The Benefits of Teaching English in Hong Kong

Many recent graduates turn to teaching to fund their travels abroad. For those who want a GAP year in between university and their career, teaching English always comes up on the list of best options.

Mainland China has been the go-to place for TEFL qualified graduates for years now, but have you considered Hong Kong? There are many benefits of teaching English in Hong Kong, either for a shorter stint, for a year, or more, allowing you to travel far and wide from that point.

These benefits can either come from the company or institution you work for in terms of perks to help you establish yourself, or just from being in Hong Kong itself.

Its historical connection to England

Hong Kong is a special place to teach English as it has a historical connection to the UK. It was once a colony that had English as its main language. Of course, this didn’t mean that English was spoken by everybody, which was why teaching English was always a valuable skill for someone to have in Hong Kong.

Since its return to China, executives in Hong Kong find themselves travelling to Shanghai for business more than to London or New York, but Hong Kong remains one of the high-flying capitals of the world.

Echoes of England are scattered around the island, even though decades have passed since it was a colony. That said, most people still speak English well enough for it not to be an urgent need for the island or its people. In fact, without a degree and a TEFL qualification, it is very difficult to walk into a job off the streets.

Getting technical here, Hong Kong’s connection to England isn’t just useful for you when travelling around the island; it can actually help you in the classroom. You can practise past tenses when talking about the colony era, or present tenses to compare it to today.

Student talk time can be increased (STT) when you ask them to share their families’ histories with each other, but remember these kids know more about each other than you do, so getting them to teach you about Hong Kong in the past opens up more avenues for STT.

Also Read: English Teaching Options in Hong Kong

A strong economy supports you

As stated, Hong Kong is a capital for international business. It has a fast pace and has throngs of people livening up the streets late into the night. It is not a quiet soulless place to work. Though its rents are high, and the cost of living just as so, the opportunities that Hong Kong offers you can not be found in many places.

Whatever you want or need, you will be able to find, and 24/7, most of the time. For those who are qualified and have a TESOL certificate, there are positions available in schools, not just international ones. You’d get many benefits along with your package, making living in a costly city not just possible, but worth it.

What usually comes with a strong economy is a high availability of services. Though not on the cheap side, you get what you pay for, so don’t be put off Hong Kong because of the cost of living.

Another benefit of being in a strong economy is that there are perks that come with English teaching positions, such as a housing allowance and a paid return flight. On arrival, you could have assistance with finding accommodation too.

It is because native English teachers are in demand that these perks exist. Having a NET (native English teacher) scheme support your move can make it a comfortable one.

Remember, dual language signs can help you to adapt to the city, so even without company benefits or NET schemes, you would be able to set yourself up without difficulty.

You get an international experience

Hong Kong is home to people from all over the world. Though you would be teaching a few cultures compared to a classroom in London, you would be able to use your English all over the city without worrying that nobody will be able to understand you.

When Hong Kong is your base, exploring the entire eastern zone and even heading to Australia and New Zealand is easier and more cost-effective than flying from mainland China.

Many new teachers head for the mainland thinking that they can travel more, but Hong Kong can give you mountain hikes in the morning and beach sundowners in the evening.

When it comes to meeting new friends, you’ll be working alongside nationals of many countries, making your work-spaces more international than Chinese. That said, there is more of a focus on ensuring that Mandarin or Cantonese can be spoken nowadays. Though many other countries are trying to improve their English skills, you may find Hong Kong wants to maintain its English levels.

Teaching English abroad has many benefits, but teaching in Hong Kong offers you a unique lifestyle. Though not always a position that is the highest in status, it is a respectable career option, and you often find teachers staying on for years with their visas renewed by the institution they work for.

The need for qualified native-speaking graduates means that employment is always available, whether you are a new graduate or not, or whether you are from Australia, Canada, South Africa, or even England itself.

Also Read: 10 Steps to Becoming an ESL Teacher in Hong Kong


Yes, you can travel easily from Hong Kong, and make international friends in the process, but you also get to live on the cutting edge in a cosmopolitan city.

For new graduates, this is an adventurous way to begin your career. If you are not new to teaching and would like the opportunity to work in Hong Kong, the benefits may be even greater depending on your experience.

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This article was originally published on November 1, 2019 and was last updated on March 4, 2021.

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