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Teaching English in Qingdao

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by palaeolithic2005, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

    Want to take as little as possible with me - what is crucial to pack for a Western someone who will be living in a provided flat in the city of Qingdao ? (I read somewhere that bringing a good router is quite essential - any suggestions regarding which one? also, which provider allows you to facebook and internet with a minimum of censorship - is it possible to download torrents?) Should I bring heavy winter stuff (jackets and boots, mittens and scarves). Also, want to bring as much as possible teaching material - is just a pendrive a good idea? should I bring my printer? Is anyone banking with HSBC in Qingdao? - is this straight forward, i.e. open a personal current account and that's it? Opening an account with HSBC - does this mean I can just transfer my saved money over to an HSBC account in the UK? (or is it much better just to withdraw the cash and take home to deposit as I read some expats do?) Has anyone had good experiences with dentists, GPs, vets in Qingdao that they are willing to recommend? Where do you buy the bulk of your groceries in general and how much would you say one could count on spending for one per month? I know local expats will be a great source of information (and inspiration) but don't want to wait until I urgently need a dentist or vet before knowing where I could go... Any other useful tips for someone from the UK are greatly welcome!
  2. damedurohan

    damedurohan New commenter

    There is no "minimum of censorship" when it comes to the Great Firewall. You will have zero access to Facebook (and more!) from China, unless you pay for a VPN. Which you should do, if you want to keep in touch with people outside of the country and if you indeed want to download torrents (but torrents should always be downloaded with a VPN anyway).
    palaeolithic2005 likes this.
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Perhaps, palaeolithic2005, you might find it helpful to read my blog, bulgariawithnoodles.blogspot.com Yes, some of it is about Bulgaria, but quite a lot of it is about living and teaching in China.
    palaeolithic2005 likes this.
  4. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Where have you been living for the last ten years or so, most of the things you mention in your rather long list; router, winter jacket, printer, etc. etc. is Made in China, and cheaply and easily available?

    As the 'legendary Hippo' rightly says, Facebook and Google are just two of the websites banned in China and the only way round it is to use a vpn, astrill or express are the two best ones imo.

    If you are going to a reputable 'international' school, the HR department will open the bank account for you, and HSBC has no special relationship, they have to obey al the rules on money transfers the same as all the other banks, which is simple but time consuming. Unless you are being paid in GBP which is, I am fairly sure, illegal or at best highly unlikely and you will not be able to take RMB out of the country to deposit in your bank account as it is not a transferable currency??? Even though HSBC claims to be; 'the world's local bank,' they do not have reciprocal arrangements with their various national entities.

    You can buy a pendrive of 128Gb or more so what teaching materials are you thinking of bringing that would be more than that??

    I have no direct experience of Qingdao but I assume you will buy your fruit, veg, meat and fish at your local wet market, and your groceries at the local supermarket.

    Dentists and Vets should not be a problem either, if you are living in an expat area, (very likely) they will be local and if not then your HR department and your local colleagues will be able to help you

    Some very strange questions in this post??? Whilst Qingdao is not a first tier city its not the boonies!!!!
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  5. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

  6. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

    The problem with many products made in China is that they are either of very poor quality or very expensive - I read it is better to take whatever gadgets one might need from home - I wish to find out whether one router was recommended above others for use in China.

    In regards to clothes, I have a very big shoe size that I know is not very well catered for in China, and take Large or x-tra Large in clothes, therefor if heavy winter clothes are necessary I'd have to pack my own.

    HSBC will transfer money between accounts, however, I guess I'll have to visit their branch to find out the details once there.

    Thank you for your advice on the VPNs.

    I have tons of audio-visual teaching material though what I was thinking of was of any particular type of material not easily available in China (due to internet restrictions mainly).

    The items I was thinking of in regards to buying in bulk, which might not be widely available in China are vitamin supplements (readily available here in any supermarket), and toiletries: these are items I could bring with me if I'm told they are not readily available in general (I am a vegan and need basic daily supplements).

    Makhnovite, you need to trust people have their reasons for posing certain questions and trying to find out certain information.
  7. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

  8. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

    Thank you kindly hippo, I will!
  9. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

  10. palaeolithic2005

    palaeolithic2005 New commenter

    Thank you for confirming this; I'm trying to sort out as much as possible beforehand as I start teaching as soon as I arrive and will need to concentrate of that.
  11. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Money laundering rules are strict in China. In order to transfer money out of the country you must have copies of payslips and the corresponding tax certificates (as well as contract and passport). It doesn't matter who you bank with, there are no ways around that.

    Your Chinese bank card (UnionPay) will work in Barclays cash machines in the UK, so you can withdraw cash in the UK as well - 1,000 pounds per day I think is the limit.

    Your school's health insurance will have preferred doctors and dentists in Qingdao. Ask your HR to give you the list in advance.
  12. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    I use one of these purchased outside of China, cheaper Asus routers are available but I use this one to run my home network and share my VPN. In china you have to avoid the made for China models as they are poor quality compared to the ones I buy in Europe, they just use cheaper chip sets.


    I then have asusmerlin firmware installed that allows a plugin for Astrill.



    If you want to use BBC iPlayer you will need to pay for a private IP address in the UK at an extra 5USD/month.

    I simple way to use facebook is to use a web browser called EPIC as it has a built in vpn and also blocks adds and trackers. Its based on the Chrome browser but made more secure.

    There is no real problem downloading what you want as long as its not breaking any sensitive subjects, its easier than the UK.
  13. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    My school had a networked VPN that all of the teachers could access through the computers in their classrooms. The Chinese have a saying, "One eye open and one eye closed" and in many ways this applies to the Internet.

    This overweight old hippo has already written about banking arrangements in China, so I really do not want to repeat myself yet again. In a nutshell, blueskydreaming is spot on. YES, you can transfer money from China to your bank account in the UK or wherever. It just takes time, bits of paper and a lot of patience. And then some more.

    Friends of mine in the UK say that there still is a NHS and it actually works, some of the time. During our five years in Shenzhen, we had a few health problems and I must say that we were very impressed with the health care we received.

    Do not mention the subject of buying shoes in China to Mrs Hippopotamus. Finding (and buying) decent footwear: it is a nightmare. The quality is dreadful (lots of nasty plastic) and the chances are that they won't have your size. Yes, sometimes you can imported shoes and then guess what? They will cost twice what would you pay for them in the UK.

    Now I would like to write about a wonderful pleasure that is outrageously expensive in the UK, but actually quite affordable in China: made-to-measure clothes. Have a chat with your new colleagues and they will tell you where to find a good tailor. For those of us of a larger frame, this is not just the best option. It might be the ONLY option!
  14. mermy

    mermy Occasional commenter

    I echo hippo - Find a good tailor in China. I love my lady that I found and without her I'd walk around naked. Well, not naked, but I simply cannot get anything here for my let's say generous chest size. I give her a picture of a style of dress, choose a fabric / pattern from the many options she has and she will have a perfectly fitting dress ready for me within a week. And my cashmere coat which she made me is the best fitting coat I've ever owned and at a fraction of the price I would have paid in shops.
  15. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Sorry Paleo, just pointing out a few inconsistencies in your post; i.e. 'want to take as little as possible,' followed by a list as long as your arm!

    As for; 'you need to trust people have their reasons for posing certain questions and trying to find out certain information.' that doesn't apply when the questioner seems to be claiming a certain amount of prior knowledge that is clearly incorrect!

    And maybe its just that after 10 years in China I get a bit fed up with people thinking its the back of beyond. As I said, most of the goods that you buy in the UK, good quality as well as poor quality, and cheap as well as dear will have been made in China, you just have to be careful where you shop the same as anywhere.

    Most of your queries and your replies to my first post are the sort of things that may have been true ten or fifteen years ago - but not anymore, not even in Qingdao, as you will find out if and when you arrive. Good Luck.
  16. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    There is, however, one thing that you will not have to bring with you to Qingdao, palaeolithic2005: beer! Of course, these days the bottles are still called "Tsingtao" and very good it is too. I enjoyed many bottles of this beer during our time in the Middle Kingdom, usually with some dumplings. Mrs Hippopotamus said that dumplings should be boiled, but really they are best when they are boiled and then fried. This makes the pastry brown and crunchy (and my tummy even bigger).

    Do NOT try to drink baijo. It is the most disgusting alcoholic drink ever invented. Wealthy Chinese parents may give you a very expensive-looking bottle of this fiery liquid as a present for teaching their little darlings. While we are on the subject of booze, perhaps I should mention that China is not a country for wine-lovers. The local plonk is horrible and the good French stuff is way overpriced. The cheapie French wine is ghastly. Australian vino is your best bet. Another problem is that good white wine can be hard to find, as the Chinese are crazy about red and have not really discovered the pleasures of white wine yet.

    Yes, I would echo makhovite's comments about the quality of goods in China. You can buy well-made things that will last a long time, but usually you need to pay more and make a bit of an effort to find them.

    Oh, and how is your Mandarin coming along, palaeothic2005? As a starter, I would recommend DK's Easy Peasy Chinese and a very good website called uTalk.

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