Living on my own

Living on my own

Listen to Jocelyn talking about her experience of moving out of her family home and living on her own in Hong Kong.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


I want to talk about my experience of moving out and living on my own. Moving out to live on your own is not very common in Hong Kong. Many people still choose to live with their parents even though they have a decent job and they're already at (in) their 30s. Many of them would stay with their parents until they get married. There are several reasons behind – firstly, Hong Kong's rent is expensive. Many people would rather save up more money to purchase an apartment instead of renting one. Secondly, the Chinese traditional value of family is that the parents are the ones who brought you up. When you become an adult, you should also take good care of your parents and you should spend more time to be with them. And of course there are people who are still dependent on their parents for food, clothing, household chores, etc.

When I tell people about the idea of moving out, many people's reaction is like, 'What do your parents say?', because they assume the parents would not like their children to leave them. Well, I don't know if my parents like it, but I can tell you my parents support and respect my decision. They think it is good for me to try and live on my own and then I would know it is the best to stay with my family. 

The most important reason for independent living is to save the travelling time to work. It used to take me one hour 15 minutes to travel to work from my previous living place. From my new apartment, it just takes me 30 minutes, so I saved 45 minutes' travelling time. I don't have to get up so early and I save two-third (two-thirds) of my travelling cost. It does not only save my time to travel for work, but also from most of the places in Hong Kong. In addition, I gain my personal space and freedom by independent living. I make my own decision (decisions) all the time, I do not have to say whether I would go home for dinner, I can invite my friends to come up and stay late. 

Of course, there are some trade-offs in living on your own. If you want to rent an apartment, there are lots of preparatory works (work) to do. You have to keep visiting the apartments to search for your ideal one. You have to negotiate with the landlord about the price, furniture inclusion, who is responsible for the maintenance of the furniture and equipments (equipment). My experience was that after we moved into the apartment, it was not until the kitchen cupboard was soaked with water that we found out there was water leakage (leak) in the kitchen sink. 

Money is the main issue in living on your own. You have to be responsible for all the expenses, for example the rent, electricity, gas, water, telephone, internet bills, etc. Therefore, you've got to be well prepared and save up for your bills. Although I find my transportation time much shorter, the saved time is spent on other things, such as cooking and some other household chores. I think preparing and cooking the food do occupy a significant portion of my time; therefore, I always try to make simple meals. On the other hand, I have to regularly tidy up my apartment and wash my clothes, so it doesn't really save much of my time after all. 

Now everything is settled down, I'm getting used to my new life and I am enjoying it. I feel that moving out makes it easier for me to strike a balance between my work, my social life, my study and my family. It may be troublesome, but it may worth (be worth it).


Worksheet83.38 KB

Language level

Average: 4.2 (5 votes)
Profile picture for user noura-elkhwanky

Submitted by noura-elkhwanky on Tue, 12/12/2023 - 01:34


I consider there are lots of pros and cons at living by my own.should be aware about them.firstly find a decent job is a significant reason to be able to afford the responsibility .i have never experienced that before. However, if I had chosen that , I would have more independent to take all my decisions.l assume living by my own could make me beat and able to resolve all my issues.somehow that can help to develop and mature your personality. Thus if you want to live by your own do it, don’t let anyone influences on your decision.

Submitted by howtosay_ on Wed, 08/11/2023 - 00:58


Hello, dear teachers and team!

Could you please tell me with the following:

Is it correct to say "I live separately" to mean I don't live with my parents, but I do alone? Or should I say "I live on my own" or "I live alone"?

Can I say "My parents kept me" in the meaning of my parents giving me money?

I'm very very grateful for your constant help and thank you very much for your help with this issues in advance!

Hi howtosay_,

Yes, you can say "I live separately" to mean that, but you would need to somehow make it clear that you mean "separately from my parents" (e.g. by mentioning your parents somewhere else in the conversation).

I think that "separately" is often used to mean "separately from a spouse or partner", so you would need to show that this is not what you mean in this case.

I hope that answers your question?


LearnEnglish team

Hello, Jonathan!

Thanks a lot for your reply! I do appreciate it!

I've understood about "separately", thank you!

Could you please also tell me if it's correct to say "When I lived with my parents, they kept me" (to mean I was financially dependent on my parents) or, for example "Her husband keeps her" (He gives her money)?

Hello howtosay_,

It is possible to use 'keep' in that way but it sounds rather old-fashioned, particularly in the context of a marriage. We usually use a different verb like 'support' (My parents supported me financially when I was a student) or 'live off' (We both live off his salary as I'm not working at the moment).



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zo_fia on Fri, 14/07/2023 - 03:18


Absolutely, living on my own makes me independent and I became a responsible person. I 'm getting used to manage all my financial problems and I can freely do everything I want.

Submitted by meknini on Tue, 12/07/2022 - 10:04


Yes. I have lived on my own since my teenage years after I furthered my study at a boarding school far away from my hometown making it impossible to commute. Living on my own from a very young age made me very independent and resilient to life struggles as I have to learn to cope and resolve all my issues on my own without parental guidance which I think is the most precious lesson.

Submitted by Viktoriia Besedina on Wed, 08/06/2022 - 07:01


I think it's a good experience. You are independent but you are also responsible for your life. And it helps to develop and mature. I think it helps to improve your time management.

Profile picture for user danisep

Submitted by danisep on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 17:13

Yes, I think that is a part of the life, my parents need their own space at some point, all my brothers have leave the house and now it's my time although I don't have wife and kids, when it live with parents they in one or another way influence in your decisions and ideas. The problem is common, economic independence, it's difficult to get a decent job I mean with a good wage to pay the bills and live confortable, anyway I think that it is important for our own development and growth to be independent.