Joanne Griffin's Headshot

An interview for the Advance Association.

1. Tell us a little bit about your career path – your work overseas and your new role in Australia

In 2010 I was given the opportunity to relocate to Hong Kong.
My career usually oscillates between communications roles
and my creative business and projects. I found that Hong kong encouraged a spirit of entrepreneurism which worked well for me.
I was able to keep my hand in presentation design and communications.
While working on my blog in which I developed a series called Hong Kong treats,. I also connected with a Hong Kong talent agency Tru West in which I experience a completely different side of Hong Kong through the auditioning process and I recorded a music single while connecting with the local music community. For me Hong Kong was that kind of place full of possibilities and opportunities .

I have been back in Australia for 7 months working in a communication role.

2. What has been your main motivator for moving back to Australia ?

In 2012 I was living in the United States. I was having difficulties in not being able to navigate the right channels for a suitable employment role that would work well with an E3 visa. I also had a close family member who has a serious health issue, so for the time being I am back here.

3. Do you think there are any differences between working and living in Australia and Hong Kong ?

I think there are vast differences between living in Australia and Hong Kong.

There is the good the bad and the difficult in both countries. For example dealing with aspects of Hong Kong administration can be a painful process. It can be frustrating when the wrong box is ticked and there is no opportunity for comprise in a way that an Australian would try to negotiate.

Overall Hong kong seems to be brightly open to entrepreneurism and innovation compared to Australia..The best and the brightest of people live there or travel into the city on Business or pleasure. The buzz is electric.

Working in communications I find Australia lack of broadband speeds and being isolated from media centres / hubs has been difficult. It took me some time before I could digest an Australian newspaper again. It’s just a different pace here.

4. What advice would you give to other Australians looking to repatriate ?

My advice is don’t stay in your apartment. Be open to adventure be curious about your local community. What I didn’t realize n Hong Kong is mainly a national park . If you are an athletic sports loving outdoors person, Hong Kong is perfect to indulge the whims. Find expats who have done it before you, people love giving advice, there is a large online and physical expat group in Hong Kong. It gives you shortcuts to where things are in Hong Kong from doctors to buying groceries.

Most of all be practical at some level you need to let go of how it was at home, your level of comfort might not be the same . That being said find a new home in Hong Kong is challenging.

Learn Mandarin, read the local media and engage.
But definitely don’t give it a second thought and go