So I kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really know what I’m doing-finally! But not really.
I have realized that I brought at least a half of a suitcase of things I don’t need. Shocker. But I’d like to take a second to release a piece before everyone packs up and heads out here to study abroad.
Vanessa’s Cheat Sheet For China.
Things that are non-negotiable.
– Multiple pairs of high quality shoes
– Any medication that you take regularly
– A VPN program ALREADY installed to your computer (try VPN Ninja!)
– A large hallow backpack (invest in a rucksack!)
– Mini Mandarin book you can keep in your pocket/bra.
– Sense of Adventure
Let’s start at the beginning…
– I spend nearly all day on my feet while wandering the streets of Beijing! Therefore, having a solid pair of shoes is CRITICAL! But keep in mind that the Beijing weather is as moody as some of my ex-boyfriends. Sometimes it is 80 and perfect outside… most of the time it’s not. There’s hot rainy days. Humid cloudy ones. Snow. Sleet. And everything in between. Bring a pair for each element essentially. Ladies: only bring ONE pair of nice heels… While I have yet to even use mine, most girls here use platforms because the roads are old and difficult to walk down in stilettos… another shocker, I’m sure.
– Duh. There’s medication here, but you don’t want to have to worry about that until you’ve been here for a while.
– A VPN allows you to slip through the Great Fire Wall of China so you can connect to the real world. I ended up blowing $50 bucks of data on my American iPhone because I needed to hot spot my computer just to download the program! The Chinese internet deliberately blocks these types of sites in Beijing… ANOTHER SHOCKER!
– All of the ex-pats here do a ton of traveling! I was asked to backpack Inner Mongolia this weekend haha. For that reason, you need to get a strong and durable hallow backpack that you can pack the essentials in. I bought mine at GoRuck.com (see “Go Ruck Yourself” article) and it even has a little compartment for my laptop AND water supply.
MINI MANDARIN BOOK
– A girl’s bra is filled with many things… in mine, you can find my favorite Lonely Planet mini Mandarin book! I whip it out on the street, at the store, at the club. #YOLO. But in all seriousness, data roaming is mad expensive. It’s better if you have something physical that you can whip out at strangers or friends alike whenever you want. PS: no one speaks English here. Like at all. I’m learning Mandarin because I want to eat. The struggle is real.
SENSE OF ADVENTURE
– Before moving to China, you need to come to terms with being afraid, alone, and lost-constantly. My first 24 hours in Beijing, I was lost (at night) for two hours. I didn’t have my mini Mandarin book in my bra so I was screwed. Get comfortable with being confused and frustrated with yourself and your environment. Because it gets better.
Everything always does.