When Sajan traveled to Hong Kong on a work trip, he didn’t expect to fall in love with the city—or consider moving there permanently. “When I was asked if I would like to help out in Hong Kong, I thought it was for a week or two and then I’d come back to Bangalore, where I lived,” says Sajan. “So I said, sure, why not?”
Sajan’s path to Hong Kong began almost nine years ago in EF Education First’s Bangalore office, where he worked on IT solutions and projects. From his desk, Sajan coordinated with teams in Boston, London, and other locations around the world to provide technology support for EF language programs, tours, and more.
After a few years and a promotion, Sajan’s job at EF took on a new direction. “When you become a Senior Analyst, you travel to different offices to meet with teams and find out what kind of services they need,” he explains. “So I went to the Boston office, the Toronto office, and the EF Academy International Boarding School in New York.”
These visits gave Sajan insight into the bigger picture of EF, and how even small tasks can have a big impact. “When you’re in your own office and people from other places are asking you for help, you prioritize depending on what you think is important,” he says. “But when you meet with people and see the work they’re doing, you can see something that may seem small for you is so important for the other person.”
This drive to help others is what brought Sajan to Hong Kong—and why he stayed. “I first came to Hong Kong to set up a server,” he recalls. EF’s Hong Kong office was moving, and Sajan came to get things up and running. While finishing the project, EF’s Chief Culture Officer, Ming, asked Sajan if he would consider working in Hong Kong permanently.
“I was like, wow, ok, so this is about me completely moving to Hong Kong, changing countries?” Sajan had to think about it—it was a big decision. “Ming gave me this whole speech,” Sajan recalls. “She told me it would be a huge opportunity in my career at EF, and to think of it as the chance to help over a hundred people directly, make their lives easier.” That was all he needed to hear.
Sajan found making the transition to Hong Kong surprisingly easy. “India has so much culture, and Bangalore has people from all different countries and different states mingling together. So it’s similar to Hong Kong a bit that way,” he explains. “Hong Kong kind of felt like home.”
But, not everything was the same. “The biggest thing I had to adapt to was space,” Sajan laughs. Hong Kong is notorious for its tiny living spaces. “When I was first looking at places to live here, I saw apartments where the bathroom and the kitchen were the same room!”
Fortunately, Sajan discovered that when it comes to Hong Kong, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. “Once I started exploring Hong Kong, I was amazed,” he says. “There’s so much more than skyscrapers.”
Sajan soon discovered a passion for hiking the trails that cover Hong Kong’s vast and mountainous national park space. “So many people who visit think Hong Kong is small, but I’ve seen so much more to it,” he says. “There are fishing villages, amazing views, and fantastic hiking and cycling trails. There’s a lot of nature in Hong Kong, so it’s easy to get away from the city.”
Almost seven years after that first visit to set up a server in EF’s Hong Kong office, Sajan is now the Office Technology Manager with no plans to move anytime soon.
“I love Hong Kong,” Sajan says. “If I can stay for a long time, I’ll be very happy.”