We’re Heading to Hong Kong! (Okay, Half Of Us Is)

March 19, 2019
teaching english abroad

Sunshowers & Bass is heading to Hong Kong! Okay, fine; The “sunshowers” part is. In less than a week, I, Karolina, will be going on a 6-month contract to teach English! Find out how this happened below.

Teaching English abroad has always been at the top of my bucket list. During university, I had originally planned to become a teacher, but after four years of academia, I was burnt out and decided to pursue a more technical/creative field. I studied and worked in digital marketing for the past couple of years; managing social media accounts, writing blog posts, updating website copy, shooting videos, and brainstorming marketing campaigns. But at the end of the day, it just didn’t feel “right.” Nothing gave me the warm, fuzzy vibes I got from tutoring students on the side.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

With school and wedding plans on the horizon, teaching abroad beforehand suddenly felt like perfect timing. It would give me insight into the education system of another culture, and a mental break from marketing.

It was my friend Adelina Wong, owner of the travel blog Pack Me To, who inspired me to go for it. Adelina lived in Budapest, Hungary for over a year working at an English school. If you talk to her about her experience (or check out her blog), you’ll know right away that it was one of the best times of her life.

Adelina was able to live and work in Hungary through a non-profit called AIESEC. AIESEC connects students and recent graduates with volunteer, internship, and paid work opportunities around the world. It is run completely by students at universities and it prides itself in helping youth develop their leadership potential.

As soon as I heard about AIESEC, I shamelessly started researching opportunities for myself.

teaching english
Take me with you, Hooman.

WHY HONG KONG?

I didn’t exactly pick Hong Kong myself; the position just happened to find me. I had originally planned to teach English in Vietnam. There are a lot of teaching opportunities there right now, and the salaries are high and the cost of living low. Not to mention, the weather is hot, the culture rich, and the work contracts flexible.

I found an opportunity to teach English in Hanoi at an English Centre, but unfortunately, it fell through last minute. My AIESEC “Exchange Manager”–a local UBC student helping me find an opportunity to work abraod–recommended a job posting to me to teach English in Hong Kong for 6 months instead. I felt iffy at first because of how bustling, massive, and expensive Hong Kong is, but in the end, excitement got the best of me and I accepted.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS LIKE?

To be honest, the process with AIESEC to work abroad has been a long one with many hurdles; A lot of the time I really didn’t think it was going to happen. I accepted the job opportunity in the Fall of 2018 and had my visa application filled out and ready to go within a few weeks. AIESEC helped coordinate the visa application between me and the company and submitted the documentation on my behalf. Due to some administrative delays, my visa wasn’t approved by the Hong Kong Immigration Department until well into 2019. After being promised the visa wouldn’t take more than 4-6 weeks to complete, I was a little on edge all winter, to say the least.

As soon as my visa was officially approved, it was time to start looking for accommodation! AIESEC was supposed to assist me with finding a place to stay, but in the end I found an affordable room on Facebook myself. There are many Facebook groups with people looking for roommates or renting out small studios, with no agency fees attached.

With accommodation secured, my flights booked, and my packing well underway, my adventure in Hong Kong begins in 7 days! Phil will be joining me in May for a bit, and I’ll be back for Shambhala in August!🕺🏼

Stay tuned!

teaching english
I was born ready.

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