Whether it’s temporary or permanent, moving abroad to China can be an overwhelming wave encompassing culture, food and language. To prepare yourself beforehand, download this starter pack of essential apps to start your acclimation to the Chinese lifestyle.
Lay the groundwork by downloading WeChat and a good VPN to both your phone and laptop. For staying updated with current events, accessing social media, a reliable VPN is needed – I used Express VPN and didn’t have any major issues. Inevitably, with a VPN you’ll find the internet connection frustratingly slow at times (although forces a great detox from social media; the circle buffer of death appears so often you just give up), which is probably an issue with VPN providers alike. With increasing government crackdown on VPNs, it’s best not to rely on the free one you found in the app store, but purchase one instead.
Meanwhile, WeChat is how you’ll keep in touch with anyone in China. From group chats with friends, work assignments and transactions, WeChat is the Swiss army knife of the app world. In fact, the prevalent use of WeChat in business environments is one of the downsides to working in China. Blurring the line between work and personal time, it can become pretty impossible to escape the office. Interestingly, read receipts aren’t a service WeChat provides, citing the importance of user privacy (really.) for the absence of such a feature.