clothes are cheap if you know where to shop (markets and some shops are good value, dunno if Giordano are still about, that's like our H&M!)

Food and going out is quite expensive, everything else is pretty cheap.

My dad used to work for Cathay Pacific so flights were always free for me but they are quite pricey so maybe use one of the cheaper airlines.

No idea about student accommodation but there plenty of massive flats about which can't be too dear.

I was brought up in HK and had to adjust to English culture which was a big shock so I'd expect the same the other way around.

HTH helps somewhat

Original Poster

Thanks all. She has decided to go

CReilly;8788821

Thanks all. She has decided to go



awww ur gonna miss her but its good of u to have encouraged her to do something fantastic for herself

Accommodation can be expensive, but the food is very nice and fairly cheap.
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