Erica Fairchild

International teacher recruiters, Harris Green and Ronald Chan give us a brief overview on what to pack for moving abroad and starting your new life with EF China.

Read on, or watch the video below and gain more insight into living and working abroad. Make sure you subscribe to the EF's YouTube channel so that you can stay up to date with any changes, as well as learn more about living and working in China.

1. Clothing

Consider where in China you'll be moving to, and pack accordingly. For example, if you're up north in Beijing, coats and thermals are essential while in Shenzhen, you can get away with a light jacket, and even buy it in China if you need to save space in your luggage. Consider the weight limit on the airline that you're flying with and pack only what you absolutely need.

If you're going to a Kids and Teens school, you'll be given short sleeved and long sleeved navy blue polos when you arrive in China. But make sure you have khaki pants (skirts are okay for the ladies) for your bottoms. If you're going to an Adults center, be sure to bring business casual clothes – similar to what Harris and Ronal are wearing in the video.

A side note for shoes; please bring comfortable, black shoes for the Kids and Teens classroom. Additionally, if you have big feet (size USA 10+), we'd advise you to bring your own shoes as finding bigger footwear is tough in China.

2. Toiletries

Many toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrushes, makeup remover, and cotton balls - you can purchase here in China. We suggest brining a few things to get you going in your first couple of months; but don't bring a pharmacy! We do suggest you bring your own cosmetics, for example – foundation – especially if you have a darker skin shade. There are cosmetic stores like MAC and Sephora here, but many will not carry darker foundation shades. Additionally, roll on deodorant isn't easily found (you'll mostly find spray deodorant in stock), so if there is a specific brand you're loyal to

3. Electronics

Don't forget, you'll be living in a different country that has different sockets and wattage. That means you'll have to use an adaptor for most of your electronics. EF will provide you with an adaptor in your welcome bag / EF starter pack. It's also a good idea to purchase a couple extra adaptors for home convenience.

Something important to keep in mind is that you unlock your Smart Phone and find out how to use your mobile abroad. You'll need to put a local Chinese SIM card in your unlocked phone, which EF will provide when you arrive. Please also make sure to download a VPN (virtual private network) prior to your arrival in China to keep in touch with friends and family back at home via social media. One example of a VPN brand that many EF staff use ExpressVPN, which is a paid subscription.

4. Medicine

There are a few international brands of medicine that you can purchase over the counter at any pharmacy (i.e. Tylenol). However, if you have a specific prescription that you take, talk to your doctor before arriving in China to see what your options are to bring medication over from your home country.

Birth control is available in China, but again, if you're more comfortable with a certain brand, please speak to your doctor prior to your arrival. Vaccinations are not a visa requirement to come to China, but if you want to get vaccinations for when you travel to other countries while you're in Asia, we recommend you do some research online.

If you're a glasses or contact lenses wearer, you can bring a copy of your prescription in case you need to replace your glasses or refill your lenses. Luckily, optometrists have offices all around China and especially in larger malls, and purchasing refills won't break the bank. It's not a problem to get tested again, and buy all of your eye needs abroad!


If there's one thing you can take away from this article, please bring everything that you submitted to the visa documentation! All of the originals of your documents like your university degree is necessary to have upon your arrival in China.

6. Cash

We recommend having 2,500-3,000 CNY (about 350 – 430 USD) cash on hand. You'll use this in your first month to pay for the deposit upfront at the hotel during your two-week stay. Also, you'll need cash for your meals and generally getting set up in China. Make sure to let your bank know that you're travelling and going to be abroad for the next year so they are alerted if you use your credit/debit card overseas.

7. Home comforts

Lastly, we recommend that you bring something small that reminds you of home. For recruiter Ronald, he brought his special running shoes that he trained with in the UK. And for recruiter Harris, he enjoys reading on his Kovo Reader, which actually serves as a reminder of home, as well a form of entertainment during train trips on his days off.

Apply to Teach NOW

It takes less than five minutes
to change your life.

Related Articles