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Transfer to HK - kids/schools/where to live???

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  1. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by merchantms:
    Village lifestyle in HK is nothing like Kent. NOTHING.

    You want to be in an area that has more expat/international people. Even if that means a high rise or a large estate. Reasons:

    1) English speaking neighbors which will help your family make friends
    2) international shops where you can buy things you are used to eating/using at home
    3) proximity to international/English playgroups, preschools, and schools
    4) more Westernized medical care

    What you don't want is your wife having to drag the kids all over town to have play dates or attend school and activities. I know people who save money and have a big house in the New Territories but they are constantly traveling to HK Island because there aren't any English playgroups or English-speaking doctors in their area. Another issue I've seen is that the public hospitals are a lot harder to navigate and a lot more, um, "local" in their practice the further into NT you go. Many expat women use a friend's address to give birth at Queen Mary (on HK Island) because of bad experiences elsewhere.
    I would agree that HK villages are nothing like Kent.
    Would disagree with much of the rest. And I live in the NT.
    There are part of the NT that are full of expats. Sai Kung and Gold Coast being two off the top of my head. Fairview Park is another (you might want to look at this - its the closest thing to a "UK suburb" I have ever seen in Hong Kong). All doctors in Hong Kong can speak English. Many of them have receptionists who cannot. There is a high quality (and high price) doctor surgery in the Gold Coast, for example, with FULL high quality English speaking staff and an English doctor (the other one is european, swedish I think, cannot recall). I recently had cause to spend time in the public hospital in Tsuen Wan. It was excellent. Not fancy, but better than my similar stay in with the NHS some years back! Most nurses didn't speak much English, but they did care and they were kind. All the doctors were fine. As were the physios.

    There are plenty of low rise around Gold Coast. Also around Sham Tseng (closer to Central).

    You don't need to bring your wife out of school for weeks to look around - one week at a pinch would do. HK is NOTHING like the UK. You have to see it to get that and coming without seeing - recipe for disaster imho.
    chingleutsch likes this.

  2. #72

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    For schools try some of the newer ones:

    Nord Anglia

    Admissions | Nord Anglia International School Hong Kong | NAIS

    American School in Tai Po (opened Aug 2016)
    http://www.ashk.hk/

    Stamford American school in Ho Man Tin (opening in Sept 2017)
    Stamford American School - Hong Kong

    merchantms and imparanoic like this.

  3. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by HK_Katherine:
    I would agree that HK villages are nothing like Kent.
    Would disagree with much of the rest. And I live in the NT.
    There are part of the NT that are full of expats. Sai Kung and Gold Coast being two off the top of my head. Fairview Park is another (you might want to look at this - its the closest thing to a "UK suburb" I have ever seen in Hong Kong). All doctors in Hong Kong can speak English. Many of them have receptionists who cannot. There is a high quality (and high price) doctor surgery in the Gold Coast, for example, with FULL high quality English speaking staff and an English doctor (the other one is european, swedish I think, cannot recall). I recently had cause to spend time in the public hospital in Tsuen Wan. It was excellent. Not fancy, but better than my similar stay in with the NHS some years back! Most nurses didn't speak much English, but they did care and they were kind. All the doctors were fine. As were the physios.
    Sorry - I've conflated a few issues into one post and didn't word it well.

    1) there are expat enclaves all of HK including HK Island (Mid-Levels, Southside), Discovery Bay, Kowloon/Olympic, Sai Kung, Gold Coast.

    2) True international (as in genuinely using an IB or UK/US/Canadian curriculum) preschools and playgroups are concentrated in HK Island and to a lesser extent DB. My baby goes to playgroup on Southside and there are a lot of Kowloon/NT families that drive there because there's nothing equivalent in their areas. So with an 18 month old this is a major consideration. No one wants to make a toddler travel 30-45 min for playgroup.

    3) My friends with kids have had awful experiences at Tuen Muen and even Queen Elizabeth hospitals. Extremely unfriendly to breastfeeding mothers for a start. The MCHC clinics in those areas also often give bad 1970s advice regarding breastfeeding. So moms end up coming to HK Island to see doctors with training in the West who have a clue about this.
    TheBrit likes this.

  4. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by kimwy66:
    Psst...Cloudy Bay is a New Zealand wine.
    Australian, Kiwi, not much difference there then... (runs away and takes cover...)
    TheBrit likes this.

  5. #75

    OP, you see, everyone has their own thinking and reality here. The stage is yours!

    Firemin likes this.

  6. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by merchantms:
    Sorry - I've conflated a few issues into one post and didn't word it well.

    1) there are expat enclaves all of HK including HK Island (Mid-Levels, Southside), Discovery Bay, Kowloon/Olympic, Sai Kung, Gold Coast.

    2) True international (as in genuinely using an IB or UK/US/Canadian curriculum) preschools and playgroups are concentrated in HK Island and to a lesser extent DB. My baby goes to playgroup on Southside and there are a lot of Kowloon/NT families that drive there because there's nothing equivalent in their areas. So with an 18 month old this is a major consideration. No one wants to make a toddler travel 30-45 min for playgroup.

    3) My friends with kids have had awful experiences at Tuen Muen and even Queen Elizabeth hospitals. Extremely unfriendly to breastfeeding mothers for a start. The MCHC clinics in those areas also often give bad 1970s advice regarding breastfeeding. So moms end up coming to HK Island to see doctors with training in the West who have a clue about this.
    HK and breastfeeding is in the dark ages - no disagreement there. But they already have two kids so this may not be an issue
    There are certainly western kindies in Gold Coast. As in, run by expats for expats. I cannot believe that whether or not they follow the IB is relevant at 18 months.....

  7. #77

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    Just a note, "expat enclaves" are not actually enclaves for expats. Expats can and do live anywhere in Hong Kong.

    Some expats prefer to congregate with other expats and that means there is a higher density of expats in certain areas, often near MTR stations. This can lead to landlords bumping up rents in those areas if they know expats will pay more to be close to other expats. Mid-Levels is a prime and enduring example.

    Anyway, just to help you understand that in Hong Kong an "expat enclave" isn't an enclave.


  8. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Claire ex-ax:
    This can lead to landlords bumping up rents in those areas if they know expats will pay more to be close to other expats. Mid-Levels is a prime and enduring example.
    This smells like bollocks to me. All areas of Hong Kong are majority Chinese - expats aren't a big enough population anywhere - yet let Mid Levels - to be targeted like his.

  9. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by merchantms:
    . No one wants to make a toddler travel 30-45 min for playgroup.
    We do - just sayin. :-)

  10. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by merchantms:
    2) True international (as in genuinely using an IB or UK/US/Canadian curriculum) preschools and playgroups are concentrated in HK Island and to a lesser extent DB. My baby goes to playgroup on Southside and there are a lot of Kowloon/NT families that drive there because there's nothing equivalent in their areas. So with an 18 month old this is a major consideration. No one wants to make a toddler travel 30-45 min for playgroup.
    Plenty of them in Kowloon Tong so this is only partly correct.
    imparanoic likes this.

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