How all started
All started with an email from my Spanish University where it was written: “Scholarship to study the Chinese language during one course at the University of Huaihua, Hunan, China”
China?, Why not?
I would never believe in studying for one year in China. Traveling has always been a passion and, I consider myself a lucky girl because since I was a kid I always had the opportunity to travel and visit different countries. However, I have never been to an Asian country and, being honest, I was not the kind of person that was really attracted or interested in Asian culture (no offense). Even though, once I read that email I said to myself: “Why not?” As a famous quote of a Chinese philosopher says:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”Lao Tzu
So, I decided to take that extraordinary opportunity and apply for the scholarship.
I send all the documentation to my Spanish University because they only offered two places. When they send to me the email of the resolution of the scholarship I was really nervous. Unluckily, within the two people they chose, it was not me. I was the second person on the waiting list. I was extremely sad because I already had the illusion and I didn’t have much hope that those people turn the scholarship down. As I already finish the course at my University I was not checking the email often. Four days after I checked the email again and … surprise! The scholarship was for me. I was overjoyed and I couldn’t believe it. I replied to the message quickly asking what I had to do. They ask me to send “some” documentation…
What do I need to study in China?
The following list is all the documents I was required to send to the Chinese University in order to apply for a “Student Visa”:
- Application Form for International Students
- Foreigner Physical Examination Form
- Blood test
- Chest x-ray
- Statement of student status and transcript from current university
- High school diploma
- Copies of my passport
- Document accepting the scholarship
- Non-criminal record certificate
Some of these documents were only filling up forms but some of them took more time. For example the Foreigner Physical Examination Form; I had to take a chest x-ray and attached to the email but, I had to ask in the hospital to record on a CD. The electrocardiogram was only about scan the paper and send it. As I had to go to China, the blood test was not a common one; I mean, they were asking about some diseases like yellow fever, AIDS, cholera, etc. It took time and a lot of days going to see doctors.
The other document that took me a while to achieve was the non-criminal record certificate. In Spain, everyone who has to be in contact with the minor child has to have this document. You cannot have it on the Internet so I had to go to Barcelona.
Fortunately, Barcelona is just about one hour by car from my home. I went expressly to the capital of Catalonia for the paper but, once I arrived there, the queue was really long. Already inside the office and I asked for a paper to wait for my turn, and … I couldn’t believe what they said to me: “We open at 9.30 and we close at 13.00. Today it will be impossible to do it because, as you can see, there are a lot of people waiting” My question was: “So, how can I do it?” Their answer: “You should come tomorrow at around 5 o’clock in the morning”. And, this is what I did. The next day I went with my father to Barcelona, going out of my home at 4 o’clock in the morning and wait in line for 4 eternal hours.
Once I sent all the information I just had to wait they send me the admission letter and the necessary documents to go to the consulate and apply for the visa. When I went to the consulate to apply for the visa I took all the documentation with me and they said in one exact week I would have to go there again to pick up my visa. I went on Wednesday but on Friday they called me asking for my old passport. In Spain when the passport expires, normally people throw it, in my case I kept it due to all the stamps I had from other travels. Luckily for me, I had it and on Monday I had to go to Barcelona again to give them my old passport though in Spain is not a valid document anymore.
Meanwhile, I start to search for information about China: bank issues, telephone cards, medical insurance, currency, internet censure, vaccinate, etc. There was no obligatory vaccination but, just in case, I decided to take all vaccinates that my Spanish doctors recommended. I took shots for: Japanese encephalitis, rabies, typhoid fever, and MACWY135.
After all, the last thing I had to do was squeeze my life into a suitcase and be ready for the incredible adventure that was waiting for me. I had a combination of feelings: positive ones and others that were not so positive. I thought that was the best decision I could ever make because I am young, I have never traveled alone and moreover because I would grow up. In fact, moving away from my comfort zone and turn my life into a journey full of uncertain things would make me face new challenges, grow up as a person and know better myself and the world. As I said, I would go out from my comfort zone, from my routine, but that was something that I wasn’t sure if makes me excited or be afraid.
Being almost one year apart from my family, my friends, and my dog… that was the part that scared me. Because it is said that “Whoever is absent, soon ceases to be necessary” But whoever loves you, will always have you in his or her mind, due to distance separate bodies, not feelings.
Finally, I would like to express thanks especially to my family, the ones who always encourage and support me wherever I am.