You all have surely heard of internet censorship in China. This is a very big and complex topic that we will definitely be chatting about during our time in China. Many websites we often use in other parts of the world will not be available without the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Long story short, a VPN basically makes your computer think it’s in a different country where internet is not as highly censored. You can legally have a VPN in China but you can only obtain one before entering the country. The vast majority of people in China do not have a VPN and therefore simply work within the level of internet provided locally. Your instructor team will have a VPN that you can use from time to time but be prepared to spend the vast majority of the next 3 months without access to sites like Google/Gmail, Facebook/Instagram and other social media and a wide variety of news and entertainment websites. Its also important to note that even though the instructor team does have a VPN…it doesn’t always work! (The Yak Board does not require a VPN and the instructor team is in regular communication with the office through multiple channels that also do not require a VPN).
So what should you do?
*A few notes on sending letters to Kunming: Give them plenty of time to arrive (a couple of weeks). Don’t send anything bigger than a letter. Don’t send anything valuable. There’s a chance that your letter may never arrive.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Marcus, Zhaoling, Qianping