MAJOR FAQ-CHINA

ABOUT IFRE'S CHINA INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
How long has IFRE been working in China ? Whom do you work with? Where are you located? What are IFRE's programs?

IFRE established our China internship program in 2006. We presently focus on Offering teaching English internships. IFRE has a well-established office and home base in Xi'an , China , which grants interns access to each part of the city.

APPLYING FOR THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM IN ChinA
How can I apply? What happens when I apply? Do you guarantee placement? How long does it take to receive confirmation?

Please read IFRE's 4-step application process

•  There are two options for applying for our internship in China programs. You can apply online ( http://www.ifrevolunteers.org /apply-now.php  ) or you can simply download an application form, fill it out and mail it into IFRE's offices. Participants are required to submit their application with a $349 application fee plus the program fee for the number of weeks you choose. However to simply start the placement process, all that is needed upfront is a $200 deposit which will be deducted from the final invoice. This non-refundable deposit from you is required to validity of the application. Or to validate the application

•  Once IFRE receives your application, we immediately forward it to country coordinator for processing. The in-country coordinator reviews the application carefully to determine the most optimal project for you while you intern in China . Decisions pertaining to room and board are made at this time - depending on the location of the project. The vast majority of participants stay in fully immersed in-home stays.

•  IFRE receives the details of the participants' placements from the in-country coordinator.

•  The information is then passed on to the prospective participants along with a final invoice. Final payment is due six weeks prior to departure and, in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details contain local contact information to be used when applying for a visa and/or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.

Preparation for your internship vacation in China should include reading about travel to China , immunization, acquiring a travel visa and booking airfare for your internship journey to China . If you face any problems, IFRE's Program Manager is always available for any assistance.

IMPORTANT: Once participants purchase airline tickets, we request flight information be forwarded to IFRE's U.S. office by fax or by email. Participants' flight information will then be forwarded to the in-country coordinator in Kenya , who will then arrange an airport pick-up.

AIRPORT AND ARRIVAL INFORMATION
Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is your destination and arrival point for your internship travel to China , so please book your flight to Xi'an Xianyang International Airport is. Even if participants are joining a program outside Xi'an , IFRE suggests participants arrive/depart in Xi'an . An IFRE representative will await your arrival at the airport. Participants should ensure pick-up by sending their flight information to IFRE's offices - a follow-up call is suggested as your departure date draws closer.
VISAS
IFRE requires interns to acquire a tourist Visa in their home country prior to departure for China . Interns should apply for a tourist visa. Please find the Chinese Embassy Abroad below:

http://www.embassyworld.com/dev/result.p hp?guest=36&host=%25&count=0&menu=1

Always keep a photocopy of your passport, your travel insurance documents, air tickets and traveler's checks' serial numbers to help you recover lost or stolen information.

HEALTH & SAFETY IN CHINA
What are the principle health risks?

No country is immune from any health risk. While China has a good healthcare system, there are some diseases to be aware of before/during your travels to China . These are:

AIDS : Growing rapidly. The blood supply is not as safe as in a Western country.

Bronchial and Sinus ailments : There are high rates in cities with highest air pollution rates, especially Beijing , Shanghai and Guangzhou .

Cholera : This is notably present in western China .

Hepatitis A and B : Very common due to poor food storage, handling and cooking in many locations.

Rabies : Rabid dogs are a problem in many rural and semi-urban areas of China . Be cautious and move away from any non-domestic or freely roaming dogs in China .

Typhoid : Consider a vaccination for longer stays and especially if you are an adventurous eater.

Numerous other illnesses and diseases exist, but not in abnormally high or epidemic proportions.

What health precautions should I be aware of and tend to?

Consult with your local doctor or a travel health specialist to prepare for your trip to China . Make sure you receive all required shots and vaccinations. Make sure you have tested on TB and taken chest x-rays. You will have to be immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Typhoid. Bring the result of your HIV test results with you to China .

If you plan to travel to rural areas of China you should be vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis and obtain pills to protect yourself against Malaria. If you intend to stay in cities, these are not required. If you plan to travel to western China or Tibet , it is generally recommended to get a Rabies vaccination.

Is the food safe if I buy from a street vendor?

Avoid eating from street vendors. Their preparations do not adhere to any standards, and food they sell could cause stomach cramps if you are fortunate and severe diarrhea if you are unlucky. In China , poor food cooking, preparation and storage, as well as improper cleaning and disinfecting of cooking supplies is very common among street vendors.

How safe is China ?

Formal security is very strong in China and most things there follow regulations. Hence, China is one of the safest countries in the world. Of course, petty crime does exist, especially around major urban areas. Fortunately, there have not been any serious crimes committed recently against foreigners. If you are vigilant with prohibiting pick pocketing and purse snatching, you should be fine. Be extra vigilant in crowded places like stations and markets.

You should also not:

  • Show off your wallet and valuables.
  • Carry all your cash with you at all times, instead keep cash in a safety deposit box in your hotel/homebase.
  • Wear flashy jewelry.
  • Carry your passport or all your traveler's checks with you.
  • Quarrel and start fights with locals.
  • Travel alone in the dark and avoid closed off, dark areas.
  • Share your thoughts regarding Chinese politics. Keep any opinions to yourself.
IMMUNIZATIONS/VACCINATIONS
We strongly recommended interns to be vaccinated before travel to China . Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications by CDC ( http://wwwn.cdc.gov/ travel/destinationChina.aspx )

RECOMMENDED

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Chin a . Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc.

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG): Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with "standard" tourist itineraries, accommodations and food consumption behaviors.

Typhoid: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Southeast Asia , especially if visiting smaller cities, villages or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water.

Polio: Recommended for adult travelers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure.

Japanese encephalitis: Recommended if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis, see country-specific information.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map) and who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment, such as for an accident and for all adults requesting protection from HBV infection.

Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, hiking, or work. In addition, children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals and may not report bites.

MONEY MATTERS

Are ATMs easily available? If yes, which debit and credit cards are accepted?

Large hotels and tourist stores accept most credit cards like America Express, Diners Club, JCB, MasterCard and Visa cards. Local ATM machines and local banks usually surcharge you around $2-4 when you withdraw money their machines and your personal bank may render a charge. Make sure you alert your bank and credit card companies of your intent to travel to China so your account will not be flagged fraudulent.

What is the local currency and how do I know the exchange rate?

China 's official currency is RMB, also called Yuan. The currency comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 RMB. At the time of writing this, $100 USD is worth 679 RMB.

Where do I exchange my money and how much should I get?

Find a branch of Bank of China to cash your traveler's checks or to exchange your foreign cash. You can also exchange small amounts at hotels, tourist stores and the airport.

Is it safe to carry cash with me?

Carrying cash is not safe. Please do not carry a large amount of cash because crime does happen.

Important Note: Retain your receipts whenever you exchange any currency or traveler's checks to Chinese Yuan. You may be asked to show proof of the exchange. Without receipts, you will not be able to exchange Chinese currency to another currency before your departure from China !

FIELD SUPPORT AND SUPERVISION

How does IFRE help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Do you visit me?

Once your internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. Interns staying at the Xi'an homebase see our coordinator and staff daily. We recommend that you ask questions and make comments regarding your experience. Many minor issues can be avoided with a just little extra communication before they develop into major issues. Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff. If your project is located a great distance from our offices, then our local staff will communicate via email and/or phone.

We are available for you at the local office via email and phone before and during your trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe, healthy and happy.

COMMUNICATION

How do I make contact with IFRE's in-country coordinator?

Our China in-country coordinator Lives at the Xi'an homebase. Your personal placement documentation will include his contact details. The China information booklet included in the pre-departure informational packet has his information as well.

How do I contact my family once I arrive in to China ?

You can bring your UNLOCKED cell phone and buy a new SIM card. You can buy minutes in China to be used internationally. The new SIM card maintains your personal numbers in China as well as provides your number to your family. Calls to the USA and Canada from China will cost 2-10 cents/minute depending on the service carrier you choose (in China ?).

Direct dialing to International telephone numbers from China is available in most cities. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and phone booths on the streets. Local calls are generally charged at a modest fee in hotels.

The Chinese mobile phone networks are very advanced. Operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators.

Are internet services easily available?

There are internet cafes in most towns, but they can be noisy places sometimes with youth hanging out to play online games.

Can I bring my telephone from my home country?

Yes, you can but the charge will be extremely high if you do not change the SIM card. You must verify your home country phone is UNLOCKED or else a new SIM card will not work.

Can I purchase phone service once I arrive in China and how much does it cost?

Buying a Chinese Telecom SIM card will cost about 100 RMB. With this purchase price, you receive 50 RMB in minutes the other 50 RMB covers the price of the SIM card number. The SIM card should work with all major phone brands (if you bring your own) with no problem. Before departure, find out if your current mobile phone is internationally capable.

Climate in China

When is the best season to travel to/within China ?

The weather ranges throughout the large country of China . The fall season tends to be most temperate -September and early October. Rainfall is low and temperatures are very pleasant

Spring can be delightful. However, the weather is slightly unpredictable; hot days can be followed by cold nights. The average temperatures (50- 72°F) are similar to those in fall. Since the weather is unpredictable, you should prepare clothing both for chilly and warm weather.

Summer (from June to the end of August) can be extremely hot with a temperature above 90°F, especially in the rather famous “furnaces” of China : Wuhan , Tianjing, Chongqing and Nanchang . It is also the time that experiences most rainfall. The heavy rains can be very uncomfortable for travelers. If you travel, investing in an umbrella and plastic sandals is very necessary and highly recommended.

Winter can be incredibly cold in the north, but there are also compensations. If you want to attend the Harbin Ice Lantern Festival, winter is the best time for you.

It is a good idea to check the weather conditions of each city on the itinerary very carefully. Of course, if you choose the most attractive season to visit, you also choose the time when tourist spots and hotels are busiest. Nevertheless, whenever you choose to visit, China will definitely offer you various charming scenes around the country, regardless of the weather you experience.

Items to Bring

Many daily use items are available in China at a reasonable price. However, we suggest interns pack the following things:

. Camera Mobile phone (participants can use mobile phones after changing SIM cards)
. Sleeping bag

. Insect repellents  

. Sun-block/sun-screen
. Working gloves (if participants are joining conservation or construction projects) 
.  Maps of China , Xi'an , etc. 
.  Toiletries 
.  First-aid kit 
.  Flashlight 
.  Electricity adapter/converter
.  Sunglasses 
.  Footwear (for work and travel) 
.  Towel

What gift should I bring for my project?

It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for your hosts. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring something, it can be simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown logo, or pictures of your family and some local post cards.

If you want to bring gifts for your project (and if you are working for an orphanage) or a school please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads and games. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring multiples of the same item.
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