Here's an update on my plans to go to Taiwan for 6 months. You can read more about why I'm leaving the Netherlands here. Now first thing's first. My plan to study abroad was really last minute. Usually people plan these things at least a year ahead. But as always I like to do things last minute.. And I arranged everything within approximately 2 months? And it's not like I've been on it full time, But it's definitely possible if you want to study abroad last minute. If you have enough saved up or have your parents (partly) support you financially.
I'll be taking classes at the Mandarin Training Center, which is like a special school for learning Mandarin provided by the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). I chose this school because it's one of the most well known ones and I've read some reviews about the courses. Not all reviews were positive but it's a risk you'll always be taking when you're studying abroad. So after I applied for this school I needed to wait a month to receive the admission letter from the school through the post mail. A month, that means that I only had a month left to arrange all the other stuff because without this original letter I can not apply for my visa. And if I cannot apply for my visa, it's pretty much useless if I buy a planeticket and accommodation already and cannot enter the country.
When I received the letter I immediately search for an accommodation and plane ticket. I search for an accommodation via AirBnB, because I've read and heard that the dorms at the university aren't that good. The downside of arranging things last minute is that pretty much the good and cheap rooms are already taken. And housing in Taiwan is already pretty expensive. At least more expensive than I've imagined. Fortunately I found a tiny studio near my school and I've heard that the location is quite busy and surrounded by food, which I personally like. I'll be staying there for a month to see what it's like, so I can decide if I want to stay or stay somewhere else for a longer term. Buying a plane ticket wasn't much of a hassle and that means that everything was ready for the visa.
The first time I was at the embassy I was in good spirit. I went there with a smile on my face and had all the documents ready. But when I was there, I was like immediately shot down by this lady. She didn't show one friendly gesture to me. I own an Indonesian passport and have a Dutch resident permit. I also just graduated from my uni. "How do I know you won't be staying there for work?" She asked me with a deathly stare. Because apparently a lot of Indonesian people go there for work (illegally). I completely understand her concern. And me taking a gap year between my bachelors and masters doesn't help either, but the way she attacked me with that without any consideration, just kinda pissed me off. I told her repeatedly that I've been living in the Netherlands for practically my whole life, have no intention to work in Taiwan and will be continuing my studies in the Netherlands in the next academic year. But she won't have it. She asked why I don't have a Dutch passport then if I've been living so long in Holland and she told me I was already a grown up and I needed to have a different kind of residence permit (one without me being a child of my parents but an independent one, it's hard to explain). But a residence permit is a residence permit, for god's sake. I really felt her attacking me because I'm an Indonesian.
She kept on pressing that she won't know for sure, it was my words against hers. The only way to convince her was to buy her a time machine. I mean I still get the questioning but why in such a prejudiced manner. She could've just asked me in a polite manner. Eventually, she told me that she didn't think I'll be searching for work there because "I have a high education", which I've been telling her for almost 10 minutes already! Not the high education part though. She told me that I had to return another day and bring my study plan for the coming year.
The next day I went back with my detailed study plan and I saw her again. I bet you she didn't think I'd return so fast. She recognised me and didn't make any comments. She just took my documents read my study plan and looked more in detail at my application form. She opened her mouth and the first bullet was shot. "Your plane ticket is too long, you can only stay for maximum 6 months, your return ticket is more than 6." I told her that I plan to ask for an extension in Taiwan since I have no choice because as a newcomer at the school I need to register a bit earlier at that place. She was quiet and was looking through my papers. I told her I can rebook my flight with a sad face if I needed to, thinking that I needed to come back again. But above all my expectations she asked me for my passport sized photos, which means that she'll process it! She told me the price and I immediately ask her for a fast procedure which is double the normal fee, but totally worth it. I just wanted it to be over and I only had three weeks left before I'm leaving.
I really didn't feel like leaving after visiting the embassy the first time, if all the people were like that. But I got over it and hope for the best. So now it's really really official, everything is set. I'm leaving for Taiwan. I still can't believe it and still a bit scared. People keep telling and reminding me that I'll be alone for Christmas and NYE with sad looks on their faces and be in a foreign country, which is true but I think it's also a memorable experience, to spend these times in another country.
Onto the next struggle.. I have no idea what to pack.
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