Expat Stories – Ray Bond
November 2019   EXPAT STORIES

Expat Stories – Ray Bond

Ray Bond is the Head of Distribution - Asia Pacific - at Cigna Global IPMI.
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This is his expat story.

Tell us about your expat story.

I’m based in Hong Kong and I’ve been living here for 13 years. I moved here from Brighton in the UK. My wife was three months pregnant during our expat move so you can imagine things where pretty hectic at the time! We’ve been living here ever since so time really does fly by!

What did you find were the best ways of making friends as an expat abroad?

Since my wife was pregnant when we moved here, she pretty quickly found other women in the community who were pregnant as well. Making friends through her connections was a real bonus for us settling down here.

Even today, I’ve still got friends who are husbands of the people that she met who were pregnant all those years ago. Since the kids were all born around the same time, they became friends and kept in touch, so that’s one of the biggest way that we’ve made friends here.

I’ve also personally made a lot of friends through work as well. Our business is quite a small community here in Hong Kong because of the specialist insurance industry that we are all in. Due to this, it is very easy to become friendly and get connected with the people that you work with.

Ray with daughter Vicky, aged 10.

What have been some of the biggest highlights from your expat journey so far?

Making friends with people from so many different backgrounds and culture has been a real highlight of mine. I think also learning about life in different countries has been really interesting.

What have been some of the biggest challenges so far?

Obviously being away from home is a challenge, especially with the eight hour time difference. I think for the kids, getting to see their grandparents only once a year is a bit tricky. I’m from Devon and that is quite a nice part of the UK to visit in the summer so we’re quite lucky in that sense. We tend to go there for a 2 week holiday every summer.

How much do you enjoy your role in Cigna?

I really do consider myself quite lucky to get to do what I do for a living. You get to meet so many different people across all walks of life and you also get to visit a lot of different countries all across the world.

For me in particular, it is the Asia Pacific region that I do my work in. In our line of work, our business can make a really positive impact on people’s lives. I think it’s a really good business to be in.

I think another reason I enjoy my role so much is because my Cigna colleagues are such a great bunch of people to work with. I’ve got to meet so many great people over the years and that’s been fantastic. It really makes a big difference!

What advice would you give to those who are considering making a move?

First of all, I’d tell people to do it. Secondly, I’d tell people to try and stay open-minded and try not to apply your own countries way of doing things in your new place. Sometimes change be a good thing so it’s best to stay open-minded along the way.

I would also tell people to prepare for the fact that your two year planned stay might end up being 13 years! You might end up staying longer than you thought you would, so that’s also worth bearing in mind.

Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?

An amazing eye-opening education about life and different cultures.

 

International Health Insurance

Expats often opt for private healthcare and it’s important to have this arranged before moving country.

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