Teaching English in Hong Kong, Expat Interview with Beth

Published: 23 Oct at 7 PM
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Filed: Interviews,Hong Kong
Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad Travel Blog (see listing here)

Meet Beth - American expat in Hong Kong
Meet Beth - American expat in Hong Kong

Here's the interview with Beth...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Chicago, USA.

In which country and city are you living now?
Currently I am in Hong Kong.

How long have you lived in Hong Kong and how long are you planning to stay?
So far I’ve been here 16 months. Right now I am thinking that I will stay out the remainder of my 2nd year here, although I’m open to the idea of staying longer.

Why did you move to Hong Kong and what do you do?
I moved here to get to know my fiancés family, since he was born in Hong Kong and they all live here.
Right now I am teaching English at a learning center while taking on freelance editorial work.

Hong Kong A City That Never Sleeps
Hong Kong - A City That Never Sleeps
Did you bring family with you?
I moved here with my fiancé.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The transition was relatively easy. Hong Kong is an easy place to adjust to and most people here know at least a little English.
I had previously lived in Japan before moving to Hong Kong, and Japan was a much more difficult adjustment.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was easy to make friends, although it has been mainly with coworkers or other expats.
I am lucky because I have my fiancés family here, but I think if it weren’t for them, my interactions with locals would be limited.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Despite the small size of Hong Kong, there is so much to do here. I love being able to go hiking in the mountains, swimming at the beach, or shopping in the local city markets. You’ll never get bored here.

Learning to play Mahjong like a local
Learning to play Mahjong like a local
What do you enjoy most about living here?
I enjoy the culture. I love trying to learn and experience Hong Kong traditions and festivals, as well as trying to learn to speak a little Cantonese.

How does the cost of living in Hong Kong compare to the US?
Compared to the US, the cost of living is a lot cheaper, apart from rent. Rent here is outlandish for the size of the apartments.
Utilities, food and entertainment however, are a lot cheaper!

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Hong Kong?
I think the only negative is the pollution. Compared to where I lived in the US, the pollution here is a lot worse and I’ve already been seeing the affects on my health.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Be prepared for the startup costs. We had no idea that to move in to an apartment, you typically need to pay 3 and ½ months rent upfront! That’s a large chunk of money if you’re unprepared for it.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest aspect would probably be how much I miss certain foods from back home that you can’t get in Hong Kong! Sometimes I just get cravings for certain things, like soups when I’m sick, etc. that I just can’t get here.
On the other hand, I have found plenty of great dishes here that I know I’ll be missing once I return home!

Teaching English in Hong Kong
Teaching English in Hong Kong
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
With Hong Kong being so similar to back home, I don’t expect it to be too difficult. There will definitely be aspects I miss though such as cheap healthcare or walking etiquette.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Make sure you secure a job and your visa before arrival.
  2. It’s a good idea to stock up on items that might be hard to find in Hong Kong, such as good deodorant, larger sized shoes, and particular medications.
  3. Be careful not to pack too much though, Hong Kong apartments are much smaller than what you’re probably used to!
  4. When looking for apartments, try to stay someplace along the MTR route.
  5. Take advantage of Hong Kong’s prime location. There are so many other wonderful places to travel to, all within a few hours by plane.

The local expat scene at LKF
The local expat scene at LKF
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog Besudesu Abroad (see link below) is about my personal expat experiences and travels around the world. It aims to inspire others to travel while maintaining a “9-5” career, through photos, stories and advice.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
All of my contact information is available on my blog. Please feel free to ask me any questions through e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. I love connecting with other travelers and expats!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingBeth is an American expat living in Hong Kong. Blog description: Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back and is now in Hong Kong.
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