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Coming to Guangzhou

How do I arrange my flight?

Arranging your flight can be a hassle as you look for the best deals and the cheapest prices. If you're flying from Canada, flights can be arranged from Vancouver to Hong Kong to Guangzhou. There are some flights that are direct from Vancouver to Guangzhou but you need to look out for these promotions. Some people may find it more convenient to travel from Toronto to Hong Kong, which is also an option similarly to finding flights from Vancouver. Coming from America our trainees take connecting flights from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Guangzhou. Other connecting countries that have good flight prices are Korea and Japan.

Which vaccinations do I need?

While no vaccinations are required for a trip to China, it is recommended that you see your physician and preferably a doctor at a travel medicine clinic at least 4-6 weeks before you are scheduled to depart. There are some recommended vaccines and it's important that you take the necessary precautions and be up-to-date on your routine vaccines.

What should I bring?

A selection of good English books is available in Guangzhou. You can find several English newspapers and magazines here: South China Morning Post, China Daily, That's Guangzhou, Times, Fortune. Novels are even more difficult to find here in Guangzhou. Most of the expatriates tend to go to Hong Kong for English books.

Most baby needs are catered for. Sterilizing products and a wide range of powdered milk formulas are available. Imported baby food is sold in some imported food groceries. In Guangzhou, there are several wholesale markets where you can find babies' diapers, towels, strollers and other kinds of babies' products. Children of all ages will settle more quickly and easily if they bring some personal items with them. You can contact Guangzhou's international woman's club to get more information from similar experienced mums: www.gwic.org.

Children and Adolescents
Supplies for all children are now easily obtainable. There is a good range of clothing, toys/games, sport shoes, sportswear and equipment. Sports offered by the various international schools may differ from those your children are familiar with.

Electronic appliances
Electrical current in Guangzhou is 220 VAC, 50-60MHz electrical supply. Televisions operate on the PAL system. Though transformers are available for the conversion of voltage, it can put a lot of strain on electric motors, especially on smaller appliances such as hair dryers and can openers. One exception to this would be most computer systems purchased in the US. Most computers, especially the new ones, have dual voltage as their standard equipment. You will want to check both your computer and monitor for dual-voltage capabilities. Before plugging them in, you will also want to make sure that your voltage selector is on the 220V selection. Electrical appliances are relatively inexpensive and it is recommended to buy appliances in Guangzhou. The same goes for music systems, DVDs, VCRs, and computer sets, which are all reasonably priced.

If you are taking medicine regularly, it is advisable to bring at least a six-month supply at first in the event that your brand is not available. A general practitioner in Guangzhou would be able to assist in sourcing a local equivalent that is often registered under a different name but manufactured by the same pharmaceutical company.

Western brands of groceries are available in Guangzhou. International brand wine and spirits are also available but may be more expensive than in your home country. Most of the major department stores have a food section or floor, which carry foreign and local products. The Chinese supermarkets carry a large variety of items used by Westerners' usually at a much cheaper price.

The weather in Guangzhou is hot and humid for most of the year. During the summer months, due to the heat and humidity, natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silks and blends thereof seem to be the most comfortable. The temperature in winter drops below ten degrees, normally during the months of December, January and February. Layered clothing, shawls, cardigans and lightweight jackets come in very handy to stay warm in the buildings, restaurants, shopping malls or public transport that have supercharged air conditioning systems. Although Western clothing is readily available, the selection of maternity clothes, larger size clothing and underwear may be limited.

For men, lightweight suits and ties are generally worn year round in a business environment. Eveningwear ranges from smart-casual to more formal attire.

Asia is renowned for its many tailors who can custom make clothing for all occasions and within a short period of time. It is best to ask friends and colleagues for recommendations as the quality and prices vary to a large extent.
Although many shoes available around the world are made in China, shoes large enough for Western feet, for both men and women, can be difficult to find, especially on the width of the shoe. It is recommended to bring a few extra pairs from your home country.

It can be difficult to buy some brands of cosmetics that you may be used to and shades may not be suited to your skin tone if you are not Asian. If you have favorites, It's better to pack a supply to start off. Imported international brands are available. There are also locally produced cosmetics in Guangzhou that are inexpensive.

Home ware / Kitchenware
You can find most of the home ware and kitchenware in the big supermarkets in Guangzhou. There is also a wholesale market for home ware and kitchenware. Some imported brands are also available in this market. It's difficult to find a good oven in Guangzhou.

A variety of good quality, locally made bedding and towels is available but imported brands can be expensive. Most local beds are standard double beds. The single bed is 112 x 195 cm, the double bed is sized at 185 x 200 cm. There is a big fabric market where you can find all kinds of fabrics and order your tailor made clothes, tablecloth, curtains or beddings.

Musical Instruments
Bring your own as buying and hiring is expensive. The resale value for pianos is quite good. They should be fitted with strip heaters to combat humidity. Guitars and electronic organs are popular and parts are easily obtained. Bring sheet music with you.

Music and Videos
International music tastes are catered for in the many department stores and music shops. Cheap cassettes, CDs and DVDs are often available on the street but the quality varies. Video rental outlets are not very common in the city. A DVD usually costs between 10 to 20 RMB. It's not expensive to buy a DVD or CD players in Guangzhou.

Photographic Equipment
Photographic equipment is easily obtained. Most brands of film are available and color print processing is speedy and reasonably priced. There are a few professional labs for black and white and color slide development.

TESOL Teacher training in guangzhou
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