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Travel & Teach - Hong Kong


There is an enormous demand to learn English in Hong Kong. This is the case even though Cantonese is now the medium of instruction in state schools instead of English.

Demand exists throughout the private and state sectors and it is relatively easy to fix up a job in advance through numerous schools and agencies that advertise on the net. Global English has posted jobs from Hong Kong employers who are keen to recruit GE  TESOL graduates to.

In addition, it is possible to apply to teach in primary or secondary schools through the government backed NET scheme. This is more bureaucratic but pay and conditions are better than average and so can be worth it - especially as HK is one of Asia's most expensive cities.

Hong Kong is fascinating; full of Chinese influence and yet with a strong western feel. It is also a travel hub for Asia and teaching and earning on a good contract should enable you to travel easily and fairly cheaply to exotic Bali and S.Eastern destinations.

Tips for teaching English in Hong Kong

* Consider a 120-hour TEFL Premier course for Asia
* add in a specialism for teaching young learners in Hong Kong
* think about getting your teaching practice certificate through our flexible 20-hour teaching practice programme
* Read the comments section from our Global English graduates and a more in-depth article from Erin, teaching English in Hong Kong 

Useful Contacts

British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/

British Council in Hong Kong: http://www.britishcouncil.org/hongkong.htm    

Chinese Embassy UK: http://china.embassyhomepage.com/

Chinese Embassy USA: http://www.china-embassy.org/

Hong Kong National Tourist Office: www.hkta.org

Useful: http://www.eslbase.com/advice/hong-kong.asp

Schools: http://www.eslbase.com/schools/hong-kong

Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out
how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


Sarah Cooke

I love living and teaching in Hong Kong. The students are eager to learn and want to know all about the western culture and where you come from. One thing I did have trouble dealing with is the weather as in summer it is very hot and humid, so be prepared to sweat! People work long hours in Hong Kong (6 days a week) and you must be prepared to be flexible and available as much as possible. The more flexible you are the more you can earn.

I would advise that where possible it would be to your advantage to learn some basic Cantonese (although this is not a requirement for getting a teaching job). Indeed, most of the Chinese people you will meet will be able to speak some English; however, you can gain more respect if you can reciprocate in Cantonese (obviously not with your students!).

Looking for and finding work was not difficult as I arrived at the beginning of June when Learning centres are desperate for Native speakers. I posted my CV to a number of centres (I obtained the addresses before I arrived in Hong Kong and some from people I met in the first few weeks.) Within two weeks I had started my first teaching position! As with any place you travel to and work, make sure you check your contract before you sign it and agree to your rate of pay before you start.

Pay can be very good here, although the standard of living is quite high and therefore so is the cost! Property is very expensive; renting a very small studio apartment can cost £500 a month. Rental is high and space is minimal! Initially it is better if you can flat share to keep costs down until you find your feet. Eating out is also expensive if you are unwilling to move away from Western food and try local dishes.

Hong Kong is a very cosmopolitan place with a large expat community; however, Chinese people are very proud and have different ideas and culture, which you need to respect. I have found everyone I meet to be friendly and have helped me to settle into life in Hong Kong. Living and working abroad is a great experience and I definitely recommend Hong Kong as a destination.

William Turner

You see numerous adverts for jobs on notice boards in shops, libraries and even on the streets. Chatteris was the organisation I worked for last year; it is especially well suited to people like myself (school leavers or students) because it supplies the school, very basic training, accommodation, some degree of support and spending money (not enough!)

The cost of living can be high. Accommodation is at a premium and going out is costly (£4-5 for a pint of lager). Girls fair better however, as some bars do ‘ladies night’ with free drinks for women only! Eating out can be cheap and good if you know where to go. The good news is that public transport is clean, efficient and extremely cheap. There is a choice of buses, trams, MTR and various ferries to the outlying islands – there is no shortage of taxis either and they are not expensive.

Erin Levant

The Global English TESOL programme opened me up to a wide range of different teaching options in Hong Kong. The certificate is considered heavily by Hong Kong employers and the name of Global English is highly respected. Adding the TESOL endorsement to my resume has proven a very smart decision, as I am now considering multiple teaching positions for the coming academic year.

Add your own comments on your experience in Hong Kong

Travel and Teach

There is huge demand for teachers in Hong Kong and a rich and vibrant ESL sector which consists of ad-hoc conversation clubs, more established private language schools and primary/secondary school placements via the government backed NET scheme.

It is easily possible to secure work before you go and this is advised if you are new to Hong Kong since it is an expensive city to arrive in with no work. Employers and schools should help with visa.

You will need a degree, be a native English speaker preferably although the NET scheme is open to near native speakers. For better paid jobs, experience is required.

Pay and conditions
Most 1 year contracts will pay anywhere from 16HKD - 24HKD. There is often an end of contract bonus in addition. If you do not live lavishly, you should be able to live quite well and save money. The NET scheme offers a salary in excess of this plus passage, baggage allowance, medical and extra bonus payments.

Recruitment for teachers in Hong Kong takes place year round with the exception of Chinese New Year (January/February).

Global English's TEFL Premier 120-hour course alongside our Young Learner and Teaching Practice programmes appears to, so far, have been accepted by the Hong Kong Bureau of Education and we have many graduates working under the NET scheme.

If you are already in Hong Kong, try the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com) for potential jobs, or websites like www.englishexpert.com has a dedicated section on teaching opportunities. You might find the guide to writing your CV on our site quite helpful here. 

Accommodation and tax
Bear in mind that unless you are staying in one of the travellers’ hostels (some of which have dubious cleanliness and safety records) or you are commuting from one of the out-lying islands, such as Lamma or Cheung Chau, accommodation is extremely expensive and likely to be your biggest cost. The tax situation is complicated but is around 12-15% for many workers. Only very good employers will provide the luxury of medical cover and so obtaining your own private medical insurance before travel is strongly advised.

When to look for work
The best time to look for work or to apply for work from UK is May/June time as the summer is a very busy time for learning centres as there is no school – hence you’ll find a large increase in the demand for native speakers. Also see the comments from Global English students in the comments section.

View the latest English teaching jobs from Hong Kong recruiters
View the recommended TESOL course for Hong Kong
Contact Louisa Walsh direct on any aspect of Teaching English in HK

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Global English course comparison

Key Comparison data
Courses Level 1 Level 1 + Young Learners Level 1 + business Level 1 plus 1-2-1 Level 2 Level 2 + Young Learners Level 2 + business Level 2 + 1-2-1 Teaching business English Teaching English to Young Learners Teaching English 1-2-1 Grammar course Weekend face-face
Price £195.00 £295.00 £295.00 £295.00 £315.00 £395.00 £395.00 £395.00 £140.00 £140.00 £140.00 £50.00 £170-£190
Duration (hours) 70 100 100 100 150 180 180 180 30 30 30 20 20 or 28
Time limit (months) 6 6 6 6 18 18 18 18 6 6 6 6 n/a
Modules 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 1 n/a
Content General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 General English General English + Young Learners General English + Business General English + 1-2-1 Business Young Learners One to One Grammar General


Yes . ACTDEC Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes. GE Yes.20 or 28 hour
Course book provided No Yes Yes No* No Yes Yes No* Yes Yes No* No No
View live teaching excerpts Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No. n/a
all courses can be started at any time, have personal tutor support and a 14 day money back guarantee
* includes 1 years subscription to materials provider 'handouts online'