1 August 2016

Andrew Robertson - Expat in Hong Kong

Andrew Robertson - Expat in Hong Kong

Mr. Andrew Robertson has been living in Hong Kong most of his life since his family moved from Scotland more than 30 years ago. As of recent, he is an insurance broker living with his girlfriend in downtown Hong Kong.

According to Mr. Robertson, the biggest challenge in living in Hong Kong is finding a job in a local company; he also believes that locals in Hong Kong are very hard to deal with— “Dealing with some locals who think they are better than you, or pretend they cannot converse with you.  I am not racist in any way and have lived in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East, never having a problem.” said Mr. Robertson. Despite the negative feeling with locals, Mr. Robertson deems Hong Kong as his home, even though his immediate family has moved out of the country a few years ago. However, plans to retire somewhere else, but for most of his life, he’s made no plans to leave Hong Kong just yet.

Finding a job with local companies can be a bit of a challenge for expats. Though, finding local employment in the city can settle everything else. Once you’ve found a local job, the company would be able to arrange your visa, accommodations, healthcare etc., which is why finding a job before moving is the most convenient way to settle down to a new host country.

To learn more about Mr. Robertson’s 30+ years as an expat, read his full interview below.

Q: Where are you originally from?         

A: Scotland

Q: What made you move out of your home country?    

A: Family moved to Hong Kong

Q: Where are you living now?  

A: Hong Kong

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?              

A: Family moved to Hong Kong

Q: How long have you been living in Hong Kong?            

A: 30+ years

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Hong Kong?

A: Finding a job in a local company

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in Hong Kong? What was your experience with these?

A: Once you have a job a work visa goes with it, and it is renewed upon their request. Local companies provide only local medical cover.  International medical is your choice and cost.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: Living with my girlfriend

Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Hong Kong? How did you manage to find a social circle in Hong Kong?

A: Expats tend to hang out with other expats.  There are social sports clubs which most expats joined in the past, but are very expensive to join now, unless you’re rich or are sponsored by your company.

Q:  What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Lots of hiking areas, bbq’s or junk/boat trips.  Or get involved at your local sports club.  Most sports are played Saturday afternoon, and by choice on Sunday.

Q: How does the cost of living in Hong Kong compared to your home? 

A: More expensive. Starbucks HK$40, Hotels or other places HK$50 - $100. Restaurants that serve local food cost HK$100, and those who serve western food cost HK$500.

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Hong Kong?

A: Local culture is fine.  Locals vary from pleasant to holding grudges against the British

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Hong Kong?

A: Different culture and places to travel, good tax system.  Learning the language is very difficult.  I can speak a little Cantonese, but limited.  Dealing with some locals who think they are better than you, or pretend they cannot converse with you.  I am not racist in any way and have lived in Africa, the Middle East and the Far East, never having a problem.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: My home now is Hong Kong, but the family has since moved away.

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?           

A: Ordering British goods online and Skype with the family.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Maybe in retirement, but not back home. I have no family left there.

Q:  What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Learning the language and being away from family and friends.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Learn the language, joins clubs and meet people.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: Not really.  Asiaxpat, Geoexpat, localize, google helps you get around and find what you need.