Cramming your entire life into a 23 kg suitcase and small carry on can be a frightening and stressful ordeal. But there are ways in which you can make this task much less daunting. Here are a few tips for how to pack as much as necessary and as little as possible.
Avoid heavy textbooks
Textbooks are made of paper and are heavy, you won’t ever be able to carry enough to give to all of your students and the schools will have textbooks of their own. Do your back a favor and try to drastically limit the number of books you take. Using a kindle or similar e-reader can help this massively. They also have the advantage of enabling you to buy a new release back home and download it to your device immediately, especially helpful as English books as expected in a non-English speaking country are much harder to get hold of in China. Many bookstores in China wont stock a broad supply of English books and digital download can prove a reliable way to solve the huge distance barrier between you and an English book store.
Take a good phone and Laptop
Two of the most important items that you will take with you to China will be your laptop and your phone. You will use these practically everyday and be in a mess if you lose them. Additionally, imported electrical goods such as computers and cell phones are comparatively expensive compared to the U.S and even the U.K. Furthermore, the software on electronic devices bought in China is often of a lower quality and does not always include what you would take for granted from a UK or U.S supplier. A good example of this is a Samsung smartphone that I reluctantly bought in China. Although it had an Android operating system the phone would not recognize google apps, rendering my phone much less use than I had hoped. Therefor, I would seriously consider having a decent phone and laptop for your Chinese journey. You will be using these a lot in your new TEFL career so the investment will pay off.
Limit clothing, its cheaper there
Unlike electrical imports. Domestic clothing in China is relatively inexpensive and easy to get hold of. For this reason items such as additional shirts, trousers, swim wear and anything in between can be bought once you have arrived. So don’t pack too much clothing. You can always buy more.
Take a good supply of Western Medicines
China and the West differ greatly in their over the counter medication for common ailments. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are almost impossible to get hold of in even larger Chinese cities and Western cold and flu medication is very different to the local herbal teas available in most Chinese pharmacies. Take enough of these basic meds to last you the full year. These medicines are small and light and are exactly the kind of things that you cant get over there. So take them, you will be grateful when the time comes!
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