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Before Traveling or Teaching in China

source:Teach in china time:2018-10-18 11:01:09 read:182

There are a number of things you should do before embarking on this next chapter of your life. Paperwork and documents aside, it's important to remember some other things which need taking care of when you're about to work overseas. Organisation and preparation are your best friends when transitioning to another country.

Remember, you're likely to be away from your home country for at least 10 months. We sometimes forget just how tied-in we are into our daily lives. We have cell phone contracts, rent, car payments, utility bills, and insurance polices. Active subscription fees range from magazines to cable channels. All these commitments need to be either suspended or cancelled before leaving your home country. It's important to make arrangements for your monthly bills to be catered for in your absence if not cancelled in full. Not only do you not want the economic burden but the sense of nagging concern about your mundane responsibilities back home should be lifted.

Cancel or Suspend Contracts
. Housing Rental Agreements
. Car Insurance
. TV subscriptions and license
. Gym membership
. Utility bills (gas, electric, water etc)

It's important to arrange direct debit for any financial commitments which require servicing in your absence or let a family member or friend assist you. Regarding your local bank and credit cards, it's essential you notify your bank if you wish to use your cards to withdraw money abroad. Having a good Mastercard or Visa card is recommended as it will allow you financial reassurance in any unlikely emergency. Credit cards are also important if you wish to further extend your travel into other countries in Asia. When we open your bank account, you will be issued a Union Pay card. Most worldwide ATMs now accept Union Pay however they are still sparsely located in some countries.

So your financial commitments need taking care of before you board the plane on the way to international jobs. But let's not forget your social commitments. You'll need to cancel your Tuesday yoga class and your Friday art lesson. It's always a good idea to hold a bon voyage party with close friends and family before you leave. It gives everyone a chance to tell you how important you are and just how much they're going to miss you! All this makes your new life in China become seemingly real... these little things help focus your mind.

Do you need to put belongings in storage?


Some of you may need to put your belongings into storage or keep them safe with friends and family. It's useful to keep an itemised list of what you're keeping with whom. It's always possible to raise funds by selling your unwanted items. Many would-be ESL/TEFL/TESOL/CELTA teachers raise their initial relocation costs by hawking their old CDs, books, clothing etc... or you could do the charitable thing! For the more mature amongst you, decisions about selling your car or property shouldn't be taken lightly.

Install WeChat – China's WhatsApp
You should already have downloaded Wechat app. Remember this is basically the Chinese WhatsApp and it pretty much runs the entire country. It's far more than a social media play-thing... you can even use it to pay and bank. As with the Alipay app which we also advise teachers to download in advance.

So why are you coming here?... to teach English in China, right? This is because, largely, the general level of English in mainland China is poor. We definitely recommend you start learning the Chinese language before you arrive, even if it's just basic numbers and greetings. chinesepod.com is very good and offers a free trail. Youtube is stocked full of useful videos to kickstart your learning. Also, join our Facebook page for regular updates and insights about life in China.

It's useful to try to reach out to the expat community before you arrive. For example, Hangzhou Expat on Facebook is very useful. Your social life is important, you can never have enough friends! If you require housing in the area we will also share and assist with estate agencies before you get here as well as facilitating contracts with landlords when you arrive. Do as much research as you like regarding the local area and even plan a little weekend trip for when you first get here.

Also refer to our What to Pack and Cultural Differences information. Researching food is a good idea and make sure you inform your Welfare Officer of any allergies you have so we can inform you of which dishes to avoid.

Tell your government tax agency you're leaving
It's advisable that you contact your government tax agency in your local country before you leave. Please check your legal responsibilities with the local authorities. HMRC in the United Kingdom has an online P85 form which can be filled out to register your intent to work abroad. It's sensible to do a little research to see how your student loan, health insurance, and pension may be affected. It's wise to leave a forwarding address to a family member for all important future postal correspondence.

Medical care in China is excellent. Remember you receive full medical care with us but some teachers often visit their doctor and dentist before they leave. You won't receive funded dental care in your contract so a quick check-up before you leave is advisable. Also ask your doctor for long-term prescriptions if you are taking regular medication. Officially prescription drugs brought into China must be accompanied by a letter from your doctor. Your local doctor or physician will have no problem supplying this.

You'll need a VPN when you get here
Finally, it's imperative you install a VPN before you enter China. This is a Virtual Private Network which will allow you to access censored websites like Facebook and Google whilst living in China. There are various VPNs available on the market at differing costs. The two most popular are Astrill and Express VPN. However these are the most expensive and there are cheaper and even FREE VPN options available. We update our Facebook page regularly with suggestions and reviews.

Ok...... nearly ready!! Next refer to our guide of What to Pack.

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