What should ESL teachers bring from their own countries to China and what they should know when they teach English in China as a newcomer?


Recently, many ESL teachers who have signed contracts with Chinese employers asking me what they should pack in their packages and what they should bring with them to China. Today, I am going to discuss this with you. If there is anything that I miss, please send me an email!


First, I will recommend that you should bring medicines that you often use in your own countries. Since you may not be able to get used to the weather and food when you get to China, you’d better take some digestion medicines, anti-allergic drugs, coughing and fever drugs, and any drugs that you think you may use when you’re in a new environment. You can buy medicine in China too. However, when you just arrive in China, you’d better bring some medicines with you, in case that you get allergic for using wrong drugs.


Second, you need to take some of your clothes not too many but enough for a while. In some foreigners’ mind, China is still an underdeveloped country.  It’s hard to buy something that foreigners want to have. However, it’s not today’s China. Nowadays, foreigners can get almost everything they want in China. There are foreigner supermarkets and shopping malls in China. Foreigners can also do online shopping to buy some stuff from their own countries. Don’t pack too many clothes with you; you can always buy some in China.


Third, you’d better bring some snacks or food with you to release your homesick. I remember that when I got to a new country, I really missed my home and wanted to have something from my own country to company with me. Therefore, my mom packed some instant noodles and snacks in my package to help me release the homesick. If you’re not confident that you can get used to the food in China soon, you may also want to bring some food with you.  However, there are some prohibitions about the food that you cannot bring into China, such as meat or meat products.


Fourth, as I said, China is no longer an underdeveloped country anymore. Foreigners can find many foreign brands in China, such as Wal-Mart, KFC and so on.  Therefore, you don’t need to bring a heavy luggage with you.  You can bring the stuff that you may use for a while, and then you can buy them in China. However, there are some items that are more expensive in China than they are in your own country, such as tampons, coffees and make-ups.  Generally, make-ups are 20%-30% more expensive than they are in the States. Therefore, you’d better take enough make-ups that can be used for one year. There are tampons in Chinese supermarket, but they may be hard to be found. And they are also more expensive in China. Tampons are small and don’t take much space. Therefore, it’s a good choice to bring some tampons for female ESL teachers.  There are many ESL teachers who would like to drink coffees. Coffees in China are not cheap. You may want to take some with you.


Then, what else are more expensive in China? There are some electronic products that are more expensive in China, such as MacBook, IPhone and other electronic products. There are some ESL teachers asking me whether they can bring something to China to sell. The answer is yes, but there is one thing you need to know is that you need to declare custom clearance.  If you can, you can bring some electronic products to China. You may make some money from them.


When ESL teachers come to teach English in China as a newcomer, what should they know?


First, Chinese voltage is 220V, which is different from many other countries’. If the Chinese voltage 220V does not fall into the voltage of the electronic products you use, you need to buy a voltage transformer. Remember, check the voltage of your products first, and then plug into the electric source. Otherwise, the voltage will make your electronic products destroyed. However, there is something bad happened. Don’t worry. You can always find a technic person to repair it.


Second, make sure that you have the contact information of the person who picks you up at the airport.  There are many ESL teachers telling that they have had troubles in finding the person who pick them up at the airport. It must be panic if you could not find the pick-up person, since it’s the first time you come to China. Therefore, you’d better ask the contact information ahead, such as cell phone number. Most of the pick-up person can speak some English, which means that it’s ok if you can’t speak Mandarin. However, if you can speak some Mandarin, it’s really helpful. Sunrise has prepared a must-to-learn Mandarin lesson for those ESL teachers who want to learn some Mandarin before they come to China.


Third, bring some cash with you. When you first come to English in China, you’d better bring some renminbi with you, or the currency of your country. Most ESL teachers should know that after you settle down in China, you could use Alipay or Wechat to make payment.


Fourth, when you come to China, please check out the local weather. Then you can bring the seasonal clothes, don’t need to take so many clothes. It’s very easy to buy clothes in China.


Fifth, Facebook, Twitter and Google are forbidden in China. If you want to get on those websites, you need to buy a VPN online. If you want to know, where to buy and which one is better, we can discuss in another article.


For newcomers, there are many things that they should know before they come to China. The more, the better. However, if you don’t have enough time, please read this article. It may help you a little bit about your packing and something that you should be aware about China.