October 25, 2010The Experience

E-mail and instant messenging are the most reliable and easy methods to communicate with family and friends at home.

Most schools provide a computer with internet in the teacher’s apartment. Teachers who do not have access to internet in the apartment will be provided with a computer on the school campus.

The reliability of the internet access in China can vary from school to school and it is not uncommon for the server to be “down” from time to time. Teachers should contact China Horizons should this problem persist longer than five consecutive days.

Each teacher will be given the contact information for the China Horizons native Chinese coordinator. This coordinator is available everyday to assist in problems such as communication between China and the teacher’s home country. Teachers can purchase a phone card to call domestically within China.

Preferred methods of communication

China Horizons strongly recommends that teachers sign up for an internet phone service account such as Skype. This is a 100% free service that lets users call anyone in the world who has a Skype account. Computers using Skype require a microphone and speakers, both of which can be purchased inexpensively in China.

Other than the free internet phone service mentioned above, phone cards can be purchased online that allow for U.S.A. to China calling for as low as 2.4 cents a minute. A five dollar phonecard will provide 3.5 hours of call time. We recommend a reliable phone card store such as The “Mega Clean and Stable” card is a great option. Not all apartments are equipped with phone service, so this option is only applicable to teachers with phone access in their apartment.

Common Questions

  1. Can I bring and use my cell phone in China?
    • Many cell phones from the U.S. can be used in China. A new SIM card must be purchased upon arrival in China in order to access the China cellular network. We recommend consulting your cell phone manufacturer to ensure that your specific phone has the capability of switching SIM cards and using the Chinese network. Participants in the volunteer program will receive a new cell phone upon arrival in China to use during their stay.
    • Text messaging is available on the Chinese network and is the most inexpensive form of communication within the country while using a cell phone. Plans in China are on a pay-as-you-go system and no contract is required.