The Basics

When you are accepted into your program, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure briefing package, including information about health and safety, which will also be addressed in your pre-departure orientation. Here are a few basics:

- Check your immunization record and make sure your vaccinations are up to date. See your doctor 4-6 weeks before departure so any vaccinations will take effect in time. Visit the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn what is recommended for China.

Important Information
- Write down important names, phone numbers, postal and email addresses of home campus personnel that you might need to contact during your time in China.

International Student Identity Card
- Get your international student identity card (ISIC). For more information, please visit

Document Copies
- Make multiple copies of your passport & visa. Leave a copy at home with your family. Take photos as well to have on your phone.

Inform Banks & Credit Card Companies
- If you have credit cards and debit cards, call the respective customer representatives and tell them that you will be out of the country for a period of time. Discuss matters concerning your account such as withdrawal fees, daily ATM limits, how your cards will function overseas, setting up online accounts, etc.

- Write down the customer service phone numbers for each card and the card numbers in case they are lost or stolen.

- Make copies of your credit and debit cards and leave them with a responsible person at home.

Health & Safety
- Discuss safety with your family members and develop emergency contact procedures.

- Read over your Medical and Evacuation insurance plan, and make sure you and your family fully understand your coverage.

- Obtain all medical prescriptions, copies of the prescriptions, and adequate supplies. Be sure to obtain a letter from your physician indicating that these prescriptions are for personal use and are needed for a personal medical condition.


View the comprehensive pre-departure guide



Watch our pre-departure instructional video

Pre-departure Video


Pack light, and check with your airline representative for information on baggage for international flights. Visibly mark your luggage for easy identification.

Most airlines allow you to check two bags and bring one carry-on. Keep in mind that every item you pack may return to haunt you when traveling. When packing, try to keep your load under 25 pounds and remember that large suitcases may not fit on buses or trains.

Be mindful of the extensive security measures at airports. Do not carry in your hand luggage anything that could be considered a weapon. Matches and lighters are also not allowed. Limit liquids and gels to 3 ounces or less. Please check TSA ( for up-to-date information. Respond to all questions seriously and honestly at security checkpoints. Never carry packages or letters for strangers. Never leave your bags unattended.

China is a large country, and the temperature varies depending on your location and season. If you are in Shanghai or Suzhou, you will experience the four distinct seasons. Winters are chilly and damp, and sometimes the temperatures can drop below freezing. Summers are hot and humid. Occasionally there are thunderstorms and heavy rains. Fall and Spring are pleasant with average temperatures in the mid- 60s. Chengdu also has four distinct seasons, but it is influenced by a humid tropical climate, as is Taiwan. Winters average temperatures are in the mid 50s. Summers are hot and humid. Rain is common year-round.

We recommend you bring small gifts from the US to give to your local Chinese friends.


    • TSA Compliant Toiletry Kit-1-quart zip-top Ziploc bags
    • Shampoo/Conditioner
    • Toothbrush/toothpaste
    • Soap
    • Deodorant
    • Feminine Products
    • Brush/Comb
    • Razors and other shaving supplies
    • Nail clippers
    • Makeup
    • Over-the-counter medicines, e.g. pain reliever and anti-diarrheal
    • Contraceptives
    • Eyeglasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and cleaning solution
    • Prescription medicine and prescriptions
    • Sunscreen
    • Small first aid kit


      • Plug adapter and voltage converter
      • Camera
      • Money belt or neck wallet
      • Pictures of your friends and family
      • A Chinese phrasebook
      • Laptop computer (we recommend you insure it.)


We suggest you create a template for budgeting for your time in China. A meal could cost you a couple of dollars or a couple of hundred dollars depending where you go. You should also have about $800 in emergency money.

Note: RMB stands for "Yuan" or "renminbi".

Other Expense Estimated Amount
Meals$300 per month
Books $200 to $300 for one semester
Airfare $700 to $1,500 for roundtrip
New Passport $110 to $190
Visa $140 to $200
Local Transportation $8 for Transit Card (includes $3 deposit + $5 balance)
Price Depends on Location
High Speed InternetFree in hotel & dorm
Cell Phone $60 to $180 for device, $5/month for service
Accommodation$1000 per month
Application Fee$25
International Insurance$10 per week
Activities$200 for summer program. Included in semester program fee


Chinese cuisine is one of the most varied and sophisticated in the world, with a wide range of regional variations. Eating out, particularly in a group, is the best way to discover and enjoy this essential part of Chinese life.

  • Large steamed dumplings, a common street food : 3 RMB ($0.50)
  • Three course mid-range restaurant dinner : 80 RMB ($13.00)
  • Quick restaurant meal of rice or noodles : 25 RMB ($4.00)



China has excellent, yet inexpensive, public transport and even taxi rides are quite reasonably-priced. Here are some estimates.

  • Metro ride : 3 RMB ($0.50)
  • Taxi rate per km : 2.2 RMB ($0.35)
  • 20-min taxi ride across town : 25 RMB ($4.00)
  • City bus : 2 RMB ($0.30)


In China, you may withdraw money from ATM machines with a debit card (there will be a fee charged to your account from the local bank and your home bank). The most popular international banks in China are Citibank and HSBC. If you have an account with one of these banks and withdraw from an ATM from one of these banks, you won’t be charged a fee. Please check with Citibank and HSBC to confirm.

The most widely-accepted credit cards in China are Visa and MasterCard.


It is your responsibility to be aware of local laws while you are in China, as you will be subject to them. Remember you are representing your home institution and g-MEO's Study Abroad Program in China. More generally, use common sense and be mindful of your actions, as you will be seen as a representative of United States culture and manners.