We all need to break free of our comfort zones in order to reach our full potential. Traveling to new countries, embarking on new careers and learning about new cultures, would all be considered as ways of breaking free of your comfort zone.

What if you could combine all three of these while being financially sustained too? You guessed it, an exciting opportunity to reach your full potential.

Teaching English in China offers the opportunity to experience the thrill of breaking free of your comfort zone, learning, teaching and having lots of fun in the process!

Whether you’ve already arranged your job, or are all set to embark on your journey, knowing what to expect always helps! Here are twelve practical tips to help you make the most out of this exciting new journey:

1. Practice the language.

Practice makes perfect, and language is probably the best example of that. Although China has slowly integrated English as part of their educational system, day-to-day conversations in their own language (usually Mandarin) are obviously still going to happen. In order to break the language barrier, and connect well with students, start learning the basics beforehand and keep on practicing! This will also save you a great deal of time and effort once you make the move.

2. Learn the culture.

Do your research. Spend time studying the cultural systems and protocols. You have to understand that since this is a different country, they have different sets of beliefs. Knowing what they believe in and how they do certain things will not only save you from awkward situations but will help you adjust on how you interact with them. China Mike helps you learn their culture with ease.

3. Visit your doctor.

There are many medical reasons that could get in the way of your planned trip. From general health to specific vaccinations needed, it is essential to visit your doctor beforehand. Make an appointment at least six weeks before your planned departure to ensure that everything is OK.

4. Do not forget about your travel insurance.

While some companies provide coverage when you are sick, it is highly recommended to never forget about your travel insurance. Even if you’re in great health currently, a different country and climate could cause a shock to your system and potentially land you in need of medical attention. Find a reputable insurance company that offers a good coverage throughout your stay in China. There are a number of companies that can cater to your needs, one of which is Travelex Insurance.

5. Have a financial plan.

While traveling to China to teach English is an exciting prospect, you don’t want to live your life from paycheck to paycheck.

Be money wise. No matter what your salary is, at the end of your contract, you might not want to renew it right away and you’ll need money to while you decide on a new job, new path, or even a well deserved holiday.

6. Think of your exit strategy as early as now.

This isn’t to say that teaching in China is a horrible idea. There have been thousands of successful foreign teachers in China who have enjoyed their job immensely. It just means that you must have a strong understanding of all your options. And when your contract is over, you need to have a clear sense of direction as to what you will be doing next — reapply or take on a different life journey?

7. Pack the right clothes.

Don’t worry; teachers aren’t required to always be in business attire. It is only observed during important business meetings and luncheons. The dress code in China is not as strict as other countries. Pack lightly and practically. China, as I’m sure you know, has no shortage of clothing retailers at very good prices.

8. Purchase a VPN.

In case you are not aware, there are a 2, 701 websites blocked in China due to their Internet Censorship Policy. As an expatriate, your way of communication to your friends and family is the internet. Your e-mail server, blog or website might not be available in the country, which is why it is important for you to get your own VPN (virtual private network). To know more about this, visit Grey Coder.

9. Familiarize yourself with the modes of transportation.

The major mode of transportation in China is by train or bus. Taxis are available but are much pricier than buses and trains (Remember point number 5!). Learn the drop-off points and routes to ensure a safe and reliable journey!

10. Be Weather Wise.

Find out about the seasons and weather patterns in China before you leave. This will help with packing your clothes, as well as make provision for any sort of allergies you might experience.

11. Stick to your itinerary.

The idea of exploring every single attraction that China has to offer is part of the excitement but always try to stick to your plan. Create an itinerary that gives you time for everything. Remember that you are there to work, and you will have a lot of time throughout your stay to explore further. The key is to manage your time and finances well.

12. Be excited.

Many have gone before you and have had the adventure of a lifetime. They created priceless memories, explored China, and built meaningful relationships. While it’s important to consider all of the necessary elements, allow yourself to also experience the thrill!

China is a country that has a lot to offer, and the truth is, nobody ever visits China and leaves without having experienced a sense of awe and wonder. It is a truly beautiful nation. So, prepare your visa and your luggage. China is waiting for you!