The Worldcitizen Club

Expat Life: The Stories of Those Who've Left It All Behind

23.06.2022 09:25 | The Worldcitizen Crew (Administrator)

We start this new series with the report of our founder Alexandra Elsener:

Hong Kong

the buzzing former British colony with it’s one of a kind diversities was my home town for 4 years.

I moved there with my husband not knowing what to expect - not knowing much about Chinese way of life and about a metropolis that belongs to China but has a one country two system policy - which meant in simple terms: It has it’s own legal system and government.

What that meant,  I gradually started to find out when I needed a visa to travel to Mainland China, which borders right next to the territory of Hong Kong.

We first lived on Hong Kong Island and then moved to the New Territories - another district of the city.

What amazed me most was the fact that this autonomous territory of China was extremely green with lush rainforests and country parks - lovely seaside villages and a quirky wildlife we used to encounter with our dog George on our daily walks - from monkeys to wild boars - from snakes to exotic birds and butterflies not to speak of the beautiful flora everywhere.

So to my surprise, I was not just living in a concrete jungle with skyscrapers with stunning views over the city, expensive  boutiques and hotels - it was actually a paradise too!

Daily life was so diverse it couldn’t have been better.Public transport was fabulous and your weekend destinations like Thailand or the Philippines only a couple of hours flight away.


I started learning Mandarin - I did not dare to tackle Chinese Calligraphy but wanted to be able to say some basic words and sentences especially when travelling to Mainland China.

The official language spoken in HK is Cantonese which is a dialect spoken in South China. But you could usually communicate in English specially with the older generation.

I miss HK for it’s incredible mix of western influence and Chinese traditions - it’s small alleyways in Kowloon - my boat trips on the traditional Star Ferry which took you from HK Island to Kowloon. The busy streets - the hidden little shops - the markets especially the flower markets.

Many more memories will stay in my heart as I truly love the Asian spirit - the incredible and magnificent Chinese wall I was standing on outside of Beijing and the picturesque villages in Yunnan, China.


I could go on writing about my adventures and experiences but hopefully for those who have never been - my little insight has inspired you to put it on your bucket list one day! 

Our editorial team has put together the following book tips - available from our partner Orell Füssli:

The Worldcitizen Club

Elisabethenstrasse 23, CH-4051 Basel

© 2022 The Worldcitizen KLG. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software