9 Things You’ll Discover About Living in Hong Kong As a TEFL Teacher

By Eckhard Pecher (Self-photographed) [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5) or CC-BY-2.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

So you’ve got yourself a TEFL job in Hong Kong!

Firstly, well done! Secondly, we’re INSANELY jealous and thirdly we thought we’d share with you 9 things you’ll discover about living in Hong Kong!

1)      It’s Cantonese!

Brushed up on your Mandarin all ready for your new adventure in Hong Kong? Well you better get back to night school as the most commonly spoken language in Hong Kong and neighbouring Macau is Cantonese!

2)      The Cheung Chau Bun Festival…

Known as one of the weirdest festivals celebrated in the world, the Cheung Chau Bun festival takes place in (you guessed it) Cheung Chau each May and showcases traditional Chinese culture.

3)      It’s the new city that doesn’t sleep

Move over New York, Hong Kong is officially the city that doesn’t sleep. With most people doing their food shop in one of the famous night markets at 10pm rather than 10am and dim sum restaurants opening at 3am such as San Hing (新興食家) on Hau Wo Street – get used to a readjustment to your sleeping pattern… and lots of naps! Trust us, it’s normal behaviour.

4)      It’s busy, really busy

With a population density of 6,480/km2 it’s safe to say that Hong Kong sure is one fast-paced place to live – even the standard walking pace in Hong Kong will leave you in your first few weeks of living there trying to catch your breath!

5)      There are mountains too…

To many TEFL teachers’ surprise, Hong Kong isn’t just one sprawling metropolis! In fact, ¾ of Hong Kong is rural – consisting of dozens of national parks, coastlines and woodlands. So, if the hectic pace of Hong Kong Island gets too much for you, you can always head to the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories or the Outlying Islands. For peace and quiet, head to Lantau Island to explore the incredible mountainous scenery and the Tian Tan Buddha!

6)      Decent salaries

It’s no secret that teaching salaries in Hong Kong are much higher in comparison than mainland China. As a TEFL teacher you can expect to earn around $21000 Hong Kong dollars (US $2700) a month. That’s plenty of money to spend on a decent apartment, cheap food and to take part in Hong Kong’s buzzing nightlife! Sounds pretty tempting, right? Armed with your TEFL certificate, Hong Kong is your oyster!

7)      HK-Pop/Cantopop

Whatever the kids are calling this unique brand of pop these days, get used to it and embrace it!

8)      An excellent transportation system

A superb tram system might seem like quite a dull thing to ‘discover’ about living in a new country, but when 90% of daily travels takes place on public transport, a highly developed transport system is pretty darn important.

As well as the developed Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Hong Kong boasts an impressive Star Ferry system and the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system, the Mid-Levels escalator, fancy stuff!

9)      Lengthy rainy season

Top tip: carry an umbrella round with you at all times during rainy season and invest in some waterproof shoes! Hong Kong is prone to rapid downpours so to avoid showing up to your class looking like a drowned rat, make like easy for yourself, and bring an umbrella.

What have you discovered about living in Hong Kong as a TEFL teacher? Feel free to share below! 

About The Author: Helen Hargreave is one of the TEFL Experts at i-to-i TEFL

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