Difference between pages "Retirement" and "Packing List from China Volunteers Perspective"

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Employees who are covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) are eligible to receive credit towards retirement for their Peace Corps Volunteer service. To do so, you must make a deposit for this period of service.
+
==Packing List from China Volunteers Perspective==
  
While you are a Peace Corps Volunteer, no money is deducted from your monthly readjustment allowance for retirement. Your deposit is an amount equal to the money that would have been deducted and put into the retirement fund, plus any accrued interest. The amount you pay to receive retirement credit under FERS is 3% of your monthly readjustment allowance plus interest. Under CSRS the deposit is 7% of your monthly readjustment allowance plus interest.
+
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in China and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in China.
  
Deposits made more than two years after October 1, 1993, or more than two years after the date on which the individual making the deposit first becomes a covered employee, whichever is later, must include interest, compounded annually and beginning on the date of the expiration of the two-year period. Please remember, your training period is not creditable service.
+
Note: Volunteer annotations can be read in italics.
  
Why should you make the deposit? To receive a monthly annuity from the federal government, you must be vested in a retirement system. Being vested in FERS or CSRS requires five years of creditable civilian service. Peace Corps staff positions are limited to 30-month tours, so having your volunteer service credited toward retirement frequently adds enough time to meet the vesting requirement.
+
See the alternative official welcome book '''[[Packing list for China]]''' (which can also be edited)
  
Also, under FERS, your retirement annuity is calculated as 1% of the average of your high-three average salary multiplied by your number of years of service. So, additional years will increase the amount of your annuity.
+
===General Clothing===
  
For example:
+
•    SmartWool socks (''Thick socks are good for the winter. Knee socks feel warm.'')
High-3 is $70,000 and 20 years of service<br>
 
1% of $70,000 is $700<br>
 
$700 x 20 is $14,000 annuity per year<br>
 
Adding two years increases the annuity: $700 x 22 is $15,400<br>
 
  
Or, if you are under CSRS, your annuity is calculated as 1.5% of your high-3 for your first five years of service, 1.75% of your high-3 for the next five years and 2% of your high-3 for any remaining years.
+
•    Good cotton underwear ''(If you are wedded to certain undergarments, bring them. If not, they are available here.)''
  
Once you are hired in a permanent appointment, you may begin the service credit process by completing a SF-3108, FERS Application to Make Service Credit Deposit for Civilian Service or a SF-2803, CSRS Application for Deposit or Redeposit (available at your agency's human resources department). After completing the application, request a Verification of Service letter from Volunteer and PSC Financial Services at the Peace Corps (address provided below), and submit it to your agency's human resources department. Your agency will finalize the application and send it to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM will then calculate the amount you must pay for retirement credit and bill you directly. Payments are made to OPM.
+
•    Two-three pairs of khakis (''Or all purpose pants, but don't be afraid of color, variety. Khaki could get old.'') and two pairs of comfortable pants for leisure and travel (one pair of jeans and one pair of pants with zip-off legs)
  
Receiving a bill from OPM in no way obligates you to make the service credit payment. However, interest will continue to accrue until the payment is made. If you choose not to make the payment, you will not receive credit for your Peace Corps Volunteer service in your retirement calculation.
+
•    Four to six business casual shirts (men should have at least one shirt with a collar that can be worn with a tie)
  
For your reference, a copy of the Public Law 103-82 allowing Volunteer service to be creditable towards retirement is available in HRM. The CSRS and FERS Handbook is also available on OPM's website. If you have any questions, please contact: Certifying Officer, Volunteer and PSC Financial Services, Peace Corps Headquarters, 1111 20th Street NW, Washington, D.C.20526; or phone 202.692.1770. 
+
•    One dressy outfit (a sport coat and a tie for men, a dress/skirt for women) ''for induction and banquets at campus''
  
 +
•    A good raincoat (a light raincoat, since it rains more in the summer) ''Yes!''
  
==External Links==
+
•    Two pairs of long underwear (light/medium) ''Yes! You will live in these for several months.''
[http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.former.benefits.fedretire Peace Corps Volunteer Service Credit for Retirement] Official US Peace Corps Website
+
 
 +
•    Winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf (''I brought a down coat and was so glad I did. Alternatively, you can have down coats made here.'')
 +
 
 +
•    One or two heavy wool sweaters
 +
 
 +
•    Two to four long-sleeved shirts for layering
 +
 
 +
•    Shorts for sports/leisure
 +
 
 +
•    Two to four casual shirts for travel/leisure (shirts with a little spandex are great since your clothes will stretch out)
 +
 
 +
•    Pantyhose or tights (thick cotton or wool tights are important if you plan to wear skirts or dresses in the winter)
 +
 
 +
•    Easy-care skirts (not too short, at least knee-length), and maybe a wool skirt for winter
 +
 
 +
•    One or two short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses (no spaghetti straps) for summer (''Chinese women tend to wear dresses and heals. That doesn't mean you need to, just a heads up.'')
 +
 
 +
=== Shoes === 
 +
Note that good shoes are available in China, but only in smaller sizes (up to size 8 for women and up to size 9 for men).
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of sneakers (brand names are available locally, but at American prices)
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of teaching shoes (sturdy, comfortable, warm for winter)
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of sturdy sandals (leather is recommended) to wear in the warm season
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of waterproof hiking boots
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of dress shoes
 +
 
 +
•    One pair of “kick-around” shoes
 +
 
 +
===Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items===
 +
 
 +
•    Deodorant (can be difficult to find in China)
 +
 
 +
•    A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to have while the medical office orders your medication)
 +
 
 +
•    Contact lens solutions (available locally; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contact lenses, but most Volunteers who choose to have been able to wear them. You should still bring two pairs of glasses)
 +
 
 +
•    Any special makeup, facial soaps, or lotions you might want (''You might miss your favorites.'')
 +
 
 +
•    Tampons (hard to find in-country)
 +
 
 +
===Kitchen===
 +
 
 +
Most cooking supplies are available in-country, including eating and cooking utensils.
 +
 
 +
•    Spices: basil, thyme, sage, or other Western seasonings you use (can be purchased in Chengdu, ''but you generally have to buy in large quantities'' and are nice to bring if you have favorites)
 +
 
 +
•    A nonelectric coffeemaker if you drink coffee (available locally but American prices); a French press is a good alternative and can be bought in Chengdu and at some other sites -- ''I would say no need. We bought a French press here. The trickier thing is ground coffee.''
 +
 
 +
•    Baking pans and measuring cups (if you love to bake and want to buy a toaster oven in Chengdu—or maybe a former Volunteer left you one—you might need some supplies!)
 +
 
 +
===Miscellaneous===
 +
 
 +
•    Locks for travel and to keep valuables secure in your residence ''I wouldn't worry.''
 +
 
 +
•    Money belt or neck pouch
 +
 
 +
•    Sleeping bag that packs small for travel/warmth in winter
 +
 
 +
•    Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool
 +
 
 +
•    Watch (durable, water-resistant) "All over China."
 +
 
 +
•    Camera, filters, and extra lens cap; batteries are available locally but may be difficult to find
 +
 
 +
•    Small gifts such as stickers, stamps, coins, maps, key chains, etc.
 +
 
 +
•    Headlamp (great for travel and working in the dark when you need both hands)
 +
 
 +
•    Duct tape ''(not available in China, but things that may break or need sealing are)''
 +
 
 +
•    Musical instruments if you play (also available locally at reasonable prices)
 +
 
 +
•    Stain stick for laundry (your clothes will get filthy, so bring a few)
 +
 
 +
•    Earplugs (for the loud 6 a.m. wakeup call on campus)
 +
 
 +
•    Fitted sheets and pillowcases (schools provide sheets, but they are not fitted); perhaps flannel for winter ''Flannel sheets are nice!''
 +
 
 +
•    Pictures of clothing from catalogs if you plan to have clothes made
 +
 
 +
•    Games such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Scattergories, and chess
 +
 
 +
•    Frisbee
 +
 
 +
•    Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China ''Nice to have, but you can also buy pdfs of Lonely Planet on line. Also LP has a guide to SW China. Nice once you get your placement.''
 +
 
 +
•    Mandarin Chinese phrase book ''PC gives you a dictionary and language training. We never used ours.''
 +
 
 +
•    Checkbook (note that checks written from your U.S. bank account can take 40 days to clear at the local bank) ''I would leave this at home with someone who could send off checks if necessary. The need to write a check in China seems little to none.''
 +
 
 +
A key chain with a small flashlight attached
 +
 
 +
•    Copies of your diploma and teaching certificates (universities may ask for these) ''I think this is required packing by PC.''
 +
 
 +
•    Calendar (hard to find here)''undated planners are easy to find''
 +
 
 +
•    Picture frames (also hard to find; if you like frames for your family pictures, etc., bring some) ''I wouldn't waste the space.''
 +
 
 +
•    Documents from home (if you are considering a future move, such as graduate school, etc. It will make your life much easier if you bring certain documents or copies from home [e.g., GRE scores, an unofficial transcript]; if you own a house and are renting, bring a copy of your lease, and if you may sell your house, pack a copy of deed information)
 +
 
 +
•    Laptop ''Yes!''
 +
 
 +
•    iPod or MP3 player, CDs, speakers ''You can buy all this here. We brought iPods and bought speakers here.''
 +
 
 +
•    Contact information for former employers, references, schools, election office (to request an absentee ballot), bank
 +
 
 +
•    Hard and electronic copies of resume
 +
 
 +
•    Checkbook and ATM card tied to account ''If you are B of A in the States there's no fee to use your ATM with China Construction Bank.''
 +
 
 +
•    Credit card "Helpful for international travel and online bookings and purchases."
 +
 
 +
•    Power of Attorney
 +
 
 +
===Books to supplement those assigned by the college. ===
 +
 
 +
These might include:
 +
•    The ESL Miscellany: A Treasury of Cultural and Linguistic Information: New 21st Century by Raymond C. Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, revised edition 2004)
 +
 
 +
•    High school history books
 +
 
 +
•    Books about your city or area
 +
 
 +
•    Children’s books (the pictures can be useful)
 +
 
 +
•    Books about U.S. holidays or customs
 +
 
 +
•    Literature anthologies
 +
 
 +
•    General references like a world almanac
 +
 
 +
•    A writing and grammar handbook
 +
 
 +
•    Activity books for English conversation and environmental classes
 +
 
 +
Note: Books are really heavy to pack. The Peace Corps Information and Resource Center (IRC) is a great resource, as well as the Book Aid International program. Many reference materials are also available online. It may be more effective to bring a flash disk with your favorite handouts and lessons, and to print those things in-country. Family and friends can also send books from home if needed. ''PC and the IRC don't have a good selection of books for PCVs personal use, however.''
 +
 
 +
•    Pictures or slides of your family, hometown, and “typical” America (supermarkets, schools, street scenes, historical sites, weddings and other celebrations)
 +
 
 +
•    World atlas and maps of the world, United States, your state, etc.
 +
 
 +
•    Restaurant menus, job application forms, sales announcements, product catalogs, college brochures, recycling handouts, and sightseeing brochures to use in classes
 +
 
 +
You may consider having some things, like heavy and bulky winter clothing, sent to you after you have arrived at your site, or you may consider bringing funds to purchase clothing (depending on your size). '''The key is to bring what you love and don’t bring too much!'''

Latest revision as of 13:16, 23 August 2016

Packing List from China Volunteers Perspective

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in China and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that each experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in China.

Note: Volunteer annotations can be read in italics.

See the alternative official welcome book Packing list for China (which can also be edited)

General Clothing

• SmartWool socks (Thick socks are good for the winter. Knee socks feel warm.)

• Good cotton underwear (If you are wedded to certain undergarments, bring them. If not, they are available here.)

• Two-three pairs of khakis (Or all purpose pants, but don't be afraid of color, variety. Khaki could get old.) and two pairs of comfortable pants for leisure and travel (one pair of jeans and one pair of pants with zip-off legs)

• Four to six business casual shirts (men should have at least one shirt with a collar that can be worn with a tie)

• One dressy outfit (a sport coat and a tie for men, a dress/skirt for women) for induction and banquets at campus

• A good raincoat (a light raincoat, since it rains more in the summer) Yes!

• Two pairs of long underwear (light/medium) Yes! You will live in these for several months.

• Winter coat, gloves, hat, and scarf (I brought a down coat and was so glad I did. Alternatively, you can have down coats made here.)

• One or two heavy wool sweaters

• Two to four long-sleeved shirts for layering

• Shorts for sports/leisure

• Two to four casual shirts for travel/leisure (shirts with a little spandex are great since your clothes will stretch out)

• Pantyhose or tights (thick cotton or wool tights are important if you plan to wear skirts or dresses in the winter)

• Easy-care skirts (not too short, at least knee-length), and maybe a wool skirt for winter

• One or two short-sleeved or sleeveless dresses (no spaghetti straps) for summer (Chinese women tend to wear dresses and heals. That doesn't mean you need to, just a heads up.)

Shoes

Note that good shoes are available in China, but only in smaller sizes (up to size 8 for women and up to size 9 for men).

• One pair of sneakers (brand names are available locally, but at American prices)

• One pair of teaching shoes (sturdy, comfortable, warm for winter)

• One pair of sturdy sandals (leather is recommended) to wear in the warm season

• One pair of waterproof hiking boots

• One pair of dress shoes

• One pair of “kick-around” shoes

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

• Deodorant (can be difficult to find in China)

• A three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to have while the medical office orders your medication)

• Contact lens solutions (available locally; note that the Peace Corps does not recommend wearing contact lenses, but most Volunteers who choose to have been able to wear them. You should still bring two pairs of glasses)

• Any special makeup, facial soaps, or lotions you might want (You might miss your favorites.)

• Tampons (hard to find in-country)

Kitchen

Most cooking supplies are available in-country, including eating and cooking utensils.

• Spices: basil, thyme, sage, or other Western seasonings you use (can be purchased in Chengdu, but you generally have to buy in large quantities and are nice to bring if you have favorites)

• A nonelectric coffeemaker if you drink coffee (available locally but American prices); a French press is a good alternative and can be bought in Chengdu and at some other sites -- I would say no need. We bought a French press here. The trickier thing is ground coffee.

• Baking pans and measuring cups (if you love to bake and want to buy a toaster oven in Chengdu—or maybe a former Volunteer left you one—you might need some supplies!)

Miscellaneous

• Locks for travel and to keep valuables secure in your residence I wouldn't worry.

• Money belt or neck pouch

• Sleeping bag that packs small for travel/warmth in winter

• Swiss army knife or Leatherman tool

• Watch (durable, water-resistant) "All over China."

• Camera, filters, and extra lens cap; batteries are available locally but may be difficult to find

• Small gifts such as stickers, stamps, coins, maps, key chains, etc.

• Headlamp (great for travel and working in the dark when you need both hands)

• Duct tape (not available in China, but things that may break or need sealing are)

• Musical instruments if you play (also available locally at reasonable prices)

• Stain stick for laundry (your clothes will get filthy, so bring a few)

• Earplugs (for the loud 6 a.m. wakeup call on campus)

• Fitted sheets and pillowcases (schools provide sheets, but they are not fitted); perhaps flannel for winter Flannel sheets are nice!

• Pictures of clothing from catalogs if you plan to have clothes made

• Games such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, Scattergories, and chess

• Frisbee

• Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to China Nice to have, but you can also buy pdfs of Lonely Planet on line. Also LP has a guide to SW China. Nice once you get your placement.

• Mandarin Chinese phrase book PC gives you a dictionary and language training. We never used ours.

• Checkbook (note that checks written from your U.S. bank account can take 40 days to clear at the local bank) I would leave this at home with someone who could send off checks if necessary. The need to write a check in China seems little to none.

A key chain with a small flashlight attached

• Copies of your diploma and teaching certificates (universities may ask for these) I think this is required packing by PC.

• Calendar (hard to find here)undated planners are easy to find

• Picture frames (also hard to find; if you like frames for your family pictures, etc., bring some) I wouldn't waste the space.

• Documents from home (if you are considering a future move, such as graduate school, etc. It will make your life much easier if you bring certain documents or copies from home [e.g., GRE scores, an unofficial transcript]; if you own a house and are renting, bring a copy of your lease, and if you may sell your house, pack a copy of deed information)

• Laptop Yes!

• iPod or MP3 player, CDs, speakers You can buy all this here. We brought iPods and bought speakers here.

• Contact information for former employers, references, schools, election office (to request an absentee ballot), bank

• Hard and electronic copies of resume

• Checkbook and ATM card tied to account If you are B of A in the States there's no fee to use your ATM with China Construction Bank.

• Credit card "Helpful for international travel and online bookings and purchases."

• Power of Attorney

Books to supplement those assigned by the college.

These might include: • The ESL Miscellany: A Treasury of Cultural and Linguistic Information: New 21st Century by Raymond C. Clark (Pro Lingua Associates, revised edition 2004)

• High school history books

• Books about your city or area

• Children’s books (the pictures can be useful)

• Books about U.S. holidays or customs

• Literature anthologies

• General references like a world almanac

• A writing and grammar handbook

• Activity books for English conversation and environmental classes

Note: Books are really heavy to pack. The Peace Corps Information and Resource Center (IRC) is a great resource, as well as the Book Aid International program. Many reference materials are also available online. It may be more effective to bring a flash disk with your favorite handouts and lessons, and to print those things in-country. Family and friends can also send books from home if needed. PC and the IRC don't have a good selection of books for PCVs personal use, however.

• Pictures or slides of your family, hometown, and “typical” America (supermarkets, schools, street scenes, historical sites, weddings and other celebrations)

• World atlas and maps of the world, United States, your state, etc.

• Restaurant menus, job application forms, sales announcements, product catalogs, college brochures, recycling handouts, and sightseeing brochures to use in classes

You may consider having some things, like heavy and bulky winter clothing, sent to you after you have arrived at your site, or you may consider bringing funds to purchase clothing (depending on your size). The key is to bring what you love and don’t bring too much!