Life in Hong Kong

Life in Hong Kong

Sometimes people do leave Quebec province and make a life for themselves elsewhere.

This post is written by Jérémie M. De Serres, a former resident of Quebec City, now living and working in Hong Kong.

He wrote to us to share his experiences of Life in out of Québec:

It was last November when I was offered something I had been waiting for for a long time: an opportunity to go and work in China. I first visited this magnificent country in 2007 and hoped to have the opportunity to go back one day. I went through my university studies, passed the Bar exam, did my mandatory internship and started looking for a position as a lawyer. I was open-minded about the field of law in which I would be practicing, and I applied for a job in immigration law based in Hong Kong. After a few interviews late at night over Skype, I had the offer.

My first impression of China back in 2007 was that it had a rich culture, marked by ancient tradition. I thought the people were welcoming, even though it was sometimes difficult to communicate. I took Mandarin courses, and quickly realized it was one of the hardest things I tried to learn (apparently Cantonese is harder however). I was impressed by the dynamism of China and by how much energy it was putting into becoming a world leader.

Beijing was getting prepared for the Olympics and many buildings were under construction. My Lonely Planet guide dating from just a couple of years earlier was already outdated when I was trying to find a hotel…

With friends from Quebec City, I also visited Shanghai and we had a good time discovering its streets, restaurants and clubs. This trip made me realize the opportunities available in China, as well as all the fun I could have there.

However, my job offer was for a post in Hong Kong (HK). I had never been there before. After looking for information on the Internet and asking a few people for their impressions as visitors or workers there, I was partially reassured.

All the feedback was positive, but I also learned odd things about the city. It is different from the rest of China, because it was a British colony until 1997 and thus mixes eastern and western cultures. Coming from Quebec, I could deal with this duality (especially because it also meant that I had the Chinese and western public holidays). I also learned that the population density could reach astronomical levels since HK is in part situated on an island. Considering that I just spent almost five years in Sherbrooke, this could be more of a problem. With this limited amount of information, I had to be confident enough to take the decision to move to the other side of the world for an indefinite period of time.

I think at this time my biggest concern was food; I asked a friend about it and I was told it was amazing. Anyway, I did not really hesitate before accepting the job offer because the idea of going back to China had been in my head for a long time.

When you have the opportunity to do what you want, you should be able to take calculated risks and, as Nike coined it, just do it.

I think this applies to anyone who wants to move to Hong Kong, New York, Quebec City, or anywhere.

Everyone has their own reasons, for example to improve their living conditions, to offer a better future to their family, security or simply adventure.

What is important is to know what you want, and what you are ready to do to get it. I’ve been here for two months now, and I do not regret my choice.

And my friend was right, the food IS amazing.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Jérémie M. De Serres

Jérémie M. De Serres, LL.B., M.B.A was born and raised in Quebec City, where he attended Champlain St. Lawrence before moving to Sherbrooke to study law and business. He now works as an immigration lawyer based in Hong Kong, and shares his experience as a Quebecer living abroad. His experiences in moving from Sherbrooke to Hong Kong give him particular insight into how it is to be a Quebecer, and how someone foreign to Quebec culture sees him and his manners and habits.

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