You can buy almost everything in China, but there are a few things that I would recommend every English Teacher to bring to China. So don’t forget to pack these five things before your journey to the East!
Key chains, magnets and candy that are only available in your home country make great gifts. You can use them for all kinds of purposes. They are great rewards for the best students in your class and are a perfect incentive for them to study well for a test. They also come in handy when you want to thank your Chinese language buddy for his patient help or when you want to give your Chinese teaching assistant a souvenir.
2. Decent Chopsticks Skills
Chinese use chopsticks daily, so it is nice when you can use them as well. Practice a little before you leave for China, or be prepared for very clumsy adventures and soy-sauce stained shirts. When you have just started using chopsticks, it may feel like a lifetime to finish a meal, but you will get the hang of it after a few times. And in the meantime, you might loose some weight.
Chinese kids love games. Hangman, Simon Says and Pictionary are real favourites. Most games can be played using no more than chalk and a blackboard. But a little ball, scrabble letters and card games like Memory or Uno are great teaching materials as well. Especially when tutoring or teaching smaller groups of students.
If you are a tall person and don’t want to look like a giant, it is smart to bring some extra clothes with you. You may want to consider bringing some extra shoes and shirts if you don’t like the ones with glitter and Disney characters all over the place. Although these kind of clothes really do enable you to blend in.
5. Basic Language Skills
It is not necessary to master the Chinese language before you travel to China to teach, but it does help a lot to get by in your daily life. If you can move like a chicken and draw a tomato, you are able to communicate with the guy selling noodles, but ordering food gets much easier if you have a basic understanding of the Chinese language. Chinese people will really appreciate it as well. And it also helps that you know what they will actually serve you.