Having spent about 3 of the last 4 years based in Hong Kong, it’s a good time for me to write about how I coped out there, away from all the comforts in the previous three countries I had lived in – Australia, England and Northern Ireland.
Hong Kong is well connected so I was able to get online almost constantly. There are the obvious ways to keep touch with friends and family online like Facebook, Twitter and Email. However there are a few other cool sites to use. The website Lebara is a great resource and helpful website for helping immigrants settle in a foreign land. It’s a good way of connecting back to your roots when working in another country. There are a lot of migrant and immigrant communities around the world as people move for work so I’m always checking on Lebara, not just in Hong Kong but when I’m in other parts of the world. I also use the BBC website and the Our Wee Country website to keep up to date with news and football.
2. Irish Pubs
I found it difficult to find live football and a decent pint in most bars in Kowloon, so step in Delaney’s Irish Pub in Tsim Sha Tsui which does great food, shows live sport all the time and serves up a decent pint of Guinness.
3. Local Girlfriend
Certainly I landed on a gem when I met the delightful Panny Yu while backpacking in Antarctica in 2010. With Panny being a Hong Kong local, it was easier to settle in and get my mind off where I could be, to concentrate on where I am.
4. Ex-Pat Communities
As well as my girlfriend and her friends, I wanted to have some new friends here in Hong Kong, friends that come from abroad. I was lucky that my mate Chris Anderson lived in the Kong as he introduced me to some new friends and I also met my mate Neil Armstrong from Larne in Northern Ireland. Neil and I went for beers quite a bit and I even lived with him for a month or two. I also joined Internations and worked for them for a while which introduced me to even more people.
5. Teach English
I was able to teach English out in the Kong which is a great job to have. The wages are good, the holidays are good and the hours are day time, so you have every night off, and most weekends free (though admittedly I did a lot of Saturday overtime). This helps take your mind off the fact you are living in a Chinese speaking country and allows you to live a normal life out there.
So best of luck if you decide to head to a foreign country to work – it’s a great experience but important to keep touch with your roots.