Norris, you can definitely do it, and props to you for wanting to!
I spent a semester in England, the majority of a year in New Zealand, 5+ months backpacking in Asia, 5 weeks in Haiti after the earthquake (and a few subsequent, shorter ones) and many smaller trips all over the place. It takes a LOT of work and planning, but it is 100% doable.
For one thing, definitely get a loaner pump, and talk to them about international replacements. (or, as someone suggested, go back on shots. I’ve been on pumps for 18 years, but I definitely considered it at one point because it is a LOT less gear than life with a pump!). Try to stock up on as many supplies ahead of time, and depending on your living situation, to either bring it with you, or arrange (conservatively-timed) care packages. I was fortunate in NZ that I had friends there already, and shipped a few months worth of supplies to a few different people in the county, and I had visitors bring insulin with them halfway through, although truthfully I could have carried enough of that. At the time (10 years ago or so) the supplier were unwilling to send them to me in other countries, even though they had locations (or subsidiaries, or whatever) there, because they’re technically different entities, so my only choices were to either carry with me or have people at home ship them. Once you’re settled in China, you’ll have an address that your friends and/or family can ship to, just be sure to use a reliable international shipper like FedEx or DHL (again, hard supplies, not meds or insulin). I did run into trouble trying to replace a broken pump several times; New Zealand wanted to hit me with an exorbitant tax on medical supplies, and I can’t remember how I got around it. Again, talk to representatives at all of your companies before you go. And there are some good Diabetes Educators who can help you with this, because they’ve seen other clients through it.
You MUST have good health and travel insurance before you go, because there is of course an increased chance that you’ll need help and/or to come home. It also helps to sign up with a service that can connect you to a doctor that speaks english in an emergency (there are several companies that do this), AND to identify a doctor (ideally an endocrinologist) before you go that you could potentially meet with upon arrival and further help connect you to resources on the ground. Be aware, too, that there is phenomenal medical care in both Singapore and Hong Kong, and it might be worth going to one of those locations 6 months in to meet with a specialist, if there isn’t anyone near where you’ll be located. But it might also be worth it to come home midway thought–to see your doc, to refresh your supplies, and for the mental break. If you’ve never been away for a long time–or even if you have–it’s nice to take a break if you have the time and money.
I don’t know if you were trying to go through a particular program or to a certain location, but I know that a lot of programs are often more comfortable putting us in cities than rural areas. And while that may not always be the extensive adventure that many of us are seeking, my advice to you is that if it is the only way for you to get there–do it! I used England, and then New Zealand, as progressive jumping off points to learn what I was capable of/what I needed. And I’ll admit, it often still feels like I’m making it up each time.
Frio packs and coolers are helpful for keeping insulin cool. So is a bowl of water (if keep insulin in water or on ice, I recommend keeping the vials themselves in a sealed plastic bag, so no bacteria from the water get in), and even a washcloth that was kept in cool water (or frozen the night before–the cloth, not the insulin!) and wrapped around your vial for the day, if traveling. In my experience, heat has not been as detrimental to insulin as I’d been warned about. It definitely affects it, but it does not destroy it. So you do what you can, and adjust your doses as necessary (I’m talking normal, living in a tropical place, heat. Not keeping it on the stove). And yes, bring extra. Unfortunately, for this to work, you will need to bring more stuff with you than your peers.
I’m sorry for the length of my post, but this is something I feel very passionate about, and I’m fairly experienced with. It can be extremely frustrating, and sometimes it feels like everything is against us, and it certainly doesn’t feel fair–but you CAN do this! I don’t come on here much, so I’m not positive how this works, but you’re welcome to contact me directly with more questions if there is a way to do so.