Visas and Internet

Trip Start Feb 27, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bureaucracy is frustrating wherever you are, especially when dealing with passports and visas. My visa saga started back in Australia when they said that they only gave a maximum 3 month visa. I also had to re-do all my medical tests that I was required to do to earn my scholarship, which was quite time consuming in itself. Here in China, most of the students new this semester have to extend their visas, just as I do. The uni has set it out quite clearly what we have to do, collecting a number of different forms such as our admission notice and evidence of temporary residence given to us from the dormitory, among others. Last Tuesday, we also had to re-do again our medical checks with a Chinese doctor, although my tests done in Australia were so comprehensive that I didn't have to do anything, which was a relief. I had to pick up my medical certificate so I could also take that to have my visa extended. I got the heads up from one of my friends that it was a huge queue, so I ran in the 10 minute break we had during class, and was lucky to pick it up without waiting for it. After class, I was the first in line to present my documents to pay to send everything away to the entry/exit bureau. Unfortunately, my dorm had not stamped my temporary residence form with a red stamp, so I had to rush back to get them to stamp it. By the time I got back, less than ten minutes later, the queue was huge, and I had to wait an hour to have my turn again. It was a pretty agonising wait, as I was told everything else I had was perfect, I was just missing that little red stamp. I was not the only one annoyed with how captious the process was. One of my friends was sent away because the background on her photo was not white enough, and my roommate Saida didn't have enough enrollment and admission evidence. I understand the need to be careful with visas, and why it is so important to have everything so precise.  I pick up my new visa and passport in a few weeks, so hopefully that is the last I have to deal with any visas! 

The internet is also different from back home. Anybody who knows the Fishers knows that my dad ensures that we always have the latest gadgets, and any internet or computer problems, he can fix after he plays around with it. I have always taken his expertise for granted until I came here, and tried to fix my internet by dad talking me through it on a very weak phone signal! The internet itself works fine, but it was not until after I bought it that I figured out that only one plug in my room works, so Saida and I have to take turns using the internet. I like to think of myself as a good sharer, but it would be nice for both of us to use the internet whenever we want to call our families without worrying if the other one needs it. I bought a wifi box, and set it up, but that still doesn't seem to work. I'll keep playing with it and bugging dad, and I'm sure we'll work it out one of these days. Google also has moved out of China, so although it is still mostly accessible, sometimes it is quite slow, or the searches won't work. Moreover, sites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook are all difficult to access. Chatting with my fellow international students, many people have figured out different ways to access it, but the way I had planned to use is not very reliable. I felt a little disconnected at first, but in another way, it's quite enjoyable to have a rest from social media. I never realized how tiring it can be, being always connected.

I have had a great time the first few days exploring more of this huge city. Rebecca and Sammy took me out to a Japanese restaurant with their friends, which was so much fun. We had to remove our shoes and sit at a table that was just about on the floor. The food was delicious, quite different to the Japanese food that we have at home, which is interesting to see how different places interpret the same thing. I also got to practice a lot of my Chinese with Rebecca, Sammy and their (extremely patient) friends.
I also went out to a Mexican restaurant with my classmates. We figured out that apart from Africa, we had all continents of the world covered in our little group. It's pretty amazing to think about how we have all left our respective countries to come learn Chinese, and how China is becoming such an economical powerhouse, that so many of us think it is important to learn the language. I also think I'm very blessed to not only absorb the Chinese culture, but to learn about so many other cultures through my classmates. Two Danish friends were telling me that to get a drivers license, they can only have driving lessons with a qualified instructor, not with anyone else. Consequently, Danish learner drivers spend on average $12,000-$15,000 before they have even taken their final test. Ida said she even knew of someone who spent $70,000 on her driving lessons, which I can't comprehend. I also expected a language barrier here, but not when speaking to an American. I never realised the extent that Australians use slang until she answered my questions literally. For instance, I asked "how did you find class?" and she replied that she found the room number on her timetable, etc. It's been fun finding these little differences between everyone.

Everyday I am learning more, and getting more used to daily life here. It has been so rewarding so far, I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for me next!
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Lyn on


You must have been up early today to write the blog and have it on line. An amazing account of beaurocracy! and just when you thought it was all finalised.

Which language do you use when withyour 'international group' socially?

Joan Jay on

What a lot of learnikng has gone on in such a short time! Glad you have your visa thing sorted out at last. Dad will be coming soon and hopefully he can sort out your internet problems if you have not already done so. It may pay you to pay for an electrician to fix your power point. Times like this you need Gordon! Glad it wasn't me who had to sit so low on the floor at the Japanese restaurant. Getting down is easy enough, but getting up is quite another matter. How is the smog? Miss you Nanna xx

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