Packing Suggestions

January 27, 2011The Experience

It can be daunting to plan and prepare for 1-2 semesters in China. Here are our suggestions and places to start.

Pack light!

Teachers always regret packing too much. Visit the airline website for specific baggage allowances for your flight. If you do not know how to pack light, have someone else pack for you. We strongly recommend bringing only one carry-on bag and one checked bag.

Dress Code

Your dress code is casual business or higher. Jeans and a T-shirt are not acceptable teacher attire. For men we recommend docker type slacks, with a button down or Polo type shirt. A tie is appropriate but not required. Facial hair is often discouraged by the schools so grooming standards must be maintained. For women we recommend skirts below the knee, dress pants, blouses, etc. While teaching, no shorts, flip flops, sleeveless shirts, shirts that come above your belt line, or other revealing attire.

General Packing Guidelines

  • Clothes: Many teachers have had clothes made in China at a good price. Bring a few outfits to start out and then consider buying clothes there. Try to limit the number of shoes to 2 pairs. Bring some comfortable ones and some dressier ones for special occasions.
  • Computer: China runs on 220 volts.  You will need an converter for U.S. electronics that run only on 110 volts. Research which type of converter you will need.
  • Bedding: Sheets, pillows, and blankets are typically provided by the school in the apartment.
  • Laptops: Many teachers have found it convenient to bring their laptops to China. Most apartments will have high speed internet access available to use with your laptop via ethernet cable. Many laptops have power adapters that are already capable of handling the different voltage in China’s outlets so a converter is not necessary.
  • Money: We recommend bringing at least $200-400 in U.S. cash. This can be immediately converted to Chinese Yuan (RMB) upon arrival in the country. Travelers Checks can be used, but they are not as convenient as cash as most banks won’t accept them. Any cash should be in the form of new crisp bills from the bank. Worn bills in any form are often not accepted. In addition to this initial cash, we recommend that participants have access to an ATM card which can be used to withdraw from a US bank account during the remainder of the stay. It is also recommended to have a major credit card (VISA, MC) for emergencies.
  • Money Belt: The safest way to carry cash, passport, and other valuables is inside a waist money belt. It is strongly encouraged that each participant have a money belt during their time in China to avoid theft. Below is a link that shows the type of money belt we recommend. An adjustable waist strap money belt with zippered compartments is the best choice. Click Here to view the recommended money belt to select.
  • Gifts: It is common for teachers to bring small and simple gifts for their students. Some good ideas for such gifts are the following:
    • Rolls of new pennies from the bank
    • One cent stamps from the post office
    • Wallet size pictures of yourself to hand out at the end of the semester
  • First Aid Kit: Every teacher should prepare a first aid kit to be used in the event of minor injuries and ailments. The kit should at least include these basic items:
    • Bandaids (varying sizes)
    • Gauze
    • Medical adhesive tape
    • Neosporin (or some kind of triple antibacterial ointment)
    • Pepto-Bismol (for upset stomachs)
    • Cortisone Cream (some anti-itch cream for insects bites)
    • Nasal decongestant
    • Tylenol/Ibuprofen
    • Antiseptic hand cleaner
    • Tweezers
    • Thermometer
    • Cold compresses: one that can be kept in freezer and one instant
    • Basic first aid guide pamphlet

Stuff you cannot buy

  • Thick college ruled paper
  • Spiral notebooks
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums (antacids)
  • Tampons
  • Deodorants
  • Mouthwash
  • Dental Floss
  • Cortizone cream (for bug bites, etc.)
  • Good thick socks- some places
  • Good white board markers
  • Construction paper
  • Granola bars
  • Quality batteries (for digital cameras)