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Applying for Chinese Government Scholarship

If you want to study overseas in Feb 2021, you need to have all your stuff together in Feb/March 2020! I found the process very confusing and long so here is a step by step guide:
Vital info for applying:
• You can apply if you just want to study the language, nothing else.
• Book a doctor’s appointment – you will be required to have a blood test, ECG, and a chest X-Ray. The cost adds up to about $400 AUD. Make sure you allow enough time for this all to happen.
• You can apply if you do not have a passport
• You must be very well organised!
• You should (optional) scout out someone you know who is a justice of the peace.
• I hope you know at least two professors (that actually like you).

Ellyse’s head at Tianzifang – One of my favourite places in Shanghai. It is filled with nice pubs, signature dumpling places, foreign food, and the main attraction – Art.

1) Using above link Scroll down slightly on the home page and click “Scholarship application for students”.
2) You will come to a login page. In the top right hand side, there is a red button with says “CREATE AN ACCOUNT”
3) Enter all your details as normal and proceed. NOTE: “”Creating an account with Gmail or Yahoo email address may cause failure of receiving verification email from the application system. Thus, you are suggested to use other email address for the registration.”” HOWEVER I did not see this at the time and used gmail and did not experience any issues – up to you.
4) You will have to confirm email address etc.
5) Go back to the home page using above link again. Scroll down slightly and click the same link “Scholarship application for students”.
6) Follow the login prompts and proceed. You will come to the home page with instructions on how to apply but I found them a little confusing. Still use their information tho!
7) Click on “online application”. THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your application is ‘program category’ and ‘agency number’. Program category is to do with the type of study you will be doing so there is a guide to help you – make sure it is correct! I cannot stress the importance of agency number enough. You must call the Chinese embassy relevant to your country and speak with several different people to finally a) get someone who knows what you’re talking about, b) forward you onto someone who knows the number and c) you understand each other! Call the embassy well in advance because the different types of workers work on different days. Communication – they may not understand what you are saying in English, so I and one man explained ourselves in both English and Chinese back and forth. Now do not get frustrated, just be calm and by the tone of the voice and picking up parts of the words you will eventually understand each other. If you cannot speak Chinese, ask if you can email them directly or they can email you. The agency number is make or break. If you guess, make it up, get last year’s etc. your application will not even be read
8) Filling out your application – tip: do not do autofill just because it is quicker. I accidentally submitted that my religion was the area I lived in. They do not ask you anything difficult – ensure you have your passport number ready to go.
9) They will ask you three preferences for your university. Do not pick any university in Shanghai or Beijing just because you want to be in a major city. Pick your university wisely and do your research on the surrounding area of the University and town! I regret having picked SHISU because I have already studied there for 5 months. I wish I had picked elsewhere to challenge myself more.
10) If you just want to do the Mandarin language course study over in China select “Literature” for “discipline applying for” and “Chinese Language and Literature”.
11) Last part: Supporting documents aka “pain in my ass” – TIPS: you will be asked to upload pics and files to the supporting documents part and they have to be under a certain size. So for your passport pic (which must be scanned!) open it up in or other free app on your PC and shrink it like by 10. As for your medical reports just upload the foreigner medical examination document – don’t bother putting the rest in. Instead you can try put it in “other supporting documents”.
12) Supporting document #1: Chinese VISA photo (compulsory). I recommend getting this done at a camera house place – not the post office because: no appointment required, quicker and cheaper. Scan the photo, shrink and upload. If its too big just keep shrinking and try again.
13) Supporting document #2: Your degree, High School certificate, etc (compulsory). I uploaded this just as is, but the man I did my interview with suggested I get it signed by a JP/Justice of the Peace in order to improve my application.
14) Supporting Document #3: Transcript of highest education (compulsory):
15) Supporting Document #4: Study plan (compulsory): This is the most important aspect of your application! Do not take this part lightly!
16) Supporting Document #5: Two Recommendation letters (compulsory): These must be in one document, so I suggest you print them then scan them back to your computer in one document unless you are a super smart tech wiz and have some other way. These can be both in English or Chinese and must be issued by professors.
17) Supporting Document #6: Passport Wallet (optional): You may have to shrink this image too.
18) Supporting Document #7: Foreigner physical examination Exam document (compulsory). Now this is the most difficult part. you will be required to have a blood test, ECG, and a chest X-Ray. The cost adds up to about $400 AUD. Make sure you allow enough time for this all to happen. You must keep all the weird attachments for future reference if you are asked to provide them. It was pretty awkward going to get a blood test for syphilis but anyway gotta make sure I am healthy! Make sure that if you do now know your blood type, you ask for it to be done in the blood test.
19) Supporting document #8: Language qualifications (optional): upload your HSK test results/certificate.
20) Other optional document: If you are going over for honors or post-grad study I think you have to upload heaps of other stuff plus your study plan must be very detailed and much longer. You can also upload music pieces or art if you are applying for something in that field. But I am not the person to ask about these ones!
21) Proofread & submit. Download your application by pressing “print the application” to proofread again. Sit back and wait for a phone call in about one to two weeks after submission deadline. Good Luck!

If successful you will be asked to have a face to face interview in Sydney. This was very difficult for me living 6 hours away but I got there. They were understanding and offered to adjust the interview day because I lived so far away and working full time. Due to delays I was 2 hours late! What a nightmare. But my interviewer was aware and was very understanding. The interview is a mere formality so do not be nervous! They will ask you about why you want to go to China, what you like about China, what your career aspirations are, what you have studied/studying and where you work. Very Basic. At the end they might tell you straight away if you are successful and they will tell you what improvements you can make to your application.

The result about whether or not you have actually received the scholarship will be received in July. If successful you will receive paperwork from Beijing. – Visit back here as I update this post with my experience with the Scholarship.
This link will show you which degrees cover what kind of scholarships in Yuan.

Feel free to leave any comments if this was helpful. If it was confusing or overwhelming and you need some clarification on some things – I am happy to help, I am your laowai guide to China.

张家界 – ZhangJiaJie – Visiting Tiananmen & The avatar mountains.

This was one of my first times in a rural area which also had Chinese tourists from all over. As such, many had never seen a foreigner before so they took lots of photos of me or yelled out that I was a foreigner or an American. This was relatively common in Shanghai in high tourist areas, however they were a little more reserved. This might be because so many people are learning Mandarin now so they do not want to draw attention to themselves when they point out foreigners. When I went travelling however, everyone assumed I couldn’t speak Mandarin, and my friend Sally (South Korean) was my Chinese friend. One person actually asked he if she was my personal tour guide.

This Chinese lady is now the view, photo bombing my tourist photo. She then asked for a photo with me so she could have one on her phone ahha. This is not uncommon!

The parks were incredible to look at, as can tell from the pictures. The people here were very lovely and accommodating. A grandpa and Grandma ran the hotel we were at. They had their Grandchildren over nearly every day so we got to play with them and talk to them. The boy who was about 6 years old was very cheeky correcting our pronunciation, teaching us new words and shaking his head at us saying we were stupid. It was quite amusing and humbling. God forbid this five year old heard me try to order a coffee when first arriving in Shanghai. The other child was a very cute toddler who only just learned to walk. Sally and I had lots of fun playing with him and his grandparents were very trusting. While at the entry of the hotel Sally and I attracted quite a few local residents over.

This trip was not extravagantly expensive, but it was not cheap. The cheapest aspect was the food and hotel we stayed at. Word of advice: If you are booking online make sure there is a picture of the bathroom. I was weary but my friend was unbothered and booked it at a very cheap price. Lets just say you could do all your bathroom activities (toilet, shower, teeth) standing in the exact same spot! Some may say it was a win but I was not impressed at the time! Now I laugh about it, but please learn from my mistakes.

The food was amazing! A word of advice when travelling away from the comfort of shanghai where people understand that white people think pepper is spicy. Always say ‘no spice’ buyaolade 不要辣的 Because their version of a ‘little little little bit of spice’ yidiandiandianlade 一点点点拉的 will blow your block off!

We met a lovely NZ couple at our hotel who were real life bloggers! Mario & Rachel are now full time travel vloggers. Find their video on Zhangjiajie and TianmenShan 天门山 (Sally and I featured) here and subscibe to their amazing channel: Rachel & Mario knew how to say hello and thank you in Chinese, very badly so Sally and I helped them with the pronunciation and translating for them along the way. They told us some funny stories which happened from cultural miscommunication. And they helped us navigate all the different parks as they had done much, much more research than us and had already been to one of the parks we visited.

Posing on the 999 steps to the gate to heaven with rachel & Sally. Photo cred to Mario from
A Walsh Life

Important Info for tiananmen: Pick a hotel in the town of Zhangjiajie close to the ticket booth and not close to the Zhangjiajie national park. To get to the ticket booth place you pretty much just look up and follow the cables down to the ground. You will have to line up outside, and then there is another line waiting for you inside! Bring your passport and Chinese student ID with you to purchase tickets. Foreigner student ID is invalid everywhere! This is because you are not contributing to the Chinese economy so why should you get stuff for free? Wake up early to take advantage of a smaller queue. The ticket office opens at about 7am, but the park doesn’t open until 8am. I suggest getting up early, buying a 2 liter bottle of water, going to the plaza and buying yourself some dumpling soup or fried bread sticks for breakfast, then heading to the line. Also take snacks with you into the park! They do not check and they charge top dollar inside the park. Make sure you dispose of your rubbish responsibly! After all this head to the ticket office

Price of tiananmen: This is why I said it wasn’t cheap. From March to November Adult Tickets cost 258 CNY. December to February tickets cost 225 CNY. These are for just one day! These kinds of “peak season” prices occur in most places in China. Students with a Chinese University student ID 158 CNY, seniors (60+) are also 158 CNY. Children under 1.2 metres are free of charge otherwise Children under 18 are half price of adult tickets. There are extra hidden costs later such as walking on the glass walkways – 5 yuan, taking the chair lift – 25 yuan. Bring lots of cash with you into the mountains as it is so expensive to buy snacks, water and meals plus the hidden costs. There are no ATMs up there.

The chair lift was so scary at fist because there is no harness or anything to catch you if you fall off. You would probably hit some trees on your way down and be a gorna. (Photo Credit to A Walsh Life who we traveled with on this day, being their personal translators and asking us funny questions about China/ Chinese Culture.

Cultural take #1: The gate to heaven has 999 stairs. Why not make it 1,000 you say? This is because 9 is the most significant number for Chinese people. It is the royal number and very lucky.

Cultural take #2: Chinese take health VERY seriously. On the very last day when we were due for a 22 hour train ride to xi’an (would not recommend) I woke up feeling so unwell with the highest fever I have ever had, my clothes were wet, and I had a migraine which is super not fun when people in China honk so much. Sally dragged my to the local Chemist and they took my temp and told me I needed to go to hospital! Sally and I explained that we had a train to take and I could not go to hospital (imagine the bill too). I asked them for some drugs and they were really nice but still said I should go to hospital. Thankfully the drugs worked and my migraine went, but I still felt pretty doughy for about 2 days.

Cultural take #3: A lesson from the New Zealanders. Mario told us a very funny story about an encounter with a taxi driver after we mentioned that you only need to learn hand signals to understand how much money you need to pay someone. Mario and Rachel asked a taxi driver to go somewhere. The taxi driver was asking for 60 yuan and the NZs wanted to negotiate to 50 yuan but they kept going back and froth like a tennis match. Eventually the taxi driver gave them that ‘shakkas’ hand signal so Mario took that as home giving into the 50 yuan. Upon arrival he found that was not the case because the ‘shakkas’ actually means ‘six’ so he was reiterating that he wanted sixty yuan. Mario felt very bad because he became angry at the driver after thinking he was mislead.