Here are a few things to consider as you make your final preparations for departure. We’ve based this on some frequently asked questions and our own experiences of living abroad. If we’re missing any key items, let us know! Most importantly, double check everything and let your recruiters know how they can make your journey to China easier.
Money – how much do you need to bring? How much do you exchange before you go?
The absolute minimum amount you should have is 15,000 RMB (about $2200 USD) to help get set up in China. This money is for getting settled and basic needs until you get your first paycheck. Note that in addition to this you will have the option of a salary advance to help with the start up costs of an apartment.
As for how much to exchange – that is somewhat subjective but my personal preference is to exchange around $400 USD so you have cash on hand when you arrive. You’ll get the best exchange rates typically at banks, but I will admit that I don’t do that in time so usually just exchange money at the airport before I go. Whatever you do, just make sure you have some cash before you depart so you will have some money when you arrive. The rest of it you can access as you need with your ATM card.
What will happen when I arrive in China?
About a week before you go you will get detailed information about your schedule after arrival. We do pick you up at the airport and take you to a hotel where you will stay until you find an apartment, which is most often less than a week. It’s easy and quick because we help with the entire process.
You’ll note that your contract does start the day you arrive but that is because all contracts all start the same day you enter the country. You do not have to work that day. The first few days we take care of a lot of paperwork, help you open a bank, and assist with all the business of settling in before you start work.
What if I have extra bags?
Your contract has an excess baggage fees option so you can have up to that amount reimbursed for your excess baggage fees or shipping fees if you prefer to send boxes. Typically it is cheaper to take the excess bags with you as shipping internationally is very expensive. Personally I prefer to just strip down to the checked baggage amount as I find it more cumbersome to move abroad with more than two checked bags, but the choice is yours if you want to take more.
When will I be reimbursed for my visa fees?
After you arrive in China and have your bank set up you can submit your receipts for reimbursement and it will be in your bank account typically about 10 days after your bank account is open and you submit everything.
When will I receive my first paycheck?
If you arrive within the first three weeks of the month, you will be paid by the 15th of the following month. For example, if you arrive on June 20, you will be paid for the period of June 20 – 30 by July 15.
The last bit of advice I have for you is to make sure you have a plan of when and how you will contact your family and friends when you arrive. You are off on a great adventure, but your parents might be concerned about you so be sure to email or call them after you arrive. Be sure that you have a means of communication that is not blocked in China. Facebook and gmail, for example, will not work without a VPN so we do suggest you have a backup email option.