For those who have applied and are ready to pay, below are some FAQs that may answer some questions. You can always come back to this page closer to the Fellowship if you are busy right now with other things.
Please remember that “This is China.” Food is sometimes a challenge, but we are placing you in an area where you can eat either Chinese or food that is more familiar, for example Indian food at the Himalaya restaurant (think naan and curry, basmati rice, vegetarian with meat options) is great for non-strict vegetarians. Italian food is great at the nearby Ciao Italia. If you have certain food sensitivities, are vegetarian or just want to stay off wheat, dairy and meat completely, one option is to order white rice with local vegetables in a Chinese restaurant nearby.
Not everyone will speak English, which is why we gave the option to stay at an international 4-star hotel instead of a local 2-star hotel. Please remember that service standards will not be like in the States, and there will be people in the international hotel speaking English, but it may not be as fluent as back home.
The local 2-star hotel is the best hotel we have found in the area next to the Sheraton. Because it is a smaller establishment, the people there do not speak English, but the rooms are still nice and comfortable, as many people who have lived there will attest.
There will be some customs that will be new to you. For example, some restaurants provide serviettes/napkins but charge for them. Some Western restaurants may serve food in the different way than in the West – this is just the Chinese variation on foreign food. It will be very noisy on the streets, and that may be new to someone who lives in the suburb or in a less crowded city. The hospitals will be uncomfortable with so many patients crowding around and only a bench for you to sit on. That said, if you come with an open mind, we believe you will gain alot from this experience.
Is internet access easy in China? Is there internet access in the hotel rooms? Should I bring my laptop? Is there risk of theft?
Wireless internet is widely available in local cafes and restaurants. Participants who use Apple products will not be able to access internet in their hotel rooms. That said, hotel room are linked to a LAN-line, which mean that if you are able to bring a PC laptop to place in your hotel room, you can access internet and make notes and send emails back in the hotel room.
That said, participants have feedbacked that internet access is much slower here tahn in the States. Even when connecting to the wireless at the cafes, your phone may take a few minutes to ‘find’ the signal and connect to it. Some pages are restricted like youtube and facebook. Gmail is not so reliable here in China. If you have a Gmail account, you are better off opening another account with another email provider and setting your Gmail account to automatically forward your emails to the new account. MSN and Skype work with rarely a problem.
Yes, of course. Please bring your laptop. because they are handy for note-taking etc. PCs are very useful also because you can easily connect it via a LAN cable to the internet in the hotel room.
Regarding theft, just treat it like you’re going to another city in the USA. Theft may happen but Chinese cities are relatively safe.
Should I bring an adaptor?
Yes, bring your adaptors too. Electricity is 220V. There are various plugs here, including 2 parallel flat pins (like the US) and 3-pronged angled pins (like Australia). Good to bring along a 110V to 220V converter, which can be gotten at the airport. Even if the computer adaptor automatically converts voltage, it can come in handy.
How is the weather in May? Is it hot?
T-shirts, pants and sneakers are a good base. Because the weather is May is transiting between the cool of Spring to the warmth of early Summer, layering is recommended. A sports jacket that is both warm and rain-proof is perfect for this kind of situation; also pants that dry quickly. Umbrellas will also be useful if it rains. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes to walk around in, and layers just in case it gets too cold.
Do we need a clinic coat for observing at the clinic?
Yes, please bring a white clinic coat.
What is the recommended attire?
Chinese hospitals are very relaxed regarding attire. For ladies, open shoes like sandals ARE allowed and might be a good idea. Shorts and dresses are also good – just think casual but smart. A pair of comfortable sneakers to walk in is a must! For men, polo tops, short-sleeved T-shirt, casual pants and sneakers will work.
Can I use my USA mobile phone in China?
If you are an iPhone user, you are better off buying an iPhone voice plan and texting plan that allows you a certain amount of hours on each. If you have blocked international roaming, you will be able to use wifi in cafe or coffee house. The local hotel will not have wifi.
Do I need any vaccinations?
There are no obligatory vaccinations but it might be a good idea to have the routine vaccines like Hep B, tetanus and typhoid.
Should I buy a health insurance?
Your health insurance at home may not work for China, so it is better you check and buy an appropriate insurance. You might want to also insure valuable personal items.
Should I exchange money before going to China?
It is better if you don’t exchange too much before coming. If you arrive with 1000rmb is enough for the first days until you go and draw money from a local ATM. Past participants have had little trouble with drawing money from ATM and it seems like the cheapest option compared to traveller’s checks or the like. You will only need to confirm with your bank to ensure they allow your ATM card to work outside of North America. A card that is CIRRUS-enabled and NYCE stamped should be fine. Some ATM may not work, but most banks allow for drawing of foreign funds. You will be staying in a hotel that is located near several banks, so no worries about finding an ATM machine.
How much luggage is too much?
There is really no need to bring too much stuff to China. You are better off bringing little as the prices here are great and you will probably want to buy a lot of stuff to take back home. PACK SIMPLE. There is nothing we can think of that you can find in North America that you cannot find in China. Also, many previous participant had to leave stuff behind because they had packed chinese patent medicines, teapots and all manner of China-specific objects.
Should I buy my prescription medicines in China?
It is better you bring your own prescription medicines from back home. The medicines here may have some additives or be different in composition to the ones you take back home, so better not to take risks. For those used to using Curing Pills for functional dyspepsia or mild stomach upset, please bring some. There are no Curing Pills in Nanjing, although there are the local varieties.
How much do meals cost?
Food cost varies depending on what you eat and the kind of restaurant you choose. Just using the USD as a benchmark, you can find food as cheap as 1USD to foods equally expensive to what you would pay back home for a nice meal. But as already mentioned in the logistics webpage, a range between US$5 to US$20 per meal is a good estimate.
How safe is China?
We can’t guarantee safety anywhere, but you will find Nanjing is relatively safe. You just have to have normal common sense when you move around. If anything, it is more the cultural norms that are eye-opening for participants.
When our flight lands in Nanjing International Airport, how do we get to the hotel?
As the date nears, we will be sending you the hotel’s address in a word document. After passing through customs, just head for the taxi stand and show the address to the taxi. It will take about 45 mins and cost less than 140 rmb. Just make sure that the taxi driver flips his meter and starts it when you arrive. We will be there waiting for you at the hotel to help you check in.
What else should I bring?
It will be useful for you to bring 3 passport size photos as well as 3 photocopies of your passport (photo page), which will be used for registration purposes.