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What to Take When You Go to Teach in China

Teaching in China is an awesome, life changing experience, but it can also be daunting to begin with. One of the main anxieties of new teachers is not knowing what to take with you when you embark on your teaching adventure. What can you buy easily in China, and what is it best to take from home?

1

A VPN

Many of the most popular sites: Facebook, Youtube and Google, are blocked in China. The best way to get around this and to make sure you can stay connected with people back home is to buy a VPN. This allows you to set your computer's IP address to a location outside of China and 'get around' the internet blocks. 

2

Cosmetics

Whilst you can find cosmetics stores in China these stock products made for Chinese consumers and it can be hard to find make up to match your skin tone or tastes. If having a particular brand of cosmetic is important to you, you should try and bring a one year supply with you from home.

3

Food

Yes, Chinese food is amazing and there's so much variety that it's hard to get exhausted of trying new things. However, we all miss something from home. You can buy many things on the Chinese Ebay 'Taobao', but these may be expensive and not quite the product that you're used to. Some popular items that teachers may bring with them to China include: marmite or vegemite, a specific bran of chocolate or confectionary from their home country, herbs and spices. You don't need to bring too much, 

4

Clothes

Of course you're not going to forget to bring clothes with you. However, it's important to pay particular attention to where you'll be living in China. If you're going to be living in southern China you should pack mostly summer clothes: t-shirts and shorts for the guys and summer dresses for the girls. You should still pack a jacket for the winter as it can get quite chilly.

For those moving to northern China you should pack a heavy coat as the winters can get very cold. You should also bring summer clothes as the summers get very hot. It's best to be prepared as in China it can be difficult to get clothes in the styles and sizes you're used to.

Forgotten to bring something with you? Not to worry, it's quite easy to get hold of almost everything you need in China. All of the large, first tier cities have export sections in the supermarkets where you can find foreign groceries from all over the world (although these can be quite expensive). You can also buy imported goods on the Chinese Ebay, Taobao.

For those living in the south of the country, a trip over to Hong Kong to stock up on make up or buy clothes is also quite convenient. Most teachers who are here long term take advantage of their yearly trip home to bring back food, clothes and cosmetics.