Out with the Old, in with the New

Wong Wing Lam, Natalie (’21 S2)

I would have never imagined myself calling another place other than Hong Kong “home”; but in the summer of 2021 the big move that my family had been talking about for years finally happened, when we decided to move to the UK. 


The big move to the UK was not easy, both mentally and physically.  My parents and I have never set foot in a European country, let alone living in a foreign country permanently.  During my first few months in the UK, I was extremely self-conscious about my English.  It was difficult for me to socialise with my classmates as I was not used to speaking English.  I have always felt like there was a language barrier between me and my friends.  It was also hard to relate with my classmates due to the fact that we grew up in different countries with different cultures.

Having long walk down the riverside in Surbiton, the town I live in


Apart from the mentally distressing side about moving to the UK, I also found a sense of relief and excitement.  I was lucky to be able to find friends who shared the same interests with me.  I was able to immerse myself in the British culture.  I also developed a new interest in watching football matches with my family during the weekends. But unfortunately, academic stress was no different from Hong Kong to me.  In school, I started taking up new subjects, for example, French.  It was a subject that I have never come across before.  It was such a struggle for me to keep up with lessons and tests, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of catchup work I had to do. 

Despite the pressure of building a new social network and academic stress, I was able to find comfort and reassurance by talking to my friends in Hong Kong.  I would often video-call them on the weekends, and they would keep me updated with the latest gossips in school.  During Christmas or on special occasions, we would also write letters to each other, making sure that our friendship does not fade away.

Me (leftmost) with my friends on our last day of school in Year 10.

New plans 

When starting a brand new life in the UK, I mostly focused on academics, and overlooked the importance of wellbeing.  To be honest, I have not organised a plan for the future, but over the summer holidays of 2022, I developed an interest in photography, and this is something that I would love to do as a hobby in the future.  It is a passion shared between me and my dad.  During my time in the UK, without a doubt, I had a great time experiencing the British culture, and there are things that I wish to achieve, for example, joining a volleyball club and maybe even to try baking as a hobby.  I simply wish to just enjoy my time in the UK with my family and friends.

Me (bottom left) with my friends on a school trip