Travel Physical A couple months before leaving you should have a travel physical. At this physical youll discuss with your doctor where all youll be traveling to and which vaccines you need. Before hand you can go online to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ to see what the CDC says as well. You can have your travel physical done at Taylor Health and Wellness and most local clinics. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
Packing Packing restrictions: Most airlines require that gels and liquids you intend to carry on be in containers no larger then 3.4 ounces each. They should also be packed in a quart sized zip- lock bag. You can go online to check your airlines website for their weight and size limits on luggage.
Packing List Clothes Clothes are pretty cheap in China if you shop on the street markets. However, most clothes are very small and the style can be a little crazy, so if youre very picky youll want to bring some of your own wardrobe. Qingdao is pretty cold in the winter and pretty hot in the Spring and Summer. I would pack a couple pairs of shorts as well as some jeans instead of trying to find some when you get there.
Packing List cont. Toiletries Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and soap are all available at reasonable prices in Qingdao. Contact Solution was also available but a little more expensive then here. Watch out for whitening products in any face wash or liquid soap. Bring your own sunscreen and bug spray
Packing List cont. Entertainment DVDs are available for about $2.00 at a DVD store down the road from the campus. Bring and I-Pod or MP3 player for the long flight and any traveling you plan on doing in while there.
Packing List Cont Electronics Most electronics are more expensive in China then they are here in the U.S. Id pack your own camera, laptop, or electronic dictionary. They are available at multiple stores throughout Qingdao though if you need them. Cell phones are available for as cheap at $25 at stores such as Sunning.
Packing List Cont. Gifts Pack some small things to give away to possible employers, friends, or teachers. U.S. coins or candy are good. Just make sure whatever it is it isnt made in China.
Packing List Cont. Misc. Having pictures of family and home can be good to show friends and students in Qingdao. Most people are very interested in the U.S. Especially college students interested in studying away here.
Hotel in Beijing The hotel in Beijing is a good transition into Chinese culture. If you arrive in Beijing the day before the tour, the guide should be there to greet you and take you to the hotel. You have that evening to wander the streets near by and have a first taste of China. You will be in two person rooms in the hotel. There is an Ethernet cord, it may be a little hard to find, but its there. There is 24 Hr. hot water and breakfast included.
Exchanging Money The hotel doesnt change money so youll have to ask the tour guide to take you to a bank. Do not exchange money at the airport. Theres an expensive service fee and a bad exchange rate. Wait until you can get to a bank.
Beijing Tour The hotel provides breakfast for free so your first few mornings you dont have to worry about that. Your guide should give you a time to meet in the morning. The itinerary will be different each year but while youre in Beijing youll probably be seeing the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Birds Nest, the Forbidden City, the Silk Market, a kung fu show, and an acrobatic show.
Beijing Tour Cont. The tour may feel a little rushed if you like to take a lot of time at every place you go. For me it was about the right pace, but I dont take lots and lots of pictures. If you think youll need more time you might want to plan another trip to Beijing.
Bartering Beijing will also be the first chance to try bartering. At the tourist locations as well as at a market youll visit. Most of these places will try to rip you off. Weve had vendors tell us some of the prices they charge tourists. One example was T-shirts for 350 Yuan. Bartering is pretty simple, but can be very intimidating. Especially when a vendor is really pushy, as they are in most tourist attractions. The best way is to decide the most youll pay for something. As the vendor the price and then offer something much lower then what you want to pay. They may laugh or scoff at your low price. Smile and ask them for a lower price. Next theyll come down from their price and youll slowly move your price up. They might go lower the what you want to pay, if not stop at your price and tell them thats as high as youll go. If they dont budge, walk away. Sometimes theyll follow you out and give you your price. Sometimes they wont. But dont go higher then your price just because they start out high.
Tips for Bartering L ook the store over before talking to the vendor about prices. As your Chinese gets better you can chat with them, but not about what they are selling. Otherwise theyll pester you about the one item you may have asked about but dont want for the rest of your time in their store. Dont get attached to anything. If they want more then what you want to pay, walk away. Sometimes theyll offer you the price as you walk out. If not, youll probably find it somewhere else and hopefully for a better price. When you see something, ask what youre willing to pay for it before you ask how much it is. Then drop your opening offer below that. If its something you can buy in the States ask for less then what youd pay here.
Tips Cont. Be prepared for all vendors to try and cheat you. Especially at tourist traps. Theyre used to tour groups who dont know how much things should cost or how to barter. It takes time, but until youre used to thinking in Yuan convert everything to Dollars. Sometimes youll be surprised how much they try to sell things for. For example, in Xian a vendor told us she charge tourists who couldnt speak Chinese up to 200 yuan for a T-shirt. Thats about $30 for a T- shirt that here in the U.S. should be about $10 at the most. At all times, stand your ground. Even if the vendor tells you youre killing them, or they laugh at you for your price, when you reach the most youre willing to pay dont raise it.
Tips for Jet Lag Tips for jetlag If you arrive in the morning or during the day try to stay up during the day even if youre exhausted, itll help you sleep that night and get you on the right time schedule. If youre arriving at night try staying up for most of your flight. Itll be boring, but itll leave you tired when you arrive. For your first few days, even if you wake up really early, try to stay up the whole day and go to bed at a regular time. The busy tour schedule will help with that.
Arriving in Qingdao Youll be met at the Qingdao airport by a van that will take you to the university. Youll check in at the first floor office where youll be assigned a room and youll check in. Rooms hold two people, you can pay extra to choose a room without a roommate.
Dorms There are two main dorms for international students. The Old and New dorms. I lived in the Old dorms, but some students are put in the new ones.
Old Dorms Main floor- outside: convience store. Inside: Guards office, mail, main office, and laundry room. 1st floor-gym, Sharring Bar, class office, and cafateria. 2 nd floor- hot water dispenser 6 th floor-microwave and clothes lines out on the roof.
Main Office The main office is right by the door or the dorms. When you come in just look to the right. The hours are posted on their door.
Rooms Each room is a two person room. You can sign up for a room to yourself, but it will cost more. Each room should have two beds with sheets, a pillow, pillow case, and heavy blanket each. There are two desks, two night side tables, two lamps, two Qingdao mugs with lids, a bookshelf, a TV, a TV stand, Ethernet cord, clothes line, and built in closets. Each room also has a bathroom in it. The bathroom has a shower head, a western toilet, and a sink with a mirror. Its all combined, but its pretty easy to get used to. Theres only one Ethernet cord in each room. If both occupants have computers you can pay a deposit in the main office and get a box that provides two Ethernet cords. The deposit is $100, you get it back when you check out.
Mail There arent individual mail boxes. All letters are put out on a shelf on the main floor. If you get a box, your name will be put on a list on the wall and youll have to show your ID to the door guard.
Sharring Bar On the first floor theres the Sharring Bar. It acts as the computer lab for the dorm as well as a restaurant. It has a fun atmosphere and it can be a good place to work on homework or meet a language partner. The prices are a little high for in China, but are cheap or comparable for the U.S. Use of the computers does cost. Its free for the first 15 min. At the counter there will be a list of prices and you can get a time card. You can also print, make copies, and fax in the Sharring Bar.
Laundry The laundry room is on the main floor. It has four washers and a dryer. The washers are available most of the day. They need a coin to start, those can be bought in the guards office for 4 kuai. Put the coin in and the water will start, just toss in your clothes and soap. The washers are a little rough on clothes so I suggest hand washing anything delicate. The dryers are more expensive and you have to make an appointment to use it. I found it much easier just to hang clothes up in my room.
Gym Theres a small gym on the first floor of the old dorms. There are some treadmills, bikes, weight equipment, and a ping pong table. As a Missouri State Student you should get a card for free, youll have to ask in the main office. Youll present that card to the man in the gym every time you go.
Curfew Theres a 11:00 pm curfew every week night and a 11:30 pm curfew on weekends. After those times the guard locks the door. If you do find yourself out later then that youll have to ring the bell to wake up the guard and hell let you in. If you know in advance youll be getting in late because of a flight or another appointment you can tell the office in advance.
Hot water Hot water is on in the mornings from 6:30 am to 8:30 and in the evenings from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
New Dorms The new dorms have the same set up as the old ones, but with an indoor porch instead of any balconies. They have hot water all the time, but it only last 20 min each time before it has to reheat.
Class Placement The weekend before classes start at Qingdao youll be placed in your classes. They Office on the first floor should give you the times and dates. Youll meet with a group of teachers to begin with. Theyll ask you about your previous experience with Chinese and possible ask you to read something or talk with them so they can place you in the appropriate class. Their word is not final though. If you are worried your class will be too difficult or too easy you can go to the office on the second floor and ask to be moved. After you receive a placement you can go to the library on the second floor and buy your books. If you move classes after getting your books you can return them and get new ones. The woman in the library doesnt speak English so if youre worried about it you might take someone who can speak Chinese. For the week or two after classes start youre able to move classes, even later in the semester if theres a problem you can switch classes.
Classes In Qingdao youll have two classes; Chinese language and Chinese culture. Your language course will be every week day morning from 8:20 to 12:25. Between each hour your teachers will give you a break about 10 minuets long. The culture class will be arranged after your arrival in Qingdao.
Working While in Qingdao youll find jobs tend to appear very easily. If you want to work you can ask in the office or ask your teachers if they know anyone who needs teachers.
Qingdao attractions Beaches Little Qingdao Theater Municipal Museum Ba Da guan Lao Shan Zhongshan Park
Beaches The main beaches in Qingdao are named by numbers 1 through 6. 1 is the most popular but 2 is the cleanest and less popular. Shi Lao Ren is another very popular beach not far from campus. No. 1 bathing beach
Little Qingdao Little Qingdao is located in Qingdao Bay. The lighthouse was built while Qingdao was occupied the Germans.
Theater A few minuets away from campus is a new theater. Ask in the office about purchasing tickets or free tickets for performances. You can see musicals, ballet, concerts, plays, ect…
Ba Da Guan A scenic street located in the east of qingdao. Mainly German and Dutch architecture. At the end of its streets there is one of the six main beaches.
Mt. Laoshan One of the most famous mountains in China. It can be regarded as the birthplace of Taoism. The office may arrange a tour to Laoshan for all the exchange students.
Zhongshan Park A park close to Ba Da Guan. In the spring it is very popular for its many cherry blossoms. Its best to go during the week to avoid the weekend crowds.
Public Transportation Bus The bus system in Qingdao is very extensive and pretty reliable. Sometimes it can be a long wait for your bus and they can get pretty crowded, but usually its an easy trip. Taxi There are two types of taxis in Qingdao. One starts at 9 Yuan the other at 12 Yuan. There isnt much of a difference between the two so I suggest you take the 9 Yuan as often as possible.
Bus system In the main office you can pick up a list of busses.
Shopping Carrefour Jusco Night Market Taidong Jimo Lu Old Cultural Market Book City Book Nook
Carrefore The cheapest place to buy groceries Its five stops from campus in busses 13 or 136
Jusco Four stops from campus on busses 13 or 316. More expensive then Carrefore but has a Dairy Queen, a McDonalds and a Starbucks. At night there is a street market just outside of Jusco. There are lots of clothes, shoes, and souvenirs for sale there.
Tai Dong Tai Dong is a network of streets. During the day its a shopping center with many shops, multiple McDonalds, and a Wal-Mart. At night a street market is set up near the Wal-Mart. Its a barter market, but the vendors can be tough and a little rude.
Jimo Lu Jimo is a pretty big tourist trap in Qingdao. Its located inside multiple buildings. The vendors there are nicer then at Tai Dong but the prices can start out very high.
Old Cultural Market A small street market where you can barter for old looking souvenirs.
Book City Two stops on bus 13 or 136 from campus. Its a large book store, but many other things can be found there too. Electronics, calligraphy tools, crafts, ect.
Book Nook A small book store a ways from campus. The easiest way to reach it is by taxi. You can also take a bus to Carrefors and walk up Nanjing LU away from the beach further into the city. There are many English books there that you can pay to borrow. Its 100 kuai deposit and then a small amount for each book you borrow.
Weifang The kite capital of the world. It can be reached by train. There is both a fast and slow train available. Its a great place to go for a quick weekend trip. In April there is a kite festival that has been described as the kite Olympics. Kite MuseumOutside the train stationKite shop
Yen Tai Very close to Qingdao by train. Its a good place to go for a quick day trip. Its another seaside city with beautiful parks.
Qufu The home of Confucius. You can visit his home, his temple, and his tomb.
Traveling by plane There is an airport in Qingdao, so if the price is right sometimes flying is a good option. For example, when I traveled to Shanghai is was more expensive to fly but it saved hours of travel time. You can find flights at E-long.com
Traveling by train There is a train station in Qingdao. It can be reached by bus or taxi. Tickets can be purchased in the lobby of the hotel on Qingdaos campus.
Types of train tickets There are five types of train tickets you can purchase. Soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat, hard seat, and standing. Soft sleepers are compartments with four bunks. Its the most expensive ticket. Hard sleepers are open to the rest of the car. There are six bunks in each section. The top has the least amount of room and is the cheapest, the bottom has the most and is the most expensive.
Train tickets cont. Soft seats and hard seats are the same except for a little more padding. They arent bad for short trips and are much cheaper the sleepers. Standing tickets are the same price as hard seats and are issued when there is no more room on the train. It can get very crowded, but if there are seats open you can sit in them. Hard seats Hard sleepers