Parent Resources: Helpful Information For When Your Child Moves To China

Roisin Johnson
Roisin Johnson

Originally from the UK, I've been living in China for many years - in roles ranging from teaching, management, and international teacher support services.

 / Oct 15, 2019
child moving to china

It can be both exciting and daunting knowing your child will be living and working abroad, especially somewhere far away like China. Working abroad is a great opportunity to learn independence and other life skills, as well as help improve employability. It’s a big step for the parents as much as it is for the candidate, so we have compiled some resources and information we hope will help to put your mind at ease and guide you to help your child prepare for this adventure.


If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact us on customerservice@careerchina.com, or message through the Career China Facebook page.


1. Parent Checklist


Here is a checklist with helpful things to do before your child goes to China. For more information about the items on the checklist, continue reading below.



 

2. Communication


Firstly, we have found that one of the biggest concerns from parents is being able to contact their child once they are in China. China does have a restricted access to some communication tools, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp so communicating may become tricky at times. There are some ways around this.

 

A. Get A VPN


We encourage our candidates to invest in a VPN. This allows a portal to bypass some of the restrictions meaning Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp etc can be accessed.


Not sure what a VPN is? Find out more: What Is A VPN

 

VPN services are normally a paid for service and will usually have the option of 1 month, 3 months or 1 year service subscription. VPN providers will accept most debit or credit cards but may not accept UnionPay (which is the most widely used card provider in China) so it’s a good idea to have the log-in details for the VPN account, just in case your child needs help to renew their subscription. 

 

Downloading a VPN in mainland China can be tricky, so check with your child they have this downloaded on their devices before they leave for China.


Learn more about which VPN you should download: What's The Best VPN For China?



B. Download Wechat

 

WeChat is an app, similar to WhatsApp, and is the main communication tool in China. This is the best way to chat with your child while they’re in China. There are lots of different functions on the app, including voice messaging and video or voice calls so if you need to check in, you can do so instantly. The ‘Moments’ function will also let you see any photos posted so you can see what your child is up to and where they have been (similar to Facebook). The best part is it is not restricted, so does not require any VPN!

 

The only downside of WeChat is some new accounts need to be verified and this can prove to be a bit tricky if you are outside mainland China. If you encounter this problem, you can contact WeChat on their website help desk.



Learn how to download and setup Wechat here:




 


3. Checking In After They Fly To China


When your child flies, we know you will be keen to make sure they have arrived safely. Google services are blocked without a VPN, so if your child’s contact email is a Gmail account, it can be difficult for them to access this in the first few days of arrival. We encourage our candidates to have a secondary email account to use in China. Yahoo and Outlook are good alternatives so we suggest making sure you have this contact information before your child leaves for China.

 

This being said, in the excitement of arriving in a new country and meeting new people, it is easy to forget to check emails or maybe they forget to send a WeChat message to you. If you are worried, you can always contact our customer service team on customerservice@careerchina.com to confirm they have arrived, and we can request they contact you.

 

4. Healthcare and Insurance


The employers we hire for will offer some health insurance coverage. However something we suggest to our candidates is thinking about travel insurance. It is something that is easily forgotten with all of the other preparations going on but is something can be prove useful. So this is something you can check with your child before they leave.

 

At the time of writing, there are no required vaccinations to enter China, but there are recommended vaccinations. It’s always a good idea to make sure all shots are up to date and check with your government information website about health and travel to ensure you have the most up to date information. More information can be found on the relevant country links below:

 

 

5. Embassy Help


There are embassies in China, predominantly based in the capital, Beijing. Some countries will have consular offices in other large cities across China. In the unlikely situation where you need to contact the embassy (for example if you child has been arrested), the links below can help guide you to find the correct contact information for assistance.

 

 

6. Banking


Sometimes banks in a candidate’s home country will flag suspicious or ‘fraudulent’ activity if they see a bank card being used in China. We always remind candidate’s to tell their bank they are going to be abroad but it is helpful for a person to help with banking issues at home if there is a problem. So another thing to consider and speak with you child about is setting up a ‘Third Party Mandate’ or some sort of limited power of attorney on their bank account. This will allow you or an appointed person to contact the bank and make decisions on your child’s behalf. A similar thing is also available with certain student loans.


***Learn more about ATMs and Banking in China




 

7. Visas


If you are planning to visit your littl’un once they have settled, you need to get yourself a tourist visa. Part of the requirements for the visa include an invitation letter and this is normally linked to your inviter’s visa or ID. For details about the invitation letter, you can send an email to our customer service team and we will happily send an example template.

 

You can find information and make a visa application through the Chinese consulate in your country. Sometimes the consulate will outsource the job to an official agency. In most cases, you will be asked to go for an appointment as finger prints are required. You can check this on the relevant country’s website below.

 

 

If you need to come to China in a hurry because your child is sick or needs help urgently, you can apply for the emergency visa and this is normally issued within 24 hours of the application (although processing times will vary). Depending on the situation, you may need additional documents such as medical or police reports as these will help support the request for an emergency visa. If you need information about this, contact your local Chinese consulate for guidance.

 

8. Public Holidays


Chinese public holidays are normally 1-2 days off work to celebrate various festivals. However, there are two major holidays in China that mean at least 1 week off work. This means it’s a great time to visit China or meet your child somewhere outside of China for a holiday.


October 1st is an important day in Chinese history as it commemorates the formation of the People’s Republic of China and companies will often give about 5 days off work for their employees.

 

Spring Festival is when China celebrates its new year. This is the largest migration of humans in the world with people going home to see their family. The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar so the date changes each year but it normally means people will have about 10 days away from work. This means it’s a perfect time for candidates to travel or show their families around their new China home!

 

A downside of some of the public holidays is there will be greater regulation on internet access, so VPNs will often not work well and so communication with your child might be tricky.


To learn more about all the public holidays in China, read here: National Holidays in China: What They Are & Time Off Work


 


9. Sending Packages


Being away from your child can be difficult, especially around their birthday or other family celebrations. So you might want to send them some presents or even a care package with some home comforts.

 

It is easy to do but there are a couple of things to remember when sending a package to China:

  • Make sure there is nothing that will be blocked entering the country. You should be able to check prohibited items with the courier you use.
  • Make sure you have a customs declarations clearly shown on the package, otherwise the package will be held in customs until they have confirmed its contents and value.
  • Send the package to the work address, not home address, as there will be someone to sign for it and it’s less likely to get lost.
  • Make sure the address is in English as well as Chinese characters.
  • Make sure you also add a Chinese phone number so the courier/customs can contact someone if there are any problems. 
  • Choose a reputable courier and make sure you opt for a recorded service so you know when the package is received.
  • Send the package with lots of time for it to arrive because international post has a reputation to be very slow!

 

10. Other Resources for Parents


If you want to see an experience of another parent child has come through Career China to work with one of our partner schools, have a look at Nicola’s mum’s experience on their blog: Advice from a First Leap Parent




Contact Us If You Have Any Questions


If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact us on customerservice@careerchina.com, or message through the Career China Facebook page.


Want to learn more about what it will be like for your child to live and work in China? Visit The Ultimate Guide for Moving to China





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Roisin Johnson

Originally from the UK, I've been living in China for many years - in roles ranging from teaching, management, and international teacher support services.