Moving to a new country is a big step – wherever it may be. It takes time (and effort!) to adapt to a new way of life and build up a social network. Here, Alia Eyres, CEO of Mother’s Choice shares her experiences and tips on things you can do to make the most of living in Hong Kong.
#1 Make a Difference
You don’t have to speak the local language or have a huge bank account or interconnected network to build a life that has meaning and impact in Hong Kong. The non-profit that I run, Mother’s Choice, was set up by two expatriate couples who didn’t have any of those things 32 years ago. Today, we still have hundreds of volunteers from every walk of life who help us on a weekly basis. No matter how long you plan to stay, there are many amazing causes and non-profits here that would welcome passionate and dedicated volunteers to give of their time, talent and resources.
#2 Invest in Relationships
Deep friendships take time to forge. But if you’re willing to open yourself up, you can build relationships that last a lifetime with people from all over the world. Living in Hong Kong helps you to see that the world is actually very small. The deep friendships we’ve built since moving back to HK have really carried us through the ups and downs of life.
#3 Step Out
With people from every country in the world living here, it’s easy to stay in your own comfort zone, mixing just with people from your home country. We made a huge effort to get to know people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries. And it immeasurably enriched our lives and perspective. One way we’ve stepped outside our comfort zone as a family is by fostering a vulnerable child in our home through Project Bridge. It’s changed all our lives for the better.
#4 Don’t Worry
People worry about finding a good school for their children in Hong Kong. My six siblings and I grew up here and attended two different school systems. Parents moving to HK should feel reassured there are many excellent options for schools. Just raising your child in a third culture with the opportunity to travel is the best education anyone can receive.
#5 Get Outside
Pack your hiking boots and swimming costume! Very few new expatriates realise half our city is designated country park. And this is an amazing place to enjoy the beauty of nature. One of the best and most unexpected parts of living in Hong Kong is access to the great outdoors. And we love the beaches, the hiking trails and the opportunity to get involved with sports of every kind.
See more in our Living in Hong Kong section
Hiking in Hong Kong: Reader Favourites
Volunteering in Hong Kong: 10 ways to help
Guide to where to live in Hong Kong
This article first appeared in the February/March 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.