Family of 5 considering a move to HK - need help please

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    3

    Family of 5 considering a move to HK - need help please

    We have moved several times within the US and and know how to negotiate the relo package. Now we are considering a more to Hong Kong and I feel way out of my comfort zone. Is there anyone that could point me in the right direction?

    1. We have 3 kids ages 14, 12 and 7. Are we crazy to consider a move at these ages? My oldest is entering high school here.

    2. My husband would be going to Shenzhen alot of the time. Where would be the best place for us to live? We really want the best schools even if it means a longer commute time for him. We would like to be around kids and other Westerners as well.

    3. What schools should we consider? Are they difficult to get into and how large are the classes? How do they compare with US schools in general?

    4. What are the key things we should be lookiing for in our package? Do I need to hire an attorney to look at it?

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    158
    Quote Originally Posted by larie:

    2. My husband would be going to Shenzhen alot of the time. Where would be the best place for us to live? We really want the best schools even if it means a longer commute time for him. We would like to be around kids and other Westerners as well.
    Suggest you to try Sheung Shui, Fanling, Tai Po and Shatin.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Fo Tan
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    2,389

    1. This is up to you and you know your family best. As a general rule, most people try to avoid moving HS age kids, but your kid is only entering HS so it isn't like he/she is plugged into the HS social world yet. How long will you be in HK? College looms and you need to decide if you want to spend a junior year in the US because of the all-important entrance exams.
    2. The best place for commuting into SZ is the New Territories; best schools are on HK Island. You could shoot the middle and live in Kowloon which has the schoosl and the commute isn't too terrible. Really the worst part of the commute is the border crossing.
    3. Sorry, can't help there but I am sure someone will speak up.
    4. I would look for a housing allowance (be sure to include the initial deposits), tax prep help (sounds like you will have US, HK, PRC taxes),school allowance, trips home, insurance that covers you in HK and US, a cost of living adjustment which will be adjusted in the currency situation changes, language lessons, banking help (our corporate bank is transferring money to HK for free). Could also ask about commute money, cell phones, car, relocation service to set up all the utilities and show you around. You will have to figure where you can push.
    We are going through all of the above except the schooling as our baby will be 4 months when we move this fall.
    Good luck and keep your eyes glued to this site as it has more info than you will ever be able to use, but it keeps you in the know.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    TsimShaTsui
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    Sleuth has pointed out the important things. To be close to westerners and their kids you need to live on the Hong Kong Island, but the commute to SZ is very long. A compromise is to stay at Kowloon Tong on the Kowloon side - there are quite a few international schools there (including the American International School), a sizable foreign community, living environment is nice, commute to SZ by train is convenient.

    International schools and housing costs in Hong Kong are VERY expensive, so be sure you get generous allowances in the package.

    Good luck!


  5. #5

    Quality of Life - Hong Kong Island

    Its true that the Western community is larger on Hong Kong Island.
    Taipo, Sheung Shui, Shatin is generally more for the locals and has a larger population of local Chinese or new immigarnts from Mainland China.

    My friend arrived from the UK and rented a village hse in Sheung shui as her husband had to travel frequently from HKG > China. She felt quite isolated in the community and felt pretty depressed as everywhere was so local.

    It's true that Hong Kong Island has a larger community of Westerners. Even some of the larger supermarkets caters more for westerners and sells more imported food / products. I find the selection of cereal are much larger. and easier to pick up my favourite Cosmpolitian or Hello Magazine. There are actually some express coaches that run direct from Wanchai (Hong Kong Island) to Shenzhen and the whole journey takes around 45 minutes. That's an alternative to taking the train.

    Kowloon Tong (Kowloon side) is also a good option to consider.

    Good Luck !

  6. #6

    Quality of Life - Hong Kong Island

    Its true that the Western community is larger on Hong Kong Island.
    Taipo, Sheung Shui, Shatin is generally more for the locals and has a larger population of local Chinese or new immigarnts from Mainland China.

    My friend arrived from the UK and rented a village hse in Sheung shui as her husband had to travel frequently from HKG > China. She felt quite isolated in the community and felt pretty depressed as everywhere was so local.

    It's true that Hong Kong Island has a larger community of Westerners. Even some of the larger supermarkets caters more for westerners and sells more imported food / products. I find the selection of cereal are much larger. and easier to pick up my favourite Cosmpolitian or Hello Magazine. There are actually some express coaches that run direct from Wanchai (Hong Kong Island) to Shenzhen and the whole journey takes around 45 minutes. That's an alternative to taking the train.

    Kowloon Tong (Kowloon side) is also a good option to consider.

    Good Luck !

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by bellybabes:
    Its true that the Western community is larger on Hong Kong Island.
    Taipo, Sheung Shui, Shatin is generally more for the locals and has a larger population of local Chinese or new immigarnts from Mainland China.

    My friend arrived from the UK and rented a village hse in Sheung shui as her husband had to travel frequently from HKG > China. She felt quite isolated in the community and felt pretty depressed as everywhere was so local.

    It's true that Hong Kong Island has a larger community of Westerners. Even some of the larger supermarkets caters more for westerners and sells more imported food / products. I find the selection of cereal are much larger. and easier to pick up my favourite Cosmpolitian or Hello Magazine. There are actually some express coaches that run direct from Wanchai (Hong Kong Island) to Shenzhen and the whole journey takes around 45 minutes. That's an alternative to taking the train.

    Kowloon Tong (Kowloon side) is also a good option to consider.

    All the Best !
    Take a look at the school websites, gives you an idea of the prices and class size

    American In'tl School : www.ais.edu.hk
    Hong Kong Int'l School : www.hkis.edu.hk
    Canadian Int'l SChool : www.cdnis.edu.hk

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    29

    I know there is a large american community in Tai Tam (HK island). There you have the american country club and Hong Kong international school which follows the american curriculum. Lots of westeners in Stanley and Repulse Bay + better air quality. Downside is it is expensive.
    So you need a large housing allowance to a have some space in that area.
    The commute for your husband is probably not convenient either.

    Good luck!!


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Fo Tan
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellybabes:
    There are actually some express coaches that run direct from Wanchai (Hong Kong Island) to Shenzhen and the whole journey takes around 45 minutes. That's an alternative to taking the train.
    Bellybabes,
    How much are those express coaches and do they run in both directions?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Sai Kung
    Posts
    8,561

    my aunt and uncle moved to Hk 7.5 years ago with their twiin teenage children. they too were entering grade 9 and found that they LOVED going to King George V school in Ho Man Tin, not too far from Kowloon Tong.

    There was a good mix of kids and although it didn't follow the canadian curriculum (they are English Schools Foundation and follow the British curriculum) the kids fit in really well.

    There's nothing to say that after living abroad for a few years, your kids will WANT to go to university in the States.

    Each of my cousins LOVED having their prospects widened by living overseas...

    one decided to study at uni in England

    the other is going to uni in Australia


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