There are fewer things more daunting than packing your belongings and flying over to the other side of the world to start a completely new life in a strange country with a strange language. Although it is undeniable that almost all new teachers gain a lot from China, there are still those that gain more than others. Here’s 5 quick pointers to help make your china trip the best it can be.
1 Learn a little Chinese before you go
Chinese is a very different language from English and its vast differentiation in the way it is expressed both orally and written make it a tough one to get started with. Furthermore, upon your arrival to China you will be tired from jetlag, be in a completely different environment, eating different food, seeing different sights, that you may be a little busy to start the long path to learning to speak fluent mandarin. For this reason we recommend spending a little time to learn the basics before you arrive in China. Free resources such as China Televisions learn English section provide quality, easy to follow videos to learn your first few characters and beyond. Even learning the characters for hello and thank you will go a long way to encouraging you to continue learning once you arrive here.
2 Download Wechat
Wechat is the Chinese Whattsapp, everyone has it and you will undoubtedly be asked for your Wechat number within days of arriving. Not just a messenger app, Wechat also has a status update section similar to Facebook’s, where you can upload photos and minivideos and see what you contacts are up to. Furthermore, Wechat is increasingly being used as a payment tool. Almost all shops and stalls now accept payment via Wechat wallet, making the app a rather useful tool for any smartphone user.
A rather useful trick that Wechat’s chat section has is the ability to translate messages just by pressing them and selecting translate. This enables easy conversation even between you and Chinese friends who cant speak a word of English. Of course, after a short time in China this will be redundant as I’m sure you’re gonna take the time to learn mandarin 😉
Downloading Wechat is free and can be found on your phone OS’s app store. If you get one app in China, get Wechat.
3 Get to know your locals
Once you settle in a place in China you will have a whole host of new locals foreign and native to meet. These people will help you settle in, guide you through what food to eat, where to shop and where to enjoy a night out. You can learn a lot from them who have been before you, make good use of them.
4 Install a VPN BEFORE you arrive
For those unfamiliar with the term VPN it is a network connection that uses other locations around the world as proxies, VPNs have a wide variety of uses but the common one many foreigners use them for is for accessing Western sites such as Facebook and instagram which are otherwise difficult to access.
This one is increasingly relevant to today as many traditional VPN sites are becoming increasingly challenging to connect to. For this reason we recommend you take the time to download a VPN before you log onto the local internet. Sites like Astrill provide high speed VPN solutions that can be used on your phone and computer to enable access to your familiar home sites wherever you go.
5 Book tickets well in advance for your holidays
China has a lot of people, over 1.35 billion and many of those all have time off of work to celebrate the public holidays at the same time. This is likely to be the same time you have your holidays, the result is what you can imagine, but more congested. For this reason, flight prices during these peak times are extremely steep, if you can get time off at a different date, we strongly recommend you take a trip abroad at a quieter time. If this is not possible, the next best thing is to book as early as possible. Plan where you wanna go and get those all important tickets secured as early as you can.
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