Published on:
June 29, 2017

by: Will Perrins

Staying Safe and Healthy- Part 1 Pre-Departure

Your well-being and safety while living and working in China is paramount, and there are a number of steps you can take both before you leave for China, as well as throughout your time in the country, to help you keep healthy and safe!

This week’s blog focuses on just a few of the steps and precautions you can take pre-departure.



You can research recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your stay in China through the following organizations:

NHS Fit for Travel website:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

World Health Organization (WHO): Medical Help Abroad

Advice regularly changes, so ensure you look into which you will need, and book an appointment well in advance; some vaccinations need to be delivered over a number of weeks and at busy times your travel clinic may have long appointment wait times.

Health/ Medical Insurance


Nearly all Chinese schools provide basic cover medical insurance, however we advise that all teachers purchase their own international travel and medical insurance policy. On purchasing, familiarise yourself with what medical services your health insurance provider will cover in China, and print copies of the policy and emergency contact numbers.

Document Folder


Start keeping a folder of all of your documents, for example original copy degree certificate, TEFL/ TESOL/CELTA certificate, police check, as well as receipts if your contract allows for any reimbursements, flight details etc. Make a few photocopies of each document too, including your passport and other forms of ID, driving licence, debit/ credit card, and visa. Avoid packing this folder in hold luggage, and instead put in your hand luggage.

Emergency Contacts


Let at least one person know exactly where you will be staying and how to contact you in an emergency, and also give them a copy of each of the documents in the above folder. With parents, friends and relatives, it can help to download the skype or we chat app on their mobile phones for easy access. It’s also advisable to make a note of the contact information for your nearest Embassy or Consulate in China, as well as the emergency number for your insurance provider.

Prescriptions or Other Medications


We advise that where possible teachers pack enough to last their entire trip, including some extra just in case you are unexpectedly delayed. Any medications should be stored in their original labeled containers, and pack them in your hand luggage in case hold luggage is lost or delayed. It’s worth asking your pharmacy or doctor for the generic equivalent name of your prescriptions should you need to buy additional medication once in China. We also recommend that you get a letter from your physician/ GP in case you are questioned about your hand luggage medication. If you wear a Medical Bracelet, wear this at all times, and where possible have a bi-lingual version made upon arrival in China. For ladies which take a birth control pill, it’s advisable to get a 12 month supply, as you may struggle to find your preferred brand.

Call your bank or credit card company


Before you leave, notify your bank or credit card company that you will be travelling to China. Try not to carry too much in cash!

Find out more about Health Checks before and after you arrive in China in our article here.

We’ll talk more about how to stay safe and healthy throughout your time in China in our health and safety guide 2.

For more teacher resources, visit:


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