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  • Shona McCarthy

Preparing For A Study Tour


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In 2017, I was preparing to go on a study tour to China with some of my classmates, teachers and other students, I made up my mind that one must always prepare thoughtfully. Since the study tour in Guangzhou and Yangshuo was a time for study and work, I wanted to devote more thought to preparation than I normally would.

For instance, I visited the dentist, and I had four wisdom teeth removed. I didn't enjoy the procedure itself, but I felt good knowing I had done what I could to minimize the risk of trouble during the trip.

For similar reasons, I also went to the doctor for vaccinations relevant to my travels. I also like to ask for anti-malaria medication when I know I will be near bodies of water, and to make sure that I've had my tetanus shot.

I also bought a new mobile phone that I knew would provide better function for the trip. My old phone didn't have enough space to hold apps like Google Translate and Wechat. Also, the camera was not good quality and memory would fill up fast with any photos or footage I would take. China places limits on how many cameras you are permitted to bring, so having a HQ one in my phone meant a lot to me. Wechat is also an essential tool since Facebook is not permitted in China and I wanted a low cost way of keeping in touch with family at home. It is unlocked, so I can use any sim I want with it. I bought an anti-glare screen protector and a very powerful protective case which means I didn't have to worry about breaking the phone during my trip. So that I could continue to keep in touch with my peers and lecturers on the trip, as well as with family back home, I have purchased a Woolworths International SIM Card. Out of all the international sim cards I was able to find in Google, Woolworths seemed to have the best rates and on previous trips I found them very helpful. This particularly came in handy in China since China's own internet services tend to block things like Facebook and Google, but if you use the Woolworths International internet, you can access anything you like.

I formed a list of items I wanted to bring on the trip in my old phone, but I forgot to copy it out when I restored the old phone to factory settings, so I needed to start again. Below is a tentative list of what I was able to think of, with typical flight rules in mind. The requirements of this specific trip meant that packing iwas a little more complex than I was used to. China is a relatively conservative country, so I wanted to avoid ostentation. But I also wanted to look professional and respectable in my capacity as a representative. I wanted to look serious, yet approachable. By late November, weather in China is usually cooling, but since Guangzhou is subtropical in climate, we did not see snow. I flew with some of my peers on the plane and wanted to look presentable throughout that time. I also visited Japan directly after the study tour. A specific activity list wasn't released while I was packing, so I needed to imagine a wide range of situations. Some of these are items I took onto the plane. Some I wore.

Carry on Baggage: - Coat (It sometimes gets very cold on the plane)

- Hairbrush

- Small tube of toothpaste

- Toothbrush

- Simplified make up kit

- Air sickness bags (I don't like the ones that come on planes.)

- Ear Plugs

- Sleep Mask

- Book

- Notebook

- Pen

- Herbs that help with sleep

- White Flower Oil

- Ginger Pills

- Pain Killers

- Book of Chinese phrases I may need - Herbs that help with immunity

- Drink Bottle - Probiotics

- Charcoal pills - Anti-Malaria medication - Bandaids

- Sanitary Pad

- Hand Sanitizer

- Tissues - Toilet Roll

- Skin Creams

Checked Baggage:

- 4 skirts/pants

- 11 pairs of leggings/slips

- 11 sets of underwear

- 1 pair of walking shoes

- 1 pair of formal shoes

- 4 blouses

- 11 undershirts - 11 pairs of socks - Laptop

- International Adapters

- Battery packs

- Camera

- 4 Cardigans

- Another Coat

- 2 Spare Drink Bottles

- Chamomile tea bags - Ear Medicine - Formal Handbag

- Two Towels

- Musk Oil - Hair Products - Toiletries - Skin Products

- Sanitary Pads

- Insect Repellant - Dental Flossers

- Inter-dental Brushes

- Tweezers - Tissues

- Salt for gargling

- A tumbler

Based on the information we were given by our lecturer, I was able to locate the exact location of the school on Google Maps. Our lecturer told us she would give us accommodation close to the campus, and there were laundromats nearby, so packing much clothing was unnecessary, though I did not like the idea of spending the whole trip doing laundry. In order to mentally prepare myself, I watched Chinese movies and soap operas. This was a way of warding off culture shock upon landing. Truthfully, I love visiting Guangzhou since I always feel as though part of me is returning home. But not everyone will feel that way.


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