Speaking English is a major priority for the people of Hong Kong. The business world is always moving quickly, and global communication is vitally important. In order to compete effectively, Hong Kong emphasizes English education for everyone from childhood on up.
Combine those factors with the fact that there's currently a shortage of native English speaking teachers in the country, and it seems Hong Kong might be the ideal location if you're considering teaching abroad.
If you've chosen to teach English in Hong Kong, there are a few basic requirements that you absolutely must have. In some countries, you can get away with some form of college degree and not much else. Hong Kong, however, has high expectations for their foreign teachers.
First of all, in order to teach English in Hong Kong you must apply for an employment visa. The only exceptions to this rule are Australian and New Zealand citizens, who can technically teach in Hong Kong under the "Working Holiday Scheme." All others must have a visa in hand. Getting a visa to teach in Hong Kong may be a bit of a struggle, because there is a great deal of paperwork involved, so you'll want to start early. The internet can be extremely helpful if you're at this point. Check out Hong Kong's government websites for more information.
Before you begin applying for jobs, it's best to have TEFL certification under your belt. While not strictly a requirement, TEFL will open the doors to the best schools and give you a much wider range of job options- as well as a higher pay rate at the job you eventually take. TEFL certification is easy. Many colleges and learning centers offer a month-long certification program that teaches you how to handle yourself in a classroom setting. Aside from the job advantages, TEFL gives you confidence that can be invaluable, especially if you've never taught before.
Finding a Job
Hong Kong is one of several countries that have excellent online resources when it comes to finding jobs teaching English. Many positions are available through various online job boards which list the teaching positions by country, as well as through the Hong Kong government's website. With a little searching, you should be able to find numerous jobs for which to apply. Ask your school or TEFL certification program for job hunting assistance.
Finding a Home
One of the main drawbacks when you choose to teach English in Hong Kong is the fact that it may be difficult to find affordable housing. In many countries, the school that hires you will supply you with free teacher's housing; however, in Hong Kong this is not necessarily the case. Luckily, most teaching jobs in Hong Kong do include a "housing allowance" along with your regular paycheck, which is designed to help cover rent.
Again, there are many online resources available to help. Check out Hong Kong housing websites for an idea of price ranges and areas available to you. If you've been hired, your school should be able to point you in the right direction as well.
If you've decided to teach English in Hong Kong, you should prepare yourself for a challenging and completely new experience. The ability to spend large amounts of time away from your home country, as well as a sense of adventure and adaptability to new surroundings, will help make the experience a pleasurable and enlightening one.
By Michelle Simmons