10 January 2020 - The massive, vibrant and densely crowded city of Hong Kong is one of the most striking and intense in the world. From its fast moving street food scene to the iconic neon architecture, this is a city unlike any other.
Home to an array of promising career opportunities, Hong Kong has traditionally been particularly strong in finance, tourism and trade, but is also growing in tech, medicine and the cultural sector.
But of course, following your dream career and the handsome pay that often goes with it, means uprooting your existing life as well as that of your family. That’s no small feat, but luckily, Hong Kong can prove a welcoming and inspiring place for your kids to be. Check out a few of these tips before you jet out, and you’ll be well equipped to make the best of this city for you and your family.
Hong Kong is a safe city
Let’s keep every parent’s biggest concern in mind first. It’s the one that flashes before your eyes whether you’re booking a holiday abroad or, indeed, looking to set up a new life in a world class city like Hong Kong.
You’re not alone if you find the city intimidating at first, and likewise your kids can be expected to be nervous. Although English is widely spoken across the city, so is Cantonese, and with signs and literature often written in both, it can make young heads spin. Buildings are huge, markets are loud and traffic feels constant.
Yet despite all this, Hong Kong is actually one of the safest cities of its size in the world, and crime levels are falling year on year. You might think one of the cities that inspired the neon streets of Blade Runner might be a little rough around the edges, but luckily nothing could be further from the truth.
Sort the schools as soon as you can
Hong Kong has a rising expat population, but also an excellent education system. This is well represented in many of the international schools that welcome children of every background.
In classic crowded Hong Kong style, everyone is shoulder to shoulder trying to get their child enrolled in one of these schools, so make sure you apply as far in advance as you possibly can.
Health in Hong Kong is another priority
It’s easy to take our health for granted, but it only takes one nasty infection or unexpected injury to ruin our new life overseas… as well as rack up a nasty medical bill.
Long story short, healthcare in Hong Kong is among the best in the world, but also some of the most complex, and sometimes among the most expensive on Earth. Expats moving to Hong Kong can be understandably worried, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of their children.
Before departing for your new life in Hong Kong, consider taking out a global healthcare plan to ensure you and your family are covered financially should any of you fall ill.
Don’t be shy in hiring help
Back home, you may well have been raised in a society that believed that hired help was something reserved for the upper crust of society. Yet in Hong Kong, especially among families, the pace of life is such that hired help for childcare or household chores is almost expected.
Among expat families especially, it’s very likely to find that there’s hired help on hand to handle the domestic side of life if your career has run you ragged. So if you need to look for this kind of assistance, don’t see it as an admission of defeat, so much as the status quo!
You’ll find that hired help in Hong Kong is as readily available as a daily or weekly visit as it is actual live-in help. So by all means shop around, get in touch with your new community in finding the best people to hire, and look for someone who can work around your needs as well as those of your children.
Be wary of air pollution
Your kids’ lungs are likely still developing as you settle into a new life in Hong Kong, and part of that means taking into consideration the unfortunate truth of the city’s air pollution levels. Put simply, they’re pretty high indeed.
The Government of Hong Kong is aware of these issues and is driven to try and tackle them, and there have been a few positive results from this. However, you’ll still see people of all ages and cultural backgrounds wearing face masks to help them breathe cleaner on a reasonably common basis day to day. In fact, in many circles they’re becoming fashion accessories in their own right.
Keep this in mind when it comes to setting up your new home too, though. Air pollution and damp can creep into even the most premium of Hong Kong homes, and you’re well advised in seeking out air filters and similar plug-in machines for your place.
Hong Kong is a welcoming city, albeit one that seems to never pause for breath. You and your loved ones are pretty much guaranteed an exciting and fulfilling lifestyle when moving here, and hopefully with some of this advice under your belt, you’re similarly set to stay safe, healthy and happy too.