Thursday, May 28, 2009


I’ve been thinking and thinking… and the more I think the more I realize that I am not that keen on doing another semester (level 6 out of 8) of Mandarin at Suzhou University… I’m just a bit over the whole university thing. I feel it is too much of a lecture, and at this point, I don’t need to listen to others anymore (I prefer listening to my radio anyways), but speak, and practice everything that I already know! New vocabulary I can learn on my own. Texts and books I can read on my own. But I would like a teacher a few times a week in order to keep the motivation and also the discipline.. If I would study completely on my own I know how it would go –I would rarely open the book! And never write Chinese characters.

The problem (like always) is the visa…. I don’t know how to obtain a student visa unless I am studying at a university? Does anyone know if it is possible to get a student visa (for at least 6 months, with multiple entries) from any other education institution than a Chinese university? Yesterday I was researching Suzhou’s private mandarin schools (Boland, New Concept Mandarin etc) but none of their courses seemed suitable, and also, they didn’t mention anything about a student visa, so I am guessing that that one is a dead end. I would so much love to have a private tutor for 1,5 hours/ every day… I think my Chinese could really improve if I did that. But having a tutor AND going to the university is going to be too expensive.. And only having a tutor doesn't solve the visa issue... Ah, this visa thing is a true pain.

Anyways, I know this is a long shot but I still thought I’d ask you guys if you know of any ‘banfa.’

(one other reason why I don’t want to pay for another semester at the university is because I am thinking about starting to apply for jobs. Not English teaching jobs, but something that I really want to do).

Ps. I'll be in Sh for the next couple of days so I don't know how much I'll be able to view my blog in case you are wondering why your comment isn't being published. 


Little Tiger said...

I think one solution is to get a part time job.
It could actually benefit your studies. I find sometimes the more you have the do, the better you are at maximizing your spare time. Also, a job would require you to improve your vocabulary for a certain area (depending on the job).
Maybe it is time to look to your compatriates or use your guanxi? Perhaps see the Swedish chamber of commerce in SH or alternatively speak with Shopgirl. Or maybe even embassy work?
I remember reading that you've had mixed experiences with tutors. I guess I was lucky with the tutor I got when I was in China which was I found by recommendation though a friend.
You could also try posting this question on Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've forwarded your post to someone I know in China who might be able to help you. It's a long shot but who knows. My contact is associated with an organization which obtains Visa's for students and teachers, both Chinese and North America (also UK , Australia etc.....)
Good Luck

Martin said...

wait...WHAT??? You will be in SH, and won't be able to post our comments??? Who the heck do you think you are, abandoning your loyal should be at your computer all day every day giving us your daily does of Chinese life.

Seriously though, have fun!

Anonymous said...

How about you apply for the next level, get your visa, and then cancel your classes? Is it possible?

she said...

hi,I know a swedish friend who is working in the chinese embassy in Stockholm and she may give you some information. May you add me as MSN friend?

then I may ask her for you or introduce you to her directly. I think there is a way to go without paying nonsensee tuition fee to Suzhou unil.

Good luck

Unknown said...

I'd recommend getting a business (F) visa. They're generally available for 6-12 months, multi-entry, without much documentation needed.

Anonymous said...

Jonna, I am sure you will get some nice job offers. You are a very capable individual with lots of talents, which are obvious from your writing style and expressions in your blog. You have a good personality. Maby laowais I know in China are not as pleasant as you are. Best wishes for your job hunting and for whatever you end up doing in China after your language school.

Steph said...

If you end up getting a job, you can probably get a work visa...then you'd be free to just hire a tutor. Just one thought...good luck to you!

Pingu said...

if you are looking for jobs, shouldn't you be able to get a work visa?

Unless employers doesn't sponsor you, that should be the easiest way.

I'm not sure about Sweden Sino relations, but for Australians, we can get a 12month multiple entry visa for $120 (about 600RMB) with no specification on type.

Anonymous said...

Look you love studing these languages just because right now you feel you have fallen out with the place dosen't mean you don't want it. Just stick at it and you won't regret it.

Pete In Syracuse said...

Maybe you could replace one of those bad english teachers that you talked about, via a work visa like others here are talking about?

Anonymous said...

If you want to change your visa type from X, you MUST leave the Mainland so prepare for a trip to Hong Kong in order to apply for an F or other visa type. This is the one major disadvantage with an X visa.

There are some private language centers who can offer X visas. They are usually much cheaper and offer better education than Chinese universities. You need to ask if they can offer you this type of visa.

Getting a work visa is really difficult.

Unknown said...

speaking of student visa and all that, I was wondering how you afforded going to China. I'd like to go to France and study there, but I barely have money to study here! Any suggestions?

By the way, that blue dress looks amazing!

Jonna Wibelius said...

First of all, thanks everyone for your comments/tips/advices!

Tiger -yeah I know.. I want to get a job to continue improving my Chi but they are quite hard to find. I have already worked here in China for a lousy salary and I find that kind of... useless. So let's see. There are a lot of opportunities in SH but since I live in SZ it's not so convenient for me to get a job there... let's see.
I would kind of like one last semester of job hunting and language improvement but maybe there won't be time for that. The future will tell I guess.

Casudi -thanks a lot for your help!! I am looking forward to hearing back from you!

Martin -hehe. Well as it turned out I went to SH but came back the same night. Plans changed, as always over here!

Kanmuri -it's a lot of money to pay just to get the visa. And if u get the visa and not come to school the uni can cancel your visa. So not an option.

she - :)

matthewmayer -yeah, that looks like the best option a.t.m. But I've heard it's really hard to get a 6 months F visa??! There's apparently some important anniversary coming up in Oct making it hard for everybody who wants a F visa?

anonymous -thanks for your nice comments but I am not as sure as you are... good jobs are hard to find.

steph & Pingu -yup, it's finding a (good!!) job that's the challenge here. Especially in times like this.

Sora -that thought hits me too but at the same time I feel I've had enough of the classroom environment.... hm... but let's see. I'd rather do one more semester at the uni than doing a job that is of little meaning to me (like teaching Eng...). Let's see.

Pete -I would be a horrible Eng teacher. Eng isn't my first language and I have no passion to do this kind of job.. so no. Teaching is not an option for me.

Anonymous -I know all that. Seeing that I am planning to spend a summer abroad leaving the country isn't a problem.

AixelA -glad to hear u like the dress... so do I! :)
Before I moved to China I worked for 1 year, non-stop. I didn't take any holiday at all, and I saved pretty much all my money for my upcoming move to China. I also did small things, like selling clothes and stuff at flee markets... the money I got from that would pay for my living expenses so that I could save all of my salary. Once I moved to China I realized that my savings would run out pretty fast... so then I had to start working and saving again.

There's no easy way to go abroad and study... work, save, work, save.. having said that, though, china is def a cheaper place than France! I don't think I could have gone to France with just one year of savings... Europe is pricy. Good luck!!

Jot said...

Hey Jonna, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you with the visa dilemma, plus I'm Mexican so it will be extra-fun for me to figure it out!
I've been told it is still somewhat possible to get a 6 month F visa, so once I get to China (in ten days) I'll go through the process, and if it works out for me I can forward you the people who helped me out if you're interested.


love the blog by the way!