Making your way to Changsha

The flight to China is long, but relatively comfortable and is almost the final leg on your way to teach English in China. Depending on the country you are flying from since we recruit a lot of native English speakers from many countries abroad, you can find flights direct to the larger cities in China e.g. Beijing or Shanghai. In some instances, you may need to fly to another country in Europe or the Middle East, then catch another flight, again either to Beijing or Shanghai, then connect to Changsha from there. Another possible route is to Hong Kong, from where a direct flight to Changsha is possible.

At either Beijing or Shanghai, since this is a port of entry into mainland China, you will have to go through immigration. On departure from the flight into the airport, all non-Chinese passport holders are required to fill in an “entry card” for immigration clearance. This piece of paper also has instructions overleaf on what you have to do once you have successfully entered China. On this card, you have to supply biographical details such as your name, gender and nationality. This is handed in, along with your passport, to an immigration official who will verify your visa.

Also in the transit area before you get to the immigration desks, you have to go through a health scan, a device that screens all arrivals for possible health anomalies. This has been in place since the time of the H1N1 virus scare in 2009. It uses infrared cameras to scan body temperature (in people infected with H1N1, body temperature spikes to about38ºC/100.4ºF or above). This is a walk-through scan and people are not singled out of it all arrivals have to go through it as they navigate the queue to have their entry into China endorsed. Only in instances where you are flagged will you be requested to leave the queue and undergo a medical check in which you can be quarantined should you be found to be sick upon a medical examination. A slight temperature due to flu or the common cold should not be a cause for alarm.

Your passport will be returned to you with an endorsement stamp that corresponds with the visa that facilitated your entry in China. From here, there is baggage collection, then a customs check to ensure compliance with Chinese regulation. Find a list of prohibited items here. Depending on your flight selection, you may still need to connect to Changsha and will probably wait for your connecting flight inside the airport with your luggage. There are number of waiting areas you can make use of, or restaurants where you can get a meal to while you wait. While navigating the airport, you will also possibly be offered a range of items from sim cards to transport by sales people around the airport. Avoid all these until you have been picked up by a Vinston FAO once in Changsha, who will be waiting for you outside the arrivals exit to take you to your place of lodging. They are in a better position to give you advice on which products to get, and where to get them as typically, all items tend to be overpriced at most airports. The FAOs will also help you get registered at a police station once you have rested, and are your link to the rest of the Vinston team as you learn processes and explore Chingsha while you teach English.