China is a rapidly developing country and is well developed in many places so you can get many items you need while you are out there. The list below is as comprehensive as possible but we cannot claim for it to be authoritative, please use your own judgement on what you need to have a fun summer in China. All the advice below is informal and does not aim to be exhaustive.
Ask your programme coordinator during or after your interview about whether you will need formal clothes for teaching, sports kit for activities or any particular footwear. Find out from them directly if they have any particular dresscode or rules before you come, and also think about what activities, such as rock climbing, which you might want to organise in your own time.
Again, ensure you have travel insurance including medical and repatriation insurance before leaving for China. You are responsible for your own insurance and if you travel without it, you do so at your own risk.
– Anti-diarrhoea tablets (e.g. immodium)
– Small first aid kit (including bandages, small scissors etc)
– Painkillers (if you have a particular preference)
– Rehydration sachets/salts
– Any personal prescription medication, EpiPens, inhalers, etc. It may be difficult to replace prescription medication in China, so please make sure you come prepared
– Smart casual: in some school environments you will need smart casual dress
– Clothes for hot weather: most locations will be warm over the summer so please bring clothes to suit the weather, e.g. shorts, t-shirts, flip flops, sandals
– Sports clothes: this may come in handy when playing with the kids or on excursions, you may also wish to bring swimming kit
– Trainers or walking shoes: these will come in handy for any trips and/or excursions
– Waterproof: it occasionally rains in most locations so you might want to take a lightweight waterproof
– Cash: it is advisable to take $100-200USD worth in RMB (Chinese currency) in case it is required on your journey or immediately upon arrival
– Debit/credit cards and ATMS: for more information on money in China, please read this comprehensive FAQ. ATMs which accept foreign cards can be found in Yangshuo, but since it may not be possible to use cards in all locations, it is advisable to take cash for any personal expenses on days out. Debit or Credit cards can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. Ensure your bank is informed of your trip prior to departure to avoid your card being blocked. China Construction Bank, ICBC and the Bank of China usually are China’s largest banks and can be found in most locations and they are generally compatible with most international bank cards.
– Before you come you can get a currency card such as CaxtonFx or from the Post Office (UK). With these cards, you only pay exchange rates and avoid any bank fees for taking money out or on transactions. These currency cards work at most banks which accept foreign cards, such as ICBC, Bank of China and China Construction Bank. for more information on money in China, please read this comprehensive FAQ
– Torch: while areas are generally well-lit, it’s always good to have a torch on you when travelling
– Chinese phrasebook: this will always come in handy, but your school will be able to help you out
– Camera, of course!
– International socket adapter. China uses the standard two-pin sockets used throughout continental Europe, we suggest you bring one or two. It can be useful to bring an extension lead as well, you can plug that into the adaptor and thereby get 4 extra plugs!
Wi-Fi is normally provided in your accommodation/on campus so you may want to take a laptop or other handheld device to access this service. If you wish to access Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Google, Gmail and other blocked sites while in China, please download a VPN now. VPN means virtual private network it allows you to bypass Chinese internet restrictions. Your universities might offer a vpn (which they intend you to use to access sites like JSTOR). For more information on VPNs and communications in China, please read this comprehensive FAQ. At present, June 2019, our preferred VPN is this one: https://www.sednax.com/ it only works well on Laptops. It is cost effective and works very well in China, but is a little tricky to setup. Otherwise, you can pay around £5 a month for an easier to configure VPN that works on devices and laptops, it is called Astrill and can be found here https://www.astrill.com/download.php. but it doesn’t work too well in China (it is so popular that the government often detect it and turn it off.)