Bureaucratic skein unravelled?

Today, I was supposed to have Chinese Characters, Integrated Chinese and Training in Conversation, but since I have been otherwise engaged, I only managed to attend the last hour of the last lesson. Instead of going to class, I attempted the skein of bureaucracy which has, at times, seemed so intimidating as to lead me to pondering going home instead of trying to untangle it. I managed to clear most things regarding the school last week, meaning that I know where I’m supposed to be at what time. Three big items remained on my list though: applying for an Alien Residence Certificate (ARC), registering at the main campus and complete my scholarship application.

I woke up around seven this morning, immediately heading to the university to catch the first bus into the city. With some luck, it would be possible to return after only three hours and thus only miss my first class. The business at the main campus went surprisingly well, and I was able to register without much problem. I still needed the ARC, though, both to be able to legally remain in Taiwan and to apply for the scholarship.

I first spent some time finding the right underground station and then navigating my way to the immigration office, which turned out to be the incorrect one after about fourty minutes waiting. The other one was located in a much more inconvenient part of Taipei and it took me another hour to find my way there. After some more waiting, I finally handed over my papers, visa, passport, student id, etcetera, etcetera. Had I missed something? Would they ask me about authenticated grades, which I only had in Swedish? Would they ask why I only have grade transcripts and no diploma (Sweden’s just like that, but no other country seems to be)? Would there be any unforeseen problem? This moment would determine if I had worried over nothing or if I really was in trouble.

Fortunately, the answer to all questions, except the last one, was no. They asked me for my apartment contract, something I hadn’t even imagined they would need. I didn’t have it with me, but there seemed to be a possibility working around it by signing some sort of document really promising that I lived where I said I lived (as if the application form wasn’t the same thing?). Still, everything else was fine and I left the second immigration office around noon.

Only one problem remained. It will take another two weeks before I can go back and fetch the physical ARC, which is usually not a problem, but might have been because they need the information on the card for the scholarship application (I have been granted the scholarship, I just need to complete the application). However, since I have my old ARC from last year and they don’t change numbers or anything, it seems like I have survived this test as well. Worst case scenario would have been if they truly needed the new, physical card, in which case it would have dragged another two weeks, putting the date well after the deadline, stripping me of my financial support. It would have been $10 000NT less a month (around 2 200 Swedish crowns), something I could have survived, but which would have had consequences for my future plans here.

As of this afternoon, it seems like all problems have been solved and that the skein has indeed been unravelled. I have promised myself to buy a 4x4x4 cube as soon as things have settled down a bit (I’ve found a store closeby with lots of puzzles), but since I don’t want my studying to suffer, I’ll delay the purchase until Friday, when I plan going south to meet Vanessa and some friends. The fog is beginning to clear.

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  1. Svante’s avatar

    Det låter helt förfärligt. Hur mycket sådant här hade du förra året? Beror det på att du nu inte har det stora stipendiet som du hade förra året och som var fixat redan i Sverige? Jag kan knappt föreställa mig hur det här hade varit om du dessutom hade varit helt ny i landet.

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    1. Olle Linge’s avatar

      Förra året hade jag inte de här problemen alls. Den stora skillnaden är att skolan jag gick på då bara hade totalt 40 utlänäningar av typ 15000, så de hjälpte oss ganska mycket.

      Jag hade dött (eller åkt hem) om jag varit helt ny.

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