Hi! My name is Georgia. I am originally from the UK but have also lived in Houston, Texas. I currently live in Hong Kong.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I graduated from university last summer and, like all graduates, faced the terrifying prospect of unemployment in one of the most expensive cities in the world (London). Having not taken a gap year and not in any rush to slave away applying for graduate programs, I decided to get my TEFL qualification and move to Hong Kong to try something a little different.
2. How do you make a living?
I am a kindergarten teacher. Teaching had never been something I was that interested in but I absolutely love it out here. In Hong Kong, it is a necessity to speak English so children as young as 2 are taking part in English language lessons. My blog essentially records the hilarious antics of the snot buckets that I teach everyday.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I stay in contact with my family and friends back home regularly. As an active member of the social media age, I am fairly reliant on my smart phone to keep me up to date with everyone back home. I call my mum and dad a few times a week and facetime my friends when they’re all together, usually drunk.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Hong Kong?
Coming from the land of rain, the Hong Kong weather is absolutely phenomenal. What I love about Hong Kong is how accessible everything is, you can get across the city in 30 minutes or less. The expat community is huge here so it wasn’t an unbearable transitioning period, but I work in Kowloon which is a lot more urban. Most of the 7/11 employees near my school recognize me as the stressed white girl who buys 3 iced coffees every morning.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Hong Kong?
The lack of understanding of escalator etiquette is a real stress. The banking system here has been extremely disappointing, which is surprising as Hong Kong has such a large finance sector. The only way to get anyone to take you seriously/achieve anything is to get angry otherwise they end up taking advantage of you. I was almost talked into getting a credit card, which would have resulted in me selling a kidney to pay it off.
6. What do you miss most?
I miss cheese. I just can’t justify spending $70 on a small bag of grated cheddar.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I was fortunate enough to come out here with my best friend from university, Libby. It has been much easier socializing as a two, we joined a netball team and have met so many great people. We go out a lot on the island which is a great way to meet people as alcohol is most expats shared interest.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
For a culture so obsessed with cleanliness and hygiene, the normality of burping in public definitely seemed strange when I arrived here. I’ve slowly got used to it now but struggled to keep my composure when during a massage, my masseuse belched.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
It’s not just a concrete jungle. You can go from the hub of the city to the most gorgeous hikes in 20 minutes on the MTR. Mountains, jungles, beaches, Hong Kong has it all.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Hong Kong is extremely expensive but our salaries are much higher than they would have been back in the UK as a graduate. Because teachers are such a hot commodity, we can afford to do the things we want to do. Rent and alcohol are the most expensive aspects, you can eat cheaply and we eat a lot.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Be open to spending more money on rent than you expect, HK is the most expensive place in the world as a renter. Also don’t judge a building by its front door. Some of the best restaurants I have ever been to have been on top of a launderette.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started ‘What Could Go Wrong in Hong Kong’ when I first moved here in October 2017. I’ve always loved writing and wanted to record this adventure as something I could reflect upon later. My family and friends love reading it to keep updated but I think it appeals to everyone. Find me someone who wouldn’t laugh at the thought of a 3 year old fitting an entire maraca in their mouth.
Georgia's blog, What Could Go Wrong in Hong Kong
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