- Things to take with you ... remembering you are to pack light!
PACKING: Try not to over pack! (You may stop laughing now!) We recommend the following that is in accordance with U.S. Airlines.
- One purse, or small backpack, or small computer case, or brief case. Only one of these.
- One carry-on sized bag (9x13x21) for clothing and personal items
- One large checked suitcase for teaching supplies and materials. Total dimensions 62 inches; total weight 50 pounds … strictly enforced. Overage is very expensive.
Rule of thumb is not to have more luggage than you can move by yourself. Although 2 checked bags are allowed by airlines for international flights, we STRONGLY URGE you to follow the above guidelines. Managing luggage is very difficult in China. Also be aware that if you must fly within China to get to your teaching site, you MAY have to pay for excess weight over 44 pounds for all bags checked. Cost is about $ 1.00 per pound for overweight.
Because of new security checkpoints at the airport, we recommend that you check your “carry-on” sized bag along with your large checked bag. That leaves you with only your purse, fanny pack or small backpack for carrying absolute essentials like prescription medications, extra glasses, a couple of Band-aids, passport, traveler’s checks, cash, driver's license, credit card, extra passport photos, arrival and contact instructions from VFC, and maybe a change of underwear. These are items you MUST have if your luggage is lost!
Liquids on plane in USA: You are allowed one quart-sized Ziploc-type bag containing bottles of 3 ounces or less of liquids to be carried on the plane. You may take an empty water bottle through security and fill it on board the plane. Be sure to check TSA for any changes of rules for carry-on items by visiting www.tsa.gov,
CLOTHING: If it doesn't fit into a carry-on size suitcase, then you have too many clothes. Four or five outfits are enough, we promise you! Mix and match. We are so rich compared to our students; we don't need to show them how rich. We are not there to make a fashion statement. There are laundries available at our site; use them at your own expense, which will be inexpensive. You may wash your clothes by hand in a sink. Chinese White Cat detergent is wonderful!
- Be prepared for very hot and humid weather. Light clothing that dries quickly is nice.
- A light nylon jacket can be useful when it rains.
- One does not normally teach in tank-tops, shorts, low-cut tops or sun dresses Do not bring these clothing items.
- Suggested dress for teaching: Women: simple dresses, jumpers, slacks, or skirts w/ blouses or knit shirt tops. Nothing sleeveless. Men: Long pants (khakis) and short sleeve shirts.
- Outside of the classroom, t-shirts and Bermuda-type shorts are OK.
- NO CLOTHING THAT REVEALS BARE MIDRIFF SKIN.
- Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes are recommended, like sandals & athletic shoes.
- There is no need for specialty clothing, i.e., Sunday dress or suit, or dress shoes.
- Take only simple, inexpensive jewelry. As little as possible.
NOTE: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING THAT IS IRREPLACEABLE.
PERSONAL ITEMS to take as desired: There is no need to take washcloths, towels, laundry powder, or soap unless you absolutely must have your special brand.
- Toiletry/personal items (You can get most kinds of goods in China, but they may not be your exact brand, size, or flavor. Three items not easily found are deodorant, after-shave lotion, and tampons.)
- Pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen), mosquito repellant, diarrhea/constipation medications, basic first-aid kit (bandaids, itch ointment, sterile eye drops, general antibiotic), wet wipes / antibacterial waterless hand cleanser – as desired.
- Shower shoes (flip flops can be purchased in China).
- Print film easily found in China; Slide film not easily found; disposable cameras cannot easily be developed in China.
- Bible, devotional materials, and music tapes, for yourself.
** The starred items below and anything else that you can not live without should be on your body or in your purse or small backpack as you travel … NOT in any checked luggage.
- Prescription medications and vitamins that you must have **
- Driver's license **
- Copy of passport photo page and extra photo **
(If your passport is lost or stolen, you will need
your driver's license, passport copy and extra photos
in order to get a new passport. It will cost you about
$300.00 to replace your passport and the Chinese Visa.
There will be additional costs for traveling to the
U.S. Embassy, staying in a hotel, and paying the Chinese bureau to
re-issue the visa.)
- E-ticket receipt (get at check-in) or paper airline tickets **
- Traveler's Checks and cash **
- Insurance card which we will send you before departure **
CLASSROOM/TEACHING: Chinese teachers are given a box of poor quality chalk and a blackboard for teaching. You will receive the same! If you find you need them, common office supplies (paper, tape, markers, paper clips, stapler, etc.) are easily found in China.
Below are the supplies not so easily found. Bring them only if you feel you will need them:
- Putty, masking tape, blue painter's tape for mounting pictures, maps, etc. on walls
- Index cards (large ones for making standing student name plates)
- Construction paper
- Glue stick (Chinese postal stamps often have no glue, but glue is
available at the post office)
Below are possible teaching resources you might wish to incorporate into your lessons. Do not bring them unless you have planned a lesson that uses them—avoid excess luggage! It is also advised that you coordinate these resources with your teammates to avoid duplication:
- Play money (bills and coins)
- Colorful ads (grocery, K-Mart, auto dealerships, etc) from newspapers or stores
- Large U.S. & your State maps
- Holiday decorations (lightweight) for Christmas, Easter, Valentine's, Thanksgiving, etc.
- Birthday cards, banner, candles, wedding decorations & supplies, bridal magazines or thin catalogs
- Games (UNO, Bingo, Scrabble) – over and above those needed as gifts for the students.
- Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving cards (used), do not tear off back
***These items plus other small items such as lapel pins, balloons, colorful pens, bookmarks to be used as game prizes, etc for students (but only if these are your teaching style and in your teaching plans!) or given away as gifts.
- Small U.S. flags (cloth) ***
- State postcards ***
- Used U.S. postage stamps (some are avid collectors) ***
- Personal business-type cards w/name, address with "USA"
after the zip code, email address ***
You can easily and cheaply have these printed in China. (Every student will want your name, address, etc.)
- OTHER VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Set of real coins (one set per student) - penny, nickel, dime, quarter. Makes a nice Christmas gift. Entire team should make a decision on doing this for all students!
PICTURES: From old calendars or magazines or 8.5x11 enlargements of personal photos. These may be used in dozens of ways in your lessons. Pictures of people, places, and things should relate to the lesson topics that include the following. Once more, plan lessons ahead of time and communicate with teammates to avoid unnecessary luggage and duplication. Pack them only if you plan to use them.
|* Your family and friends-not originals
* Your hometown and local area
* Typical clothing (wide range)
* American heroes & famous persons
* Weddings (yours or others)
|* Typical hobbies, recreational activities and
* Schools, hospitals, fire station, grocery store, church, etc.
* Holidays and holiday activities (especially Christmas and Easter)
* Typical foods, meals, menus from local restaurants with pictures
* Your life story (baby and childhood)-not originals
You obviously can't take a full set of pictures of each of these things, but a few well selected ones will go a long way in supplementing your lessons.NOTE: Plan on leaving your teaching materials with your teacher-students as gifts. The above is not an exhaustive list. It is a suggested compilation from recent previous teachers.
CLASSROOM READING TABLE: It is highly recommended that each classroom have a reading table where books, magazines, etc. can be checked out and returned during the summer course. No overt Christian materials should be used, i.e., No Sunday School quarterlies or devotion books. Allowed are Readers Digests, Guideposts, easy English copies of American classics, TIME for Kids, a bilingual New Testament (printed and purchased in China through Amity Foundation or from the local church upon your arrival). Reading materials should have a moral lesson or tradition of America. All reading materials can be given away to those who ask for them at the end of the course.
FOR THE PALATE: Chips Ahoy, Oreos, M&Ms, Snickers & Mars candy bars, Tang drink mix, gum, Ritz Crackers are available in China. If you have a special "must-have" snack food, i.e., Power bars, granola, dried soup, then pack it. Yet, you can probably find enough snack foods to sustain you without bringing so much with you.
CHINA TOUR BOOK: There are many choices at Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, etc. From past experiences the one that stands out is Lonely Planet China. It has more information about more places than any book we have used. No need to take it with you. Of course, the internet and local library are good resources. Learn as much as you can before going to China.
VOLUNTEER TRAVEL INSURANCE: Each volunteer will be enrolled in a supplemental international travel insurance specifically designed for volunteers that provides comprehensive travel assistance while traveling overseas. You and the entire group will automatically be enrolled. The insurance cost is covered in your total trip cost.
SHOTS/IMMUNIZATIONS: It is recommended that you talk with your local County Health Department or personal physician about any shots and/or immunizations you should have for this China trip. From past experiences, it is very probable that you will be directed to update your tetanus/DPT/pertussis , typhoid, polio booster, hepatitis (vaccines for long term protection or gamma globulin for short term resistance). Ask about your need for the pneumonia shot, shingles and/or the meningitis immunizations. You may want to visit the Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site below.
TRAVELERS CHECKS, CASH, CREDIT CARDS: How much money should you take to China? It depends on you. This is a three to six week trip and only you know your own spending habits! A good guess is 3 hundred dollars in Travelers Checks, and 1 to 2 hundred dollars in cash. Credit cards and cash cards like VISA and Master Card can be used in Beijing sometimes. ATMs in China may or may not work, and have been known to keep your card! We do not know the service fee. Take only one card so as not to worry about them. Doctor and hospital visits are on a pay as you go basis, cash! Insurance will refund some things after you file your claim form. Think of this trip as no different from your going on a tour trip of three or five weeks anywhere. You would not leave home without emergency cash.
FREQUENT FLYER ENROLLMENT: If you are not enrolled in the Frequent Flyer Program for the U.S. airlines you are flying, then call their tollfree phone number or go to the airline web site and enroll. You will get an ID number and card. As soon as you receive your number, call the airline and ask them to enter it into your flight record or go online and do it yourself. ALSO WHEN YOU CHECK IN, ASK FOR A RECEIPT COPY OF YOUR FLIGHT. IT'S GOOD TO HAVE IT WITH YOU. E-tickets have been known to get lost in cyberspace! Give the number to the agent when you check in for the first flight of this trip to China. Why have a frequent flyer number? It's good stewardship! You will get about 16,000 miles for the round trip flight to China. It only takes 25,000 miles for a free domestic ticket on most airlines. You can give the ticket away or use it.
TOASTING AND RELATED ISSUES:
You as honored guests from the USA will be treated to some official dinners and banquets as a way of showing appreciation for your coming to help Chinese teachers/students improve their oral English. During the banquet, it is traditional for the Chinese hosts to offer toasts throughout the meal. There is a whole toasting culture! You should reciprocate by toasting about the quality of the food, the excellent accommodations, the kindnesses shown to you and the team, etc. The "sticky" toasting concern is that the Chinese will often use alcohol for toasting and will encourage you to do the same. Don't start! Once started, it is very, very hard to control.
Many of us have differing opinions about the moderate use of alcohol. Some condone it as a personal choice; others think it is absolutely wrong. Both groups use scripture to justify their positions. We are not trying to change your opinions on the issue. We are asking that you not be a stumbling block to your fellow team members. The use of alcohol during toasting situations has caused much ill will between members of a team, and such tension can easily be sensed by the Chinese school leaders. This is counterproductive in that we are to be models of Christ. Because of this we are asking that during this assignment you refrain from the use of alcohol. You will be asked to sign a responsibility statement stating that you will abstain from alcohol and smoking while on this trip.
Toasting with Coke, Sprite, water, tea, etc., instead of alcohol is acceptable to your Chinese hosts though they will often insist that you use alcohol (they do not consider beer to be alcohol!). Be firm, but kind. You can simply state that it is not your custom or it is not good for you or you made a commitment to not drink alcohol during the project. Your team facilitator can head off problems by talking with your school contact before every official dinner and ask that the team members not be served alcohol.
DO NOT PANIC! It is natural to want to know every detail yesterday. That is just not possible. Any schedule plans we make here can easily be changed by our host schools when we arrive and even before. When you use the Tool Kit, you will see how easy it is to plan lessons. Begin gathering materials as suggested in Part I of this document.
FLEXIBILITY is the operative word for this project! Remember this beatitude:
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!"
Have we mentioned that you need to be flexible? Satan is very crafty. He will attack us at our weakest points. Praying is what you need to do. It’s what all of us need to do now.
• Pray for your Christian witness while in China.
• Pray for each of the teachers and students going to China.
• Pray for the students who should come to this English training.
• Pray for those who will actually come.
• Pray for yourself and your fellow volunteers.
• Pray for the leaders of the different programs where we will serve.