Below is a list of materials we recommend teachers obtain before leaving for China. The first listed, “Decoding China,” is an excellent resource to prepare you for living in the Chinese culture and navigating your new life. The others are great for traveling around China and speaking the language.
Decoding China: A Handbook for Traveling, Studying, and Working in Today’s China – by Matthew B. Christensen
This book is one of our favorite books to recommend for our teachers. It goes chapter by chapter explaining both cultural things as well as some language help. At the end of each chapter there is also a list of Chinese phrases that are relative to the topic of the chapter. Really a good and easy read. Check it out!
Lonely Planet China (Travel Guide) – Lonely Planet
Many of our teachers have relied heavily on this travel guide during their time in China. The book goes province by province telling of the major cities and sites to visit, while giving ideas and reviews of many destinations, restaurants, hotels, and much more. Make sure to get the newest version (14th Edition, May 2015).
China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power – By Rob Gifford
This book takes you on a journey with Rob Gifford (an NPR Corespondent) as he travels along China’s route 312 (comparable to Route 66 in the US). This book is a great read for those interesting in learning more about that China is going to be like, some of the history of the country, and how it has changed in the past few decades.