Hong Kong’s position as a centre of trade and commerce and its role in the development of China’s new internationalism makes it an ideal place to teach English and experience Chinese culture. The city’s decades of interaction with Western culture makes it a little more familiar to English speaking visitors, while it’s neon cityscapes, bustling back-streets, incense-infused temples and exotic cuisine make it just foreign enough to make you feel like you’re having a proper Asian adventure. Why teach English in Hong Kong? Let’s find out!
1. There’s more to Chinese food than Chicken Chow Mein
No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without an evening at the Temple Street night market: home to a whole host of stalls selling anything from pirate DVD’s and ‘designer’ handbags through to Chinese memorabilia and clothes, but most foreign visitors head there for the street food stalls. Hong Kong has been a meeting point and melting pot for Asian cuisines for centuries, so the food available is rich and varied and will put your favourite takeaway back home to shame. Eating at the night market (with dishes from only $2) is also a great way to make your wages go a little bit further.
2. The wages are better than mainland China
As a rule, the wages for people teaching English in Hong Kong are a little higher than they would be on the Chinese mainland. For example, in Hong Kong a monthly pay packet of 20,000 Hong Kong Dollars (£1,650) is about standard, while on the mainland you’ll need a good few years experience to earn more than 10,000 Yuan (£1,000) a month; just take a look at our jobs board for the latest TEFL jobs in Hong Kong!
3. Tai Chi at dawn sets you up for the day
If you’re an early riser and you’d like to experience a more spiritual aspect of Hong Kong head down to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront to take a free tai-chi lesson from the ever-young Master Ng. The area has spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and these moments of calm reflection will give you a unique insight into a Hong Kong that you won’t find by trawling round shopping malls or teaching English in Kowloon classrooms.
4. Hong Kong isn’t just a city
Most people think that Hong Kong is one huge city, but there’s more to this old British enclave than rush-hour traffic, neon signs and high-rise apartment blocks: away from the bustling streets of Causeway Bay, Kowloon and Sham Shui Po, there are mountainous country parks, traditional fishing villages and the stunning outlying Islands of Lantau, Lama, Cheng Chau and Peng Chau. By teaching English in Hong Kong you’ll have plenty of time to escape the neon-skylines and soak up the natural beauty and traditional culture of the region.
5. You may need to sign up for another contract
Most contracts for TEFL jobs in Hong Kong are for 12 months, but there is so much to do in the city and the surrounding islands that you may need to land yourself a contract extension. Whether that’s soaking up the views from the Peak Tower, joining the crowds at the theme parks of Ocean Park or Hong Kong Disneyland, exploring the traditional fishing village of Tai O, lounging on the beaches of Cheung Chau, hiking the trails on Lamma Island, watching the wildlife at the Mai Po Nature Reserve or doing some designer shopping at the IFC Mall, it’s safe to say you won’t be able to cram it all in to 12 months.