before you move

What are the basic job requirements?

In order to qualify for a teaching position, as well as to qualify for an employment visa, you will require a minimum of a TEFL certificate of no less than 100 hours of coursework and a degree of any discipline from an accredited university.

What is a TEFL?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are various similar abbreviations (TEFL/TESL/TESOL) but they all represent courses that goes through the basics of language acquisition in order to equip you with the knowledge of how to teach English to non-native speakers.

What’s the difference between a TEFL, a CertTESOL, and a CELTA?

A TEFL certification would be considered to be the ‘basic’ qualification. TEFL courses come in all shapes and sizes, and are not all equal in the depth and scope in respect of the skills that they teach. CertTESOL is a strictly quality-controlled course offered by Trinity College London. CELTA is the Cambridge English equivalent. CertTESOL and CELTA courses are guaranteed to go in depth and are two of only a hand full of qualifications that are recognized as minimum requirements by other institutions, such as the British Council.

I don’t have a TEFL certificate. What do you suggest?

There are many different ways to get a TELF certificate. Monkey Tree and our recruitment partners, Global Teacher Recruitment, offer TEFL courses at 15% off of market price at iTTT. Click here to get your automatic 15% off any course at iTTT.

What clothing styles are typical in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong does not have any strict clothing requirements or cultural norms. Regular Western clothes are normal in the area.

What’s the weather like?

The summers are hot. Really hot. Not to worry, because everywhere in the city is air-conditioned for your comfort. Winters are typically mild, but a few days per year can dip down to nearly 0°C, and there are few heated buildings in the city, so you’ll want warm clothes for those colder days. Being a tropical climate, it also rains fairly frequently, so an umbrella or light rain jacket is often a must.

Do I need a visa to enter Hong Kong?

Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival for tourist purposes, but make sure to check the Hong Kong Immigration website for updated entry information. Should your application be successful and you decide to come to work with us, you’ll receive a fully sponsored and paid for work visa.

If my family members want to come with me, do they need a visa?

No. Please refer to “Do I need a visa to enter Hong Kong” for more details.

Who or what is Global Teacher Recruitment?

GTR is our official and exclusive recruitment partner. If you were referred to Monkey Tree through one of their representatives, rest assured that they are fully trained and familiar with Monkey Tree operations and hiring practices, and are close partners of ours. You may have met a representative in Canada, the UK, or South Africa, but they are all from the same company (GTR) and we consider them to be a close and important part of our recruitment team.

What is the currency in Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong dollar (HKD). Check out for the most up-to-date conversion rates.

Do I need to bring local currency with me?

Not necessarily. It’s advisable that you bring about HK$500 cash with you just to make sure you can get to where you’re going on arrival, but the city is extremely international, meaning that almost any debit card should work. We suggest that you ask your bank for more specific details if you have any concerns, but in our experience, very few (if any) people ever have issues accessing money from overseas.

I’m an athlete. Are organized/drop-in sports prevalent in Hong Kong?

Yes. With the exception of some winter sports and mountain sports, it is possible to find organized and drop-in sessions for nearly every level of every sport, including ice skating and ice hockey.

What sporting gear can’t I get in Hong Kong?

You can find virtually anything you need here, but if you require very specialized gear for a very specialized sport, we suggest that you look online to confirm availability.

I don’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin. How much of a struggle will this be?

While you won’t be able to have a fluent conversation with everyone in town, knowing any Chinese language is unnecessary in your day-to-day life, and is not required at all for working as a teacher at Monkey Tree.

I require a specific type of medication. Can I get it there?

This is very case-specific and we suggest that you make sure to check with your local doctor or pharmacy, as well as making some personal inquiries before you leave home.

What type of health insurance is most common in Hong Kong?

Public health insurance schemes do not exist here in any way that would be familiar to citizens of countries with public health insurance. However, private health insurance is easy to find if needed, and emergency hospital visits are typically very affordable at public hospitals.

I’ve noticed that hotels are quite expensive. Are there more affordable solutions?

Real estate in Hong Kong is at a premium, meaning that even cheap hotels can appear to charge premium prices. Hostels and dorms are available throughout the city, as well as AirBnB vacancies, so we suggest that you check online for such availability, especially for extended stays.