Moving to Hong Kong can be one of the most exciting decisions in your lifetime. Whatever your reasons behind moving, be it career prospects or self-actualization our relocation checklist aims to impart guidance by outlining five key considerations to ease your transition into a new-fangled expatriate of ‘Asia’s World City’.
1. Make Prior Preparations
Straying into ‘administrative’ territory, your preparations prior to moving are essential. Be it applying for a visa or entry permit, outlining your prospective employment details or gathering quotes from different international moving companies, the days and months leading up to your definitive moving date will be fraught with time constraints, expenses and a fair bout of emotional turbulence.
You will need a reasonable amount of time and research to acclimate yourself to the reality of relocation, so plan with foresight. Start a packing timeline, pack strategically and ensure that priority items comply with Hong Kong customs and are either delivered in advance or as personal baggage. If your family is embarking on this grand adventure with you, the logistics of the move will be further complicated so ensure that you solicit help from family and friends but more importantly your prospective employer. Company sponsored relocation assistance and advance moving arrangements can not only reduce stress and prevent unaccounted for moving expenses but also make for solid groundwork to build your new life upon.
2. Find Your Home
If you are moving with family in tow, living arrangements should ideally be finalized before your moving date. When moving alone or with a partner, a fair degree of flexibility can be expected, in fact you have the luxury of not deciding upon any long term commitments until you arrive in Hong Kong.
Find short term rentals, or if temporary housing is provided by your employer, explore Hong Kong Island with open eyes and perspicuity. Seek out the districts which resonate with you personally or better yet, ask for referrals from friends and property agents. With rent and living space being important criteria, realistically assess your income, taking into account the corresponding cost of living to estimate your rental budget. Ultimately you will be spoilt for choice in Hong Kong, though high-rise apartments could be an adjustment for those accustomed to pastoral charms.
3. Build a Social Support Network
This advice ties in with your prior preparations. Before moving to Hong Kong, leverage your existing networks at home or abroad to put you in touch with contacts in Hong Kong to give yourself a head start. The expat community in Hong Kong is incredibly welcoming and easy to break into, nonetheless having acquaintances at hand can vault you right into the social scene and stave off the initial isolation period.
4. Plan Around the Children
Hong Kong’s education system is far from uniform. Apart from the obvious language divide between Chinese and English instruction in schools, Hong Kong also boasts a gamut of international schools which subscribe to different academic certification bodies or education programmes. With expensive school fees, if you are a parent with international school aspirations for your children, you will also have to contend with tough competition for student placements. You will have to be mindful of the fact that school catchment areas – be it local or international schools, will inform your choice of accommodation.
5. Enjoy Yourself
You are moving to Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient with a surefire international presence and a confluence of multiple cultures. It will be a dizzying, at times confusing, yet an ultimately rewarding experience. As a city noted for its convenience, you will have time to spare, so enjoy it. Visit Hong Kong’s coastlines in summer for watersports, venture to the countless country parks for a hike up a mountain ridge and indulge in an array of cultural festivities. Your move will be a source of personal growth, so have fun, and as the saying goes, “live life to the fullest!”