Today Julianne and I got our “invitation” letters from China . . . and we’re very excited.
Later today I’m going to buy our plane tickets, and then tomorrow head to the Chinese embassy in Seoul to apply for the Foreign Expert Z Visas that we have to get in order to live and teach in China for a year. I thought about going to the embassy today but I want to check and make sure that Julianne and I have everything we need to bring with us before going (some online sources I’ve read suggest that I might need to show them our medical reports and airplane tickets–I doubt it, but you never know).
Getting ready to live and work in China has cost us a fair amount of cash. Here are some of the things we’ve had to do and pay for so far . . . and some that we’re still in the process of doing too.
1. Medical Checks: 170,000 won each
We got our medical checks done at Yonsei Severance Hospital in Seoul. The rule is that it has to be done at a hospital that is approved by the Chinese government. The medical checks took about 90 minutes to get done. We had to get a) chest X-rays, b) blood tests for several illnesses/diseases/drugs, c) EKG test, d) weight/height, e) blood pressure, and f) consultation with a doctor who asked a few questions.
2. Criminal Background Check – NOT NEEDED (not yet anyways)
I was really surprised, actually shocked, to learn that we wouldn’t need to have criminal background checks done in order to get jobs teaching English in China. South Korea has made such a huge issue out of native English teachers needing to get background checks because of the unprofessional and prejudiced mainstream media reports about drugs, sex, rape, pedophilia, and crime in general that I expected that China might have the same immigration rule . . .
3. Airplane tickets: 270,000 each
I think the actual ticket price is 190,000 or so but there are then taxes that have to be added.
These are some of the vaccinations Julianne and I are looking at getting before going to China. Ask your doctor which ones you should get and make sure to find out how much they cost and how long in ADVANCE you need to get them before coming to China.
a) Japanese Encephalitis 32,000 won
– can’t get this at a hospital (have to go to a special clinic), don’t know the fee yet
NOTE: I’m not sure if I’m going to get this shot, and Julianne is still considering it. I don’t think we’ll need it but Julianne has been doing a fair bit of research . . . we’ll see what happens.
– can’t get this at a hospital in Korea (have to go to a special clinic), don’t know the fee yet
NOTE: You’ll also likely have to pay a doctor’s consultation fee. We paid 12,000 won.
5. Shipping English Books to China
I’ve been doing some reading about English bookstores in China and what I’ve read so far tells me that they’re rare and expensive.
” . . . The problem comes with the prices. I am sure that if money was no object to me I would love this place deeply. And while I do like this place and I find myself coming back here time and again, actually buying a book here can be painful. English language bookstores in China always markup book prices due to the many problems in getting English books over here, that’s also why most English language bookshops are paperback only, not that that really. The thing is Garden Books prices its books in a way that bothers me, I get perturbed just thinking about it. At Garden Books all book prices are the the U.S. dollar price multiplied by 10.
Bear in mind that the current exchange rate for U.S. dollars (as of 12/2009) is 6.8 RMB/ $1. This means that an American paperback priced at $14.99 will cost 150 RMB, which is actually $22. This pricing system is not only lazy it is downright infuriating. I am sure that Garden Books has a high rent and all but when you compare these prices to other bookstores in Shanghai Garden Books has one of the worst deals in town. Then again, this is a problem at all English bookstores in China.”
Also check out Jonathan’s posts on Shanghai Bookstores, and What is the best English language bookstore in Shanghai?
Based on the blog posts above, and several others that I’ve read, I’m considering paying a fair amount in shipping costs to bring my own library with me from Korea to China. I’ll probably send it through the slowest and cheapest option . . . once I find out how much it costs and choose a company I’ll post that info.
6. Passport-size pictures for . . . (we didn’t actually have to use passport-sized pictures, the nurse just cut pics we brought down to the right size)
a) medical check forms
c) Chinese government application for letter of invitation forms
d) Other forms upon arrival in China (it’s always good to have several extra passport-sized pictures ready and on hand, i.e. 10)
7. University Transcripts
I’ve lost track of how much I’ve spent on transcripts, but plan on needing at least four or five sealed copies, and I’d recommend bringing five extra transcripts with you if you have the budget so that when you apply for your next job you already have them on hand.
8. Scanned copy of university degree
If you don’t have access to a digital scanner at home or at work then you’ll have to go to a Kinko’s and pay a small fee to get a digital scan of your degree to send via email.
9. Scanned copies of teaching/education related certificates, diplomas, etc.
Same as #8.
10. Resume and two reference letters
11. Working Permits (aka Z Visa?) to get into China
There are different fees based on what country you’re from when it comes to the visa/permit . . . I don’t know specific fees yet but once I know I’ll post that info too (bear in mind that it can change, and likely will in the future).
Well, that’s about everything I can think of right now that Julianne and I have been preparing and working on getting done, and of course the costs involved that we know about . . . I’m sure there will be more.