For All Incoming Faculty

1. Cross-Cultural Servanthood
By Duane Elmer
This book is written from a distinctly Christian perspective, but the principles laid out within are universal. It is rare to find in one book so much quality information. The concept of entering a foreign culture from the attitude of serving and the principles describing what that looks like will be of inestimable value to any reader.

2. Survival Kit to Overseas Living
By L. Robert Kohls
This book contains a wealth of practical information about moving overseas and life there.

3. Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide
By Craig Storti
This is a workbook that walks the reader through basic cross-cultural communications principles.
There are many good examples and case studies within.

4. Teaching in a Distant Classroom
By Michael H. Romanowski and Teri McCarthy
This is also written from a faith perspective about working and living overseas.

For Conversational English Instructors

1. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (3rd Edition)
By H. Douglas Brown
Be sure to get the third edition as it is significantly better than the first two. This book provides an excellent overview to the key concepts in language acquisition and instruction. It also lays out the key principles behind communicative language teaching.

More Travel and Culture Books

1. Lonely Planet Discover China (Travel Guide) – you will have lots of opportunities to travel. This will help you plan and budget. You may also want to get Southeast Asia travel guides during the long winter and summer holiday.

2. Decoding China: A Handbook for Traveling, Studying, and Working in Today’s China – you may find reading this book in layers will help. Read it before you come and then read it about a year later and get a lot more out of what the author is saying.

3. Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot – And Cold – Climate Cultures – This is a book that will be very helpful for teachers who come from North America or Europe (Cold Climate) and ease you into a hot climate culture of Asia.

by Dr Gary Lee Todd

4. Henan, China, History Book on Kindle – Two years ago Henan University Press published one of my books about Chinese history. I wrote it specifically for foreigners and briefly went through all of Chinese history from the dinosaurs to Chairman Mao, illustrating every period with photos from Henan Province, the birthplace of Chinese civilization, and the place where I live and work. The hard copy is available on Chinese websites. Recently one of my colleagues took the book and uploaded it into an electronic format for people who use Kindle. It is now available worldwide from Amazon. The English text and the 190 photos of historic sites and museum artifacts are the same as the print version, but the Chinese text is not available. I have three other books completed: Bronze Art of Ancient China, Jade Art of Ancient China, and Military Art of Ancient China, each with over 500 photos. The first is currently being readied for Kindle, with the others to follow eventually. All photos are also available on my website. The first link on the first entry will take you to the complete photo collection hosted on Flickr. Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D. Professor of History, Sias International University, Xinzheng, Henan, China

Other Items to Consider Buying Before you Come

1. Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite – you will be bummed not to get the latest book when you want it. Having a kindle also can reduce a lot of weight as you travel between your home country and Asia. A Kindle is a must have for those who read 5+ new books a year.

2. World MAP, China Map and USA Map – you can get maps in China, but they won’t be in English. Having a map of China is so helpful as students are able to show you where their home town is on the map.

3. America 2015 Wall Calendar – students will want to see lots of pictures where you are from. You may want to get a State Wall Calendar.

4. Picture Books: Walgreens, Snapfish, Mixbook (30% off), Photobook (60% off), Costco. Having a photobook of your family, friends, and home country/state will start a lot of fun conversations with your students. Spend the time before you leave to gather your pictures and arrange them in a way that will engage the students.

5. Vitamins, Supplements and Prescription Drugs: bring a year’s supply. Walgreens often has a sale or buy in bulk at Costco.Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 5.11.07 PM

6. Anything unique or special about your hometown. Be creative and think what can I put on a shelf, coffee table or hang on a wall.

7. An unlocked GSM SmartPhone. So important to have a way to quickly take pictures and communicate with Apps like WeChat with your students. Apple and Samsung products are cheaper in the US.

8. Any teacher needs hand sanitizer handy in their school bag. Any Westerner living in a developing country needs hand sanitizer 3-4 times a day with bathrooms not providing soap or stinking so bad you don’t want to use them. So, teachers in developing countries have double the reason to load up on sanitizer. Is it available in China? Yes, but this is a great deal on Amazon and it will last you a few months until you have an online Taobao account set-up.

Read more about suggested items to pack in this article “What to Bring Your First Year in China”.

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