There is a Chinese proverb that states, “pearls do not lie on the seashore. If you desire one you must dive in for it.” At CSA we want to make your dive a safe one. Any learning experience requires being open to new possibilities. Learning while abroad is both exciting and rewarding, but it comes with inherent risk. CSA can help you reduce that risk while still enjoying the ride. Review these practical safety tips before you travel and stay secure with CSA.
- Make a plan of how you will keep in touch with friends and family members. Some websites and social media that your friends have back home is unavailable in China, so plan ahead. Keeping in touch with people back home is key, but do not let homesickness keep you from experiencing China.
- Make sure to leave copies of your passport and itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. This will be invaluable in the event your identification is lost or stolen.
- Apply for your visa and make sure to keep it in a secure before departure.
- As the second largest country in the world, China has a variety of climates. Keep this in mind when packing, so that if you are traveling to Dalian you remember your jacket and if you are going to Kunming you have your sunglasses and shorts.
- Check your overseas medical insurance to confirm what circumstances you have coverage. Ensure it at least has medical, evacuation, and trip cancellation coverage.
While in China
- While CSA picks up each student at the airport when they arrive and drops them off at the end of their trip, it is still useful to cover taxi tips. It is advised that you pay attention to the certificate and license of the taxi. For instance, alll legitimate taxis in Beijing all have a plate that starts with “京 B”.
- Take a card or note with the address of where you are staying and where you are going. This will allow you to point to the word should your new found Mandarin skills fail you.
- Take particular care when crossing streets and intersections as traffic in metropolitan areas can be tricky (and sometimes dangerous) to navigate.
- On the average China is a very safe place and violent crime against foreigners is very rare. With that said, it is always good advice to be aware of your surroundings. While outright theft is relatively uncommon, tourist or “laowai” scams are not hard to find - read up on the different scams to prepare yourself.
- Do not get to upset if people crowd push and shove on their way into a subway car or “steal” your taxi. It is just different rules of etiquette (or lack thereof) and should not be taken as a personal offense. Let go of your personal space because it is no longer yours.
- Read all that you can on Chinese etiquette and customs. While some behaviors may not make much sense to you there is usually a reason for the unexpected response. Make time to read about the historical foundations of Chinese etiquette and your experience will be much richer.
- If you get frustrated while in China or have trouble adjusting remember that this is part of the experience you were looking for. Your decision to challenge yourself was not a mistake and you will be stronger for it.
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