Ater finding a good China internship Agency, 70% of interns admit that packing is their next headache. Everyone’s got their own packing style. Maybe you haven’t even thought about what to pack yet and know you won’t worry about it until you’re a few days away from taking off. Or, maybe you’re a worrier who packs at least a month in advance, in case if you need to buy anything you’re missing. Some of us create packing lists to check off while we hold off on the actual packing to avoid wrinkling clothes, while others will throw five pieces of clothing in a backpack and consider themselves packed. We know it’s more about your style than a one-size-fits-all guidebook, but we still try to help.
In order to pack well for a China internship or even a Gap Year in China, here’s what you need to consider:
We assure you that interning in Shenzhen and interning in Shanghai will require different gear no matter what you think. China, much like the US, is a large country with coast to coast climates as different as night and day. Southern cities, such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Shanghai have more tropical (hot and humid) climates in the warmer months, and see a lot of rain all year long. What does that mean for you? It means water-proof shoes, water-proof coats, and probably nothing made of suede (no Uggs).
If you’re interning in winter or spring, keep in mind that southern cities do not normally have indoor heating (in housing), whereas northern cities have central heating.
Before you make your packing list, research the weather, know which seasons you’ll be there, and decide based on your own comfort levels.
Your internship / Program
What you will need to wear to work will largely depend on your industry and company culture. A startup culture or creative organization may not require a suit and leather shoes, but a multinational company with frequent business meetings would. Your job title also matters as you won’t dress the same if you’re working in the field or behind a desk. Certain positions might also require a uniform, in which case you won’t need as many professional outfits.
It’s a good idea to ask HR what the dress code at your company will be, just as you would at a normal interview. Ask them what the average employee in your department wears on a daily basis and whether there will be special occasions where more formal clothing is required. Some companies will require men to own at least one professional suit with a white shirt, tie, and leather shoes. Some companies will require women to wear heels or skirt suits.
Always ask for examples of what the company’s definition of “business casual” is as it’s an incredibly vague and widely adapted term that differs from one company to another even in the same building.
The amount of money you’ll be taking with you to China and how you plan on spending it will make a difference in how you pack your suitcase. All the guides out there on “packing light”, living out of a backpack or carry on, and minimalistic living assumes that you will buy everything you need on the spot once you arrive. Many outdated guides will also suggest that Asia is cheaper than your home country, and so you should bring as little as possible and purchase everything in China. However, this is not the case for everyone.
First of all, you can buy all your hygiene products in China, but it will not necessarily be cheaper than if you had brought them with you. Unless you’re worried about the weight limit, there’s no reason why you can’t bring your hygiene products and buy local once you’ve run out.
Secondly, certain cosmetics are hard to find in smaller cities (in other words, not Beijing or Shanghai), or can only be purchased at import stores for a higher price. A good example is stick deodorant, which many expats swear by.
Thirdly, don’t assume that you can find cheap clothing, shoes, bags, electronics, etc. in China and not bring anything. The style, quality, and sizes you want and need may not be readily available, and chain brands, such as H&M or Zara might cost more in China than back home. Even if you’re prepared to buy fake or tailored, it takes a while to find your way around places, get over the language barrier, and make good purchases. Don’t assume you’ll be able to do it all in the first few weeks of your China trip.
Any Plans Aside an Internship
What do you plan on doing besides working? Do you plan to live like a local? Research how the locals dress by going on Pintrest and looking at photos taken by expats and Chinese.
Do you plan on traveling to rural areas and enjoying the great outdoors? Pack your hiking gear or, at the very least, comfortable walking gear and a good backpack.
Do you plan on enjoying the city life by partying it up? Pack your heels, your dresses, and all your beauty products as essentials.
What you plan to do during your China internship will largely affect what you pack. Not everyone needs to bring sneakers if they’re comfortable walking in other shoes (and there will be plenty of walking!) Not everyone will need to bring travel guides or clubbing outfits if they don’t enjoy the nightlife. Think about what you want to do in China and go from there.
Your Lifestyle while Interning in China
Just as with packing styles, lifestyle also plays into what we need to pack. If you’re an avid reader, you might pack an e-reader or even a paperback. If you work out, you’ll need those sneakers and sports clothes. Some prefer comfortable clothes, while others want to wear stylish outfits. Some need a lot of accessories, such as bags, scarves, jewelry, and hats; others need none. Pack based on what will make your travel experience wholesome.