Vincent in China

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Saturday, September 26 2009

First Chinese course in WHUT

This morning I had my first Chinese course in the campus, from 8 am to almost noon, on a Saturday morning, not easy to wake up. There are courses for foreign students all morning in the week and week ends but since I have to work in the lab from Monday to Friday, I can only go there during the week end.

The only problem is that the students were already at lesson 3 and I'll have to work on my side during the week to keep the same level than them, but since now it's really basic, I'm not lost (yet).

The teacher is I think a student in the university and is competent and interesting, she also explain to us how to write Chinese in a correct way and respecting the order of writing.

Tomorrow, Sunday morning at 8 am, I'll return there for another 4 hours of courses.


Today, Sunday 27, I went to the course again, really hard to wake so early on a Sunday to study, but the course was interesting with a funny dynamic young teacher, maybe working too much on the same concepts and vocabulary, but maybe a good way to memorise little by little.

During the weekend courses, we are around 22 students, most of them are coming from Africa, India or Pakistan.

Anyway those courses are not enough for me according to the level of Chinese I wish to reach before the end of my intern-ship, so I'll keep studying by myself in addition.

Thursday, September 24 2009

Residence permit application

Today was the day in Wuhan University of Technology for foreign students to register for Residence Permit (understand a Visa for student staying more than 6 months in China). So you can ask, why the hell do you need a residence permit since your internship is a little less than 6 months. The answer lies in the fact I already stayed 1 month before the official beginning date of my internship, with a touristic Visa, so at the end of my internship I would have stayed 7 months in a row, which requires a Residence Permit.

To obtain a residence permit, you need a proof of your application in the university, pass a medical examination in an hospital (blood routines, chest X=Rays, others little exams)

So there was an appointment in the East campus for all the new students who had to get their permit residence, in a meeting room, with the international office teachers and also the policemen from entry/exit police station.

After a powerpoint about Chinese law and the fact that we should really not "get drunken" or smoke drug, we went in line to check the application materials, leave the passport and files then pay.

It should take less than 2 weeks to have my residence permit, I'll explain more precisely the different steps to get in another article.

Friday, August 28 2009

Arrival in Wuhan, more exactly in Wuchang

After a "short trip" of 17 hours in train from Chengdu, the train stops to Wuchang train station, first feeling, it's hot, really hot and wet weather. Two persons from the University are here to pick me up and drive me to the dormitory for foreign students. After a quick chat about the fact I don't want to rent a flat in the campus, I take an hotel room for few days at the North of the campus.

The first night is "cool", compared to the afternoon, but still probably around 30 degrees. Some part of the sky are blue and stars are even visible among the lights of the city. At this time, I say to myself "Finally, Wuhan is not so bad !".A lot of people told me that Wuhan was really polluted and the sky always full of a big heavy pollution fog, but for my part, I'll discover this in few days.

After one day in the city, what I can say is that this city is a mess. Even according to "Chinese standard" of messy and dirty things. The streets and the sidewalks are sometimes mixed (including cars, bikes or buses driving on them. The sidewalks are in a very bad state, uneven, part of them in mud or big stones. Another point is the trashes or rubbish, spread on the streets or on the road close to sidewalks. Every little shop or restaurant throw their trashes like this after 10 or 11 pm, and when the air is still hot and wet, I let you imagine the pretty smell walking in those streets.

To finish with this bad picture of Wuhan, let's talk about the smell you can encounter in the streets. Usually, walking in the streets is a subtle mix of smell from little restaurants, nice smell of Chinese dishes, from time to time, the smell of a bus just accelerating in a black cloud of smoke, and then, a very very bad smell, coming from you don't know where, but really present. It's very unpleasant to walk in an area where this smell is spreading, and even more when you are about to eat.

People are driving in a crazy way, a lot of bikes going on the sidewalks to avoid traffic jam, big street intersections are a mess, with cars on every side of the road and in any way. Chinese driving is like a giant gig of horns and honks.

To sum up, Wuhan is the most dirty/messy city I've been in China. Guangzhou, Chengdu, Kunming or even smaller cities in the countryside are a lot more cleaner and representative of China.

Saturday, July 25 2009

Visa obtained

My Visa for China is made, after a touristic Visa to be in China one month before my internship, and then extend it as a F Visa during my long stay in China.

There is only three places in France to obtain a Chinese Visa, depending on your residence area. Paris, Strasbourg and Marseille are the three only cities where you can obtain a Visa. All you need to obtain your Visa depends on its type, you can check the requirements by clicking the link below.

Keep in mind that if you ask for a single entry Visa, once entered in China, you cannot go anywhere else around (neither Hong Kong nor Macau), so think of asking for a multiple entry Visa, else you'll to buy new entries in China, which is not so easy.