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A new NET in HK

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Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2003 9:58 am    Post subject: A new NET in HK Reply with quote

My name is Jenny. I have just signed up for a NET position in a primary school in HK. The name of the school is Lam Tsuen Public Wong Fook Luen Memorial Primary School. I was wondering if anyone knows of it and can give me some advance info.
Apparently I will be doing AM one week, PM the next. What exactly does that mean? What would the starting/finishing time be? The location is Tai Po. What sort of area is that?
I am excited about taking this position, although starting to feel a bit daunted about the process involved in reorganizing my whole life, packing up etc and moving. (I currently live in Australia.)
(I hope also the SARS problem is under control sooner as opposed to later.)
I look forward to hearing from someone, as it is all a very new experience for me.
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Joined: 15 Apr 2003
Posts: 16
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2003 10:12 am    Post subject: Hong Kong Reply with quote


I've lived and worked in Hong Kong off and on for about three and a half years. I'm no HK expert but I like to think I know the place quite well. Here are some things you might want to consider before coming to Hong Kong:

Tai Po, is quite a long way from the city (a train/MTR ride away). If you're chiefly concerned about saving money, this may be advantageous, as you'll be quite a long way from the bright lights of Wanchai and Lang Kwai Fong. If you're the sort of person who enjoys a lively night life, you won't find it in Tai Po.

Hong Kong is a VERY expensive place to live. I pay the equivalent of AUD $1,250/month for a modest 500 sq. ft flat on Lantau Island. You should be aware that tenants here are normally required to pay TWO month's security deposit, ONE month's rent the day they take possesion and an agency fee (usually equal to 50% of one month's rent). In my case, this totalled HK $21,000 or roughly AUD $4,400. Will your new employer be providing accomodation or helping with the cost? Typically, they don't though NET scheme teachers do receive some sort of housing subsidy as part of their salary.

The SARS emergency, in my opinion, is very much overblown, but you should be aware that the situation is still far from stable. There have been 81 SARS-related deaths in Hong Kong since the beginning of the emergency and 46 of them occured last week. In other words, more than 50% of the fatalities that have occured since the beginning of March have occured in the last 7 days.

I would also be surprised if the schools open any time soon. They are scheduled to re-open after the Easter weekend but given the deteriorating situation I expect them to remain closed until the SARS outbreak is brought under control.

If none of these things phase you then I'm sure you'll like it here. Hong Kong's reputation has suffered of late but it's still an exciting and vibrant place to live and work.

Hope this helps.
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Joined: 18 Feb 2003
Posts: 58
Location: h.k

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 5:31 am    Post subject: new net Reply with quote

Hi jenny
Iam a net working in kowloon and have been in hk for the past 8 months.
I dont know the school you have been assigned to but some info anyway.
Tai Po is a housing area north east of hk island and is connected by good bus and train system. Some of myfellow chinnese teachers live in the area and commute to kowloon each day taking about 1 hour on the bus, this isnt a long trip as I travel 1 hour to 1 of my schools .I live , chose to live on hk island as its half way betweeen my 2 schools and the lifestyle on the island is worth paying for.
Tai po is currently getting attention at present as its a sars affected part of hk however by september all going well things should be back to normal.
You could live in an area near to tai po called ma on shan which is on the water near shatin and travel by bus each day, a number of nets live in around ma on shan and pay about $9000 per month. Some nets also live near tai po in some villas and enjoy the quiet life.
A point about am pm schools that you need to know, am means morning school classes go from 8am to 1pm and kids go home but not the staff you will be asked to stay on after for at least 1-2 hours. so morning soon becomes afternoon and you are working the same hours as all day school.
The same applys to pm you will possibly be expected to arrive 1 hour or more before pm classes start at 1.30 and class go to around 6 pm but you can go home soon after.The bad side is you will be asked to work half day saturdays for both schools and this is where you need to be strong and only agree to work 2 saturdays per month eg 1 saturday per school per month. Some nets have been bullied to work every satirday and have needed to trade this off with extra duties during the school week.
Each school is a law until itself and you need to bargain for some better conditions schools expect long hours and that is hk.
So be aware am pm schools can be longer hours than all day schools and we get our weekends, you need to be able to negotiate your way around and the best word to use is IM NOT COMFORTABLE the chinnese seem to understand this word phrase better than other words.
To get an apartment you will need to sign up with an estate agent who will show you around but do make a list of palces visited as it becomes confusing , if you use 2 estate agents then dont go into an apartment you have already visited as you will then be asked to pay both estate agencies if you chose the apartment. Apartments will appear dirty as they are only cleaned up when soemone has signed and is moving in so dont worry about the dust as that is hk, but do make sure all things are agreed to being made clean and all things working before you sign and pay up as the chionnese are very good at doing the minimum for the maximum return.
If you want more info ask
best of luck
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Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Manc47 and Arju for your advice. You have both given me some things to think about. The finishing time for the pm shift is a dilemma, as I have an 8 year old son. If I don't finish until after 6 pm, I really don't know what I'll do with him. I haven't organised his schooling yet, as I decided not to bring him across until I have settled in myself. Consequently I'll leave him with my mother until after Christmas. Then I will probably put him in the Australian International School, but haven't made up my mind. Any advice would be appreciated. Are there schools other than the international schools that would be suitable?
Many thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Joined: 18 Feb 2003
Posts: 58
Location: h.k

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:05 am    Post subject: new net Reply with quote

hi jenny
re schooling for your son, expat children arent allowed to attend the local schools, expat children can only go to the international schools.
The australian international school is at kowloon tong which is 5 mins walk from the kcr ( kowloon canton railway) the kcr goes through tai po area and would be about 3 stations or about 10-15 mins.
Have you checked on the costs of international schooling? its quite expensive. There is also an international school in shatin which is closer to tai po .
Most expats employ amahs ( filipino live in maids $3500 hk per month) to look after the ir children and clean house and cook walk dogs etc. The going rate for an amah is about $50 hk per hour you could employ an amah to look after your son each afternoon for 2 hours its an idea.
If you want more help send a message
best of luck
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Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 427
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 7:45 am    Post subject: RE: New NET in HK Reply with quote

Dear Jenny,

The AM and PM sections are in effect , two schools sharing the same facilities.

AM would commence lessons from say 8:30am with morning assembley prior to this, and finish at around lunch time, with the PM section starting at somtime around 1:15 finishing at perhaps 3:35. Of course in the afternoons there will be lots of silly staff meetings whihc won't actually acomplish anything Razz

You may have to reoprt to two different principles.

One question is how many different classes of students do you have?
How often do you have them, once a week, once every two weeks?

Tai Po, is considered countrysideish, rather beautiful scenery, don't worry , you will have lots of public holidays to allow you to enjoy HK.

Of course you don't need to live in Tai Po, but finding accommodation is the most difficult and perhaps stressful part of settling in.

Many NETs aren't aware of hte deposits required by the eectrical companies, water, and phone company.

If you have any difficulties, consider taking a serviced apartment for a while, just bring your mobile phone, services out here are incredibly cheap.

This link is for an electronic map of Hon Kong, it should give you some orientation as to where the school is, the scholl is very likely to have htier own website with a few happy snaps too. I would suggest doing a Google search withthe name of the school.

HK Map
You can see Tai Po along the main train line, just click and zoom in.

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Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 11:56 am    Post subject: What do NETs bring with them to Hong Kong? Reply with quote

Thanks Chris and Arju. I'm going to try for the Sha Tin school for my son. And a Filipino maid would be a good investment, I feel. The Sha Tin school is much cheaper than the Australian International, so the saving there will compensate the cost of the maid. I hope the waiting list is not too extensive.
Does anyone have any idea of the initial cost of setting up house??? Rolling Eyes
And what advice can anyone give on essential items to have freighted out? I don't know what to bring and what sort of things would be better just to buy once I arrive.
Thanks for the advice. It is much appreciated.
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Scott in HK

Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 148

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2003 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that the secondary NET program allows its teachers to borrow 50K to be paid back over the year. This will let you set up house a little easier. I don't know if I would bring over anything, there are so many ex-pats leaving all the time you can pick up a lot of different things...and some apts/houses come furnished or half furnished.

I would suggest that you stay in the serviced apartments in Tin Shui Wai while you look for a permanent home. It would mean a long commute at first but their are lots of buses to the Tai Po region. Maybe someone knows of a service apt in the Tai Po area.

Check out the site for some infor on living in hong kong and a classified section to look at the cost of used items....
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Joined: 18 Feb 2003
Posts: 58
Location: h.k

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 6:40 am    Post subject: new net Reply with quote

Hi Jenny I need to clarify the am pm schools for you, some am pm schools are 2 seperate schools using the same buildings, am has own principal and pm has own principal , some as in the case of non government schools will have 1 principal 2 staff 2 programs.
generally the pm school will be the bigger of the 2 schools as they will have more classes and more staff in this case the am school will be your base school and they will have your contract. Am schools operate until around 1pm and the pm operate around 1.30 to around 6pm not 3pm!.
Re apartments it is a good idea to rent a serviced apartment for the first month so that you have more time to settle in to school and also spend spare time finding an aprtment that will be suitable. At present there are adverts for serviced aprtments at man on shan from $6800 per month 2 bedrooms. 677 sqr feet. The internet site is Man on shan is close to shatin and connected by buses to tai po.
Re bringing gear.... you dont need to as most apartments will be pretty well furnished with most things needed that is the way in hong kong and one way of attracting renters.Small personal items eg photos etc are good to bring with you as you can use them in school as well as making your apartment more home like.
There are numerous stores around hong kong that cater for the local tastes through to the expat likes. Prices can be cheap up to expensive its what you want. In shatin there is a huge shopping centre with everything you would need for your apartment,
As a new teacher you can get 2 months salary paid in advance which will be repaid via deductions over 12 months as soon as you sign your contract meet with principal ask for this and it should be paid fairly quickly.
It is a good idea to bring with you enough money to last a month as some schools pay takes longer than others and you will need to be self suficient in case.Food costs are higher than australia and transport is as well.
Some serviced apartments ask for a security deposit as well as paying for the month in advance.
Re long term rental all rental agreements are for 2 years with the first year being locked and the second year you can opt out with 1-2 months pre advice. You need to pay 2 months rent as deposit plus 1 month in advance as well as paying commission to the rental agency that you go through, the comission is half of 1 months rent so in effect you need 3.5 months rent plus the cost of $2700 deposit to electicity company , $450 deposit to gas company. For figures sake say you rent an apartment for $9000 per month you will need $31500 .
All the best and if you want more info drop a line
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Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 293

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry about money for rent, as a NET that will be paid for you (anything up to 13,000 a month). An AM school is just that; a school that is open in the morning, usually from 7 to 12 or 1; a PM (usually 1 to 6 or 7) is open in the afternoon. This is very common in HK as different schools need to share the building. Life begins very, very early in HK. When at my AM school I have to leave my home every morning at 6.30.
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