Back in 2006, when I was starting my studies abroad, I came to Barcelona. Came with mere 1000 Euro on my account, knowing less than enough spanish to survive, and completely unprepare for the life there.
First shock I got was when I arrived. Since I got there 2 days later than the rest of the students, I had to pick up subjects I had no clue about, and which description was entirely in spanish. I had 2 hours to do so, without possibility to make any further changes. When the time came to look for the apartment, I tried to use some real estate agents from the list provided by university. Didn’t know that it was last updated 2 years before. So when I was wandering around (it was the pre facebook, and pre gps era) and was trying to spot the places, would waste couple of days from precious time achieving nothing. And the semester was starting, but I all I had was a bed in hostel dormitory paid for another 3 days. I was also totally unprepared for the level of prices. The cheapest lunch I could find would cost no less than 10 euros. Just to mention that the scholarship I received there was 1020 Euros. For 6 months!
But the true lessons were just about to happen. I found the apartment with huge amount of luck, because a day before one of the students was moving out, and the smallest room was available. For the cost of 333 Euros + internet and other utilities. In total little less than 400. Once again, scholarship was 1020, which wouldn’t even cover the 3 months of accomodation.
The difficulty level was just increasing afterwards. Short story long, all the subjects were entirely in Spanish, and majority of people already had background in economics, while all I studied before was sociology. In the meantime I had to switch the place 2 times, from the first one my 2 flatmates were coming back to DR, and if I took over the rental contract and didn’t find flatmates within 2 weeks, would have to pay for the whole apartment by myself (1000 Euro + utilities), and in the second one flatmates were making it hard to live.
All January I was studying 14+ hours a day, just to be able to get a passable grades, and not loose my miserable scholarship (if I didn’t score above 6/10 of EVERY subject, I would have to give back the scholarship + interest rates). In that time I gained 8 kilos for the stress.
So far China doesn’t look good. Why that comparison? Barcelona was the hardest time in my life, but I’m not sure if all the lessons learned in life will be useful in China.
China requirements require me to posess long term visa in the country where I apply for it. And the point of staying in Philippines for 21 days is to avoid the hefty visa fees. So I’m stuck even before I step my foot onboard the plane
Then so far search for employment remains unsuccessful. And I also don’t have enough internet access to do do the followups for already sent applications. Not to mention that I don’t speak chinese (almost at all). CS is moderately helpful, but I can see the scale of difficulty.
Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
Thank you my readers for comments on this one. In case you were curious about the output of that experience, here I put it: backlink