Thursday, March 12, 2015

Preparation and Visas

   Fast forward to 2014 my excitement to return to China is going on an emotional roller coaster. I am anxiously studying and practicing the HSK 6 exam. I will need it when I apply to my graduate studies program in the fall of 2015. 

   It's November and HSK 6 is laughing at me a month away. I contact YCC and say that I'm ready to apply to their program for the coming Spring. They let me know they have an advanced class starting in March. This is perfect! My contract in Soko ends on February 28th exactly! I'm seeing the stars align. I send the application fee through Paypal, a widely used and fairly trusted deliverer of money. 

   Weeks go by and I've heard nothing. I let the program know that I passed HSK 6. Completely unexpected! I get a congrats and personally feel happy that I can skip the incoming student exam that they claim to have.

   January arrives and I'm a bit worried. I email about the visa forms so that I can secure a student visa and get into one of the apartments listed on the website. Shanghai can be expensive but they are offering a shared room for 2300 yuan! Can't mess this up!

   They say they'll send the forms but some issues with DHL delay the process. They tell me to use a copy of the letter but the consulate won't accept it. They ask if I can just come in in February for a new class and use a tourist visa. I can't do that. I'm working and entering China on a tourist visa to work is illegal... A friend of mine suggests I call DHL. They resolve the issue and the paperwork is here! I rush myself over to the consulate and they are not willing to do the visa because the dates of the paperwork don't match up. Nicole, the owner(?) of YCC tells me this is not an issue and that the government's form always allows for a full year. I tell the consulate but they don't trust it. They apprehensively consent to a 180-day visa.

   No problem! That's all I'll need to finish their program do an internship and visit my family in the U.S. before starting grad school. I'm satisfied...but what about my apartment?

   It's mid February and I need to not only move out of my current place but also mail a few boxes to my new place! Classes start on the 9th. I ask if something's wrong and the apartment is unavailable? Maybe a current student is there? I ask if I should start searchin on my own. Finally in March Nicole says there is a place that the student will move soon and says I can send my packages to the school or there. If I don't like the place I can opt to find my own apartment. The pictures look good but the school seems like the safer option. I send them on and feel better. I can fly out now and simply do a hotel for the weekend.