Survey: 60% cite life pressures in HK as primary reason to study or work abroad


19th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) To better understand the post-pandemic era’s educational needs of Hong Kong people, the Hong Kong Association for Academic and Educational Exchange conducted an online survey on “Hong Kong People’s Intention to Study or Work Abroad” in late February to early March, successfully collecting 503 valid responses. The results show that over 70% and nearly 40% of respondents respectively considered studying abroad or working abroad in the past three years. Nearly 60% of the respondents stated that life pressures were the primary reason for considering studying or working abroad, followed by concerns about the political environment. Over 40% of respondents expressed worries about language barriers, with half of the respondents rating their English proficiency as average and nearly 40% as poor, with only 1.5% claiming excellent proficiency.

A current Form Six student said that she is interested in studying abroad in the U.K. or Australia. She believes that studying in Hong Kong carries significant academic pressure, and she may not have the opportunity to study her preferred subjects. She hopes to change her learning environment and explore opportunities overseas. However, she expressed concern about cultural conflicts, such as faith, political issues, and health, when studying abroad. She hopes to learn mutual respect and adapt to local customs. To prepare herself, besides studying hard for her English Language Exam, she plans to take relevant courses in preparation for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to achieve a qualified score for studying abroad.

According to the spokesperson of the Hong Kong Association for Academic and Educational Exchange, many young people and adults lack confidence in using English, and lack the motivation and perseverance to learn the language. They prioritise work, other studies, and family responsibilities over learning English, resulting in stagnation of their English proficiency. The spokesperson suggests taking international English language exams to encourage and motivate language learning. Students can also use social media to learn English by participating in 21-day vocabulary challenges, which can make learning English fun and engaging, and cultivate a habit of learning English.