14Dec

Expat Guide: Schools in Hong Kong

The former British colony’s education system is highly regarded with top standards. Even public schools uphold quality curriculums but are mainly taught in Cantonese with a focus on repetitive examinations—a system that might be different from what expats look for in a school. As a result, expats favor international schools.

ENTERING HONG KONG SCHOOLS

The first thing expats must know is that getting into good schools in Hong Kong could be challenging. The demand is high and so are the standards. If you’re planning to move with your family, we recommend you start your application a year early to take into account the waiting period. Affluent locals also compete for slots that make the process even more challenging. Some international companies sometimes reserve spots for their employees’ children so check to see if your employer can provide you with assistance.

Education is taken very seriously in Hong Kong culture. Teachers are treated with a great deal of respect, and students tend to be disciplined and well behaved.

The school year in Hong Kong typically runs from September to July.
top schools in hongkong
Expats who choose to reside in Kowloon or the New Territories choose an international school based because of their close proximity to more international schools.

Expats also have to note that if your package does not include subsidy for your kid’s education, you might find tuition for international schools quite costly so best to look at all possible options.

Below is a list of international schools you can start with:

Hong Kong International School
www.hkis.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American
Ages: 4 to 18

Harrow International School Hong Kong
www.harrowschool.hk/
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: British
Ages: 4 to 18

American International School of Hong Kong
www.ais.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American
div dir=”ltr”>Ages: 3 to 18

Australian International School Hong Kong
www.aishk.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Australian and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Beacon Hill School
www.beaconhill.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 10

Bradbury Junior School
www.bradbury.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 10

Canadian International Schools of Hong Kong
www.cdnis.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Canadian (Ontario) and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Carmel School of Hong Kong
www.carmel.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Jewish and general studies
Ages: 3 to 12

International Montessori School
www.montessori.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Montessori
Ages: 1,5 to 12

Kellet School (British International School in Hong Kong)
www.kellettschool.com

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: British
Ages: 3 to 14

King George V School
www.kgv.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: British (IGCSE) and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 12 to 18

Quarry Bay School
www.qbs.edu.hk
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 5 to 13

Yew Chung International School
www.ycis-hk.com
Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: IGCSE (Cambridge) and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 6 months to 19

For any assistance on family or personal insurance, we help find the best cover for expats in Hong Kong. Get in touch with us today.

13Apr

Expat Guide: Common Concerns in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the safest cities for expats. There is also a large expat community providing an easier transition for people who move to the country as singles or with their families.

The biggest adjustment is often the language barrier but on top of that, there are other common concerns felt by expat. InterNations conducted a survey on November 2017 and these were identified as the most common concerns:

SOCIAL CIRCLES

Missing one’s friends is normal. But there is an expansive network of expats whom one can treat as their close support group. There are also numerous interest groups and organizations to join. In addition, social networks and instant messaging has made it easy to stay in touch with people back home. Setting schedules to chat or video call helps make the distance seem smaller.

Business culture with coworkers also falls under this category as Hong Kongers are known to be very serious workers. The most important thing to remember is to remain open and flexible with the local culture because it’s you who needs to adjust. You’ll find that the experience is more pleasant than what you may have initially assumed. One way to initiate social interactions with coworkers is adding them as a professional connection through LinkedIn. This establishes a professional yet approachable means of reaching out to people you work with.

GIVING BIRTH IN HONG KONG

Hong Kong has one of the top medical facilities in the Asia. Having a child is not so much the issue but rather making the choice of giving birth in a public hospital or subscribing to private health care.

Having health insurance that can cover $100,000 or more for prenatal and postnatal care implies checking into a private hospital so you can choose your own obstetrician, have a private room, and get regular check-ups with the same doctor. This is not to say that public healthcare is bad in Hong Kong. In fact, public medical facilities are quite advanced, however, one gains greater control over what happens to you with insurance and private care.

Village Insurance Direct is one of the few companies that help expats find comprehensive health insurance in Hong Kong.

GETTING A NANNY OR DOMESTIC HELPER

Expat parents don’t have to necessarily get a domestic helper or nanny but it is one of the normal practices for dual earning households. Having a nanny to take care of the kids instead of leaving them in a day care is preferred by more expats.

We’ve written a blog which provides useful information on the process and expectations when getting a domestic helper. You can read it here: Expat Guide: Hiring a Domestic Helper in Hong Kong

Note that employers are required to get insurance for domestic helpers. We also provide help in finding cheap insurance for expats.

IS IT WORTH LEARNING MANDARIN/CHINESE?

Taking on the challenge of learning a new language to better communicate with coworkers and new friends is worth the time and effort. Not only will it make life easier but you’ll find that you’ll be more open to exploring other activities outside of your comfort zone.

There are tutors that are available on an hourly basis. One can easily get an online tutor and conduct the lessons online to save the time of going to class. But learning is different for everyone so we recommend trying both to see which works for you.

30Aug

Expat Guide: Greeting Etiquette in Hong Kong

etiquette for expats hong kong

Hong Kong is home to many expats from the US and Europe. Social events within the community is a way for everyone to feel a little less homesick and is also a way to grow one’s network while staying in a foreign country.

It is a given that greeting gestures for westerners is different. So when the moment demands for it, How will you greet your next potential set of friends?  You’re no doubt keen to make a good first impression, and you’re wondering how to go about saying hello. Will the impeccably groomed lady to your left plant a kiss on your cheek as she introduces herself, as she seems to have done to everyone else in the room? And will it just be one, or might she unexpectedly go for the double just as you pull back?

In this case, it’s best to adopt the Hong Kong default of a kiss on both cheeks when meeting and greeting. After a few months of living here, you will come to observe the different greetings practised by various nationalities. Context is crucial, however, according to whether people are amongst their own community or socialising in a mixed group of expats from any number of cultural backgrounds.

The French will say hello and give a kiss on each cheek while Australians are accustomed to just one. Touching is unlikely for Indians so a casual “hi” will suffice. On the other hand, Americans and Swedes who would usually hug their friends might rein in their natural tendencies to embrace those from different cultures. The Dutch, who at home kiss three times when saying hello to friends, would likewise scale back the effusion, whereas the British might just overcome their natural reserve and start kissing with gusto. This is where a homogenised greeting really helps to level the playing field.

Read through our blogs to find out more about life in Hong Kong as well as information on insurance for expats.