You’ve just spent a very long time on an airplane and arrived in China. Now what? If you’ve found a job teaching with a Top Notch ESL school, our team will have arranged for someone to pick you up from the airport and bring you to where you’ll be staying. If not, put on your walking shoes and good luck hitchhiking! Just kidding, we know you are more prepared than that. Being the savvy China traveler that you are, you will have already printed out your destination in Chinese to show to the tens of airport taxicabs waiting to escort you to where ever you’ll be calling home for the duration of your stay in China. You should have plenty of time during your time in China to get a real feel for the city if you’ve signed a one-year teaching agreement. Once you’ve unpacked and are over jetlag, there are so many things you’ll need to do and visit that you might not know where to start. Here’s some info to make your first week in China fabulous.
- Using the subway is often faster than finding a cab during rush hour. If you plan to stay in China more than 1 month, consider getting a transport card (Jiao Tong Ka in Chinese), which will save you from waiting in line to buy a ticket twice a day. Just this year, China started updating their transportation technology to allow you to pay with your phone at the turnstile, but for your first few months, a transport card will still be the easiest option.
- We’re sure you packed everything you needed for China, but if perchance, while a “friend” is unpacking, they realize they forgot something at home, the best shops to buy imported goods include Carrefour, Metro, Wal-mart, Sam’s Club, Cityshop, Jenny Lou’s, April Gourmet, and Tesco. You can also find pretty much anything you’d need online, but you may need the help of a Chinese friend to use the “Amazon” of China: Taobao.
- You must be hungry after all that unpacking and getting lost on the subway. Sit down and eat some delicious street food or pop into any restuarant that looks like it serves tasty food. Even if you can’t speak Chinese, most restuarants have a picture menu or you can just walk around and point at what other people are eating. Food in China is pretty cheap so don’t worry too much about how much each dish costs. Generally, you can get a great meal for less than $5. In the mornings, don’t forget to try a truly Chinese breakfast item!
- Anytime you feel like walking off your jetlag or a full stomach, don’t be afraid of going outside and wandering about. China is pretty safe and as long as you have your address in Chinese, you will always be able to hail a cab and get back home. If you don’t want to walk, you can download a bikesharing app, such as Mobike or Ofo, and easily bike anywhere in town. See our previous blog post about how popular bikesharing is in China now.
- After a full week of seeing the city at ground level, make sure to enjoy the night view of your city from up high. Most large cities in China have very high skyscrapers or mountains you can relax on top of. You can choose a free or expensive lofty view to have a drink and relax. Celebrate surviving your first week in China! Your adventure of a lifetime has just begun.