What should I send in a care package to China?
China, the world's most populous country, is an undisputed favourite among British students looking for a culture-shock adventure. In fact, around 36,000 Britons live permanently in China, many of whom are young adults teaching English in the country's two biggest cities: Beijing and Shanghai.
This fascinating place has so much to offer for inquisitive minds, but it's easy to get a little homesick when on the other side of the planet. For those who miss the UK's quirks and niceties, a care package from a loved one can make a world of difference. If you're considering sending one to a friend or relative, the following ideas may provide some inspiration.
Food and drink
Most of us have favourite foods and drinks that we take for granted, but many aren't available elsewhere in the world. While certain sayings may lead you to believe otherwise, decent tea can be pretty difficult to find in China; many expats complain that Chinese tea just isn't strong enough for their liking. So start by packing some hearty PG Tips or something similar.
As well as tea, you might want to consider some chocolate and ketchup, seeing as the Chinese variants tend to taste a little different to the famous British brands to which we're more accustomed.
Ask any expat what they find most difficult to buy in China and most will mention deodorant. For some reason, it's just not as readily available as it is in the UK, despite the climate in the east - where most Brits are based - being warmer and more humid.
Even if it can be found in one of China's confusing little pharmacies, it's unlikely to be as strong as the products your loved one is used to, so it's worth including some in your package. Stick to the roll-on variety, though, as aerosols are rarely allowed through customs.
Clothing sizes in China don't quite match those in the UK, as the population as a whole is a little smaller. As such, it can be difficult for larger westerners to find garments that fit them properly. The two main problem areas are shoes and trousers, so if the recipient is particularly tall or wears shoes size 11 or bigger, consider sending some items out.
Football is massively popular in Southeast Asia, but it's not always easy to get hold of replica shirts from English league teams - especially those playing below the top flight. If your loved one is football mad, give them the chance to represent their club by sending the latest jersey.
Last, but certainly not least, finish your care package off with a few things to remind the recipient of home. Before you tape the box up, be sure to throw in a copy of their favourite magazine, a recent newspaper and a framed photo of the family.
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