Technology in China
While teaching abroad in China there are several technologies that can be utilized to smooth the transition and in turn make life easier. Most likely in the country you lived in before China you would have access to social media sites such as Facebook, or video hosting sites such as YouTube. However, these are unfortunately blocked in China. Fret not because you can easily sign up for VPN services which cost around 10 USD per month, some choices are Astrill, HMA, Liberty or if you are looking for something that is free I would recommend Freegate.
Once you have arrived at your job in China you will find that your smartphone will be even more vital getting settled to your new surroundings. Using the GPS with Google Maps you can locate supermarkets, ATMs, and restaurants on the go. Whether you want to take the subway, taxi or walk, Google Maps will show you how to get there, the estimated time as well as your current location along the route. Another Google app that I have found to be useful is Google Translate but don’t expect it to translate entire sentences. Mostly I use Google Translate for specific words or short phrases that I want to translate into Chinese. It shows the pinyin and it will also tell you how to properly pronounce the word.
If you want to be able to quickly make Chinese friends I would advise a social networking app called Weixin which is by far and away the most popular social app in China. You can see which of your contacts already has Weixin and who is nearby you and actively using Weixin to look for others.
If you happen to live in a large city like Shanghai or Beijing, Explore Metro Guide can help you identify what lines to take to get to your destination, how much your trip will cost you, the nearest metro station, and the time tables for the last and first trains.
Technology is bringing us closer together and also becoming a symbiotic part of our lives. Knowing how to utilize that technology to your advantage is significant to making your life easier and that includes accepting that chance to teach in China.