My Experience Relocating to Hong Kong (Employee Testimonial)

Life at Orbium June 28, 2018

My Experience Relocating to Hong Kong (Employee Testimonial)

People at Orbium are given the chance to experience diverse cultures. Many can confirm that being in a fast-growing environment presents opportunities to go on international assignments. Aside from getting the chance to work on highly visible and transformative projects, the experience of learning about other cultures and meeting new people can have a profound impact.

Olivier, a manager at Orbium shares his experience on relocating from Switzerland to Hong Kong.

 


 

I have been working in Orbium’s Hong Kong office for the past 3 years on client projects but relocated here permanently last July. I still remember the first time I arrived here from Switzerland in 2015.

The Arrival
The arrival

I arrived in Hong Kong on a Saturday morning and went straight to my hotel in Causeway Bay. Leaving the hotel around noon to explore the city, I saw so many people on the streets that I thought that there must be a special event taking place. I realised later that it was just a normal shopping day in Causeway Bay (so I now try to avoid this area at the weekends).

I continued to explore Hong Kong the next day and I found it surprising to see many women in the parks. Someone later explained to me that Sunday is the day off for the many domestic helpers working in Hong Kong and they like to spend the day in different parks together. Then came Monday, my first day at Orbium Hong Kong’s office, so I arrived early in true Swiss style….and ended up waiting half an hour in the building’s reception for my new Orbium colleagues to arrive.

On my first day in the office, my colleagues took me out for lunch at a local dim sum restaurant (dimsum is a mix of different plates of food for sharing). Everyone wanted to see if I knew how to use chopsticks… which thankfully I could but with no style! They also tried to convince me to try chicken feet but 3 years later I still say, “maybe next time”.

Work Hard, Play Hard 

After a few weeks I understood why this is the city’s motto. People stay late in the office until 8 or 9 pm, but at the weekends people party in Lan Kwai Fong (aka LKF), the main area for bars and clubs which is also close to the business district.

For me, LKF is like a festival every weekend – it’s full of people talking and drinking on the streets. I still go to LKF for a few drinks and sometimes to enjoy the live bands playing in the bars.

Work Hard Play Hard
So Many Cuisines
So many cuisines 

Food in Hong Kong was a surprise to me. There is an amazing choice of reasonably priced restaurants and the variety of food available is incredible. Before, I was not able to distinguish food coming from different Asian countries or regions of China – it was all just “Asian food”. I’m now able to be a lot more specific and discerning.

It is also quite easy to find European food in central Hong Kong. I live close to a French and a Swiss bakery, I can find Italian products for pasta, French cheese, and even Swiss fondue in the supermarket in winter. The mix of Asian and European cultures is what I like the most about Hong Kong.

Rooftops galore

It stands to reason that in a city with so many buildings, there are just as many rooftops! Another great thing to do in Hong Kong is to have a rooftop drink with a stunning view!

Hiking

It is possible to leave the cityscape behind and spend the weekend hiking. The area south of Hong Kong island is only partially inhabited and has several hiking trails and beaches for weekend relaxation.

I like diving, so it has been great to be able to travel more easily to other Asian countries to satisfy my hobby. I have been diving in the Philippines so many times that I now get fewer questions when crossing the border.

Many people have asked me whether I prefer Switzerland or Hong Kong. It’s impossible to choose as they are both very different places. Switzerland generally has more balanced working conditions, but Hong Kong has so many work opportunities and the best sandy beaches are close by. I must admit, my transition to life in Hong Kong has not been a completely straightforward journey, but I am very happy with my decision to live here permanently!

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