before a move to China…

In a few days, I’ll be headed back to Beijing once again and during my time in Boston I had an interesting conversation with ID (Industrial Design) friend @jomiz80. Reflecting on my 1st 4 months in Beijing, it was actually a great experience, even with the handful of negative encounters. Surprisingly, this was the first in-depth conversation I had about my trip/ stay in Beijing with many questions resolved, along with many more to ponder. Thank you, Jonathan!

And as I’m preparing for my return to Beijing here’s a list of a few things that anyone should know or want to address prior to a move there of their own:

  • Internet access beyond the Great Firewall- aka GFW. Purchase a VPN (I’m currently using 12VPN, for the Mac and iPhone) or setup an SSH (directions on Lifehacker).
  • A dictionary with handwriting recognition for learning or translating Chinese. The iPhone has been great, with (free) applications like Pleco and KTdict.
  • Stock up. Ladies, in particular, make sure you have your supply of skin or hair care products from Duty Free or the US (or anywhere else that’s not China). With all the news and rumors of fake products being made or repackaged in China, I’ve been told on more than one occasion that it’s better to be safe than sorry in the long run.
  • If you’re not from Boston, or used to the cold weather, be prepared for cold, dry winter weather!
  • One more thing upon arrival: careful of the tap water. Just like anywhere else, be careful of drinking the tap water since our bodies aren’t used to the foreign water. I’ve been afraid to drink tap and have only purchased bottled water, but locals seem to be fine… although, I’ve been just fine with eating the streetfood! (knock on wood…)

I’m sure I may have missed a few things… Please feel free to leave some comments and suggestions of your own. Anyone else have other tips from experience? :)


3 thoughts on “before a move to China…

  1. Thanks for the mention Tiffany! Those were great follow-ups to those questions.

    Here are some other ones that I’ve thought of since we last talked:

    * Cellphone: *
    What types of cellphones work in China? GSM phones, CDMA phones? What’s a typical rate for an internet cellphone plan with some minutes?

    * Banks: *
    How do you get cash? Smuggle a brick of loot and hide it in your mattress? Did you open an account there? Credit, or is cash king and carry a wad of money everywhere?

    * Education Schedule: *
    What sort of semester or quarter system is the higher education system there in? Sept-Dec for Fall, Jan-April for Winter, and May-Aug for Summer? That would be tri’s, I guess.

    Hope that’s not too many questions. Enjoy your adventures in China!

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