Taking a Gap Year: Destination Hong Kong

Posted on Dec 7 2018 - 5:48pm by Olivia Williams Jones

So, you’ve finished high school and would like to take a gap year before figuring out what you’re going to do next? So many people your age are in the same situation and have decided to do the same. Now, the question is what you should do during the gap year so that it’s not wasted. Well, you’ll be spoiled for choice, to be honest.

The best way to spend your gap year depends on you and your ambitions and goals. You might look for some work experience, experiment with a new career, do some volunteering work or simply travel for fun. Whatever your motive, one of the places where you can achieve your goals is definitely Hong Kong.

Why Hong Kong?

To begin with, English is one of the official languages, which makes it a natural choice for many young people. Also, there are very good employment opportunities for those interested in working hard and broadening their horizons. We should probably also mention that it’s one of the most popular destinations for adventure and cultural travel. As you can see, Hong Kong is definitely an option worth considering.

Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong, monk

Photo by Tiplada Mekvisan on Unsplash

Fun and culture

Despite its size, Hong Kong offers a range of fun and exciting activities, from backpacking and camping on the beach to rock climbing. With many national parks, you can also immerse yourself in some of the most stunning sceneries in the world.

Hong Kong, as you might know, has a lot of historical significance. It is also an excellent starting point for exploring other parts of Asia, particularly China. The city itself is a magnificent mixture of cultures, which makes it rather unique.

Teaching English

Despite the fact that English is one of the official languages, there is a great opportunity for native and non-native speakers to teach in Hong Kong. One of the things you could do to improve your chances of landing a great job as a teacher is to sign up for the renowned Monkey Tree TEFL courses and get the necessary qualifications.

Choi Hung Estate, Hong Kong, playground

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash


Another option worth considering is sharing your time and skills with those in need. Some volunteering opportunities are through church organizations, but you can also find many other options. They range from helping children learn English and working with the physically challenged to making crafts. You can choose a program that fits your interests and you’re bound to be rewarded, though not financially.


Hong Kong also offers many internship opportunities, allowing you to explore the life there in the best possible way. Working in such a culturally diverse environment can provide you with invaluable experience, which you probably couldn’t get at home. By joining an internship program in Hong Kong, you’ll be able to develop not only professionally, but personally as well. Just imagine living and working in a foreign culture, possibly learning another language and meeting people from all over the world!

Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, sunset

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

Living in Hong Kong

You need to know that living in Hong Kong is more expensive than in most other cities in Asia and be prepared to pay around $20,000 HKD (approx. $2800 USD) for a two-bedroom apartment. Utilities average around $1000 HKD (approx. $ 120 USD) and you should also count on spending $450 HKD (approx. $65 USD) per month for public transport. Other expenses depend on your lifestyle.

Culture and etiquette

Hong Kong is dominated by Cantonese habits and customs. Whatever you do and whatever you achieve is a reflection upon your family. People address each other by their family names unless the host or colleague asks you to use their first name.

In terms of personal space, you can expect people to stand quite close when talking to you, but they will refrain from touching you. Also, friends and couples like to hold hands, but such examples of affection are seldom seen in public.

Ngong Ping, Hong Kong, temple

Photo by Meckl Antal on Unsplash

Health and safety

You’d be glad to hear that Hong Kong has very high standards with regards to health. Restaurants and other public places are regularly inspected and tap water is safe, though many people don’t like the taste and choose bottled water. Hospitals provide excellent care, should you need it. Also, it’s safe to walk around even at night, but you still have to be careful, since pickpockets operate in high traffic areas.

As you can see, Hong Kong is really an attractive destination for your gap year or at least a part of it. The potential benefits of your stay there by far outweigh any concerns you might have. So, don’t miss such a great opportunity to travel and spend at least a small part of your life there.

Olivia Williams Jones
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About the Author

Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is "Be the change you want to see in the world".