wfujkramer Posted October 18, 2005 at 11:44 AM Report Share Posted October 18, 2005 at 11:44 AM Well, after not successfully being able to find anyone on this forum that is currently studying in Harbin to seek advice from, I arrived on my own about two weeks ago to set up shop and start studying here. Before I begin, let me reconfirm my earlier formed belief that Harbin really is the best place in China to study if your interests are exclusively getting fluent in good chinese. as far as I'm concerned the mandarin really is the best in all of china, certainly much better than beijing (which doesn't take much). The best part, though, is that there are so few western foreigners here that people are really surprised and excited to meet you. You can practice speaking all day long. I haven't been able to pay for a meal in a restaurant yet. Because foreigners are so rare here, I have experienced some pretty incredible problems that I have not seen in any other foreign city. Harbin does have a large student population, but the overwhelming majority are composed of Koreans, and some Russians, most of whom live in the dorms. Note that this entire post is purposely excluding the study abroad kids on the CET program who are paying like $10,000 for a semester across town. first task was to rent an apartment. I looked and looked, but whenever I found something good, the landlord would either immediately or eventually decide not to rent to me because i was a foreigner. I asked about this, and everybody believed it would be too risky because they felt I was a liability and they would get in trouble if anything happened to me. Wow. I finally found a place and the owner had no problem with me being foreign. He would quickly learn to really, really, really resent this decision. After I registered I went to PSB and registered. They spoke no english and drilled me in chinese about why I wasn't living in the dorms. who would want to live in the dorms? finally I got the registration paper. By the time I finally got my place cleaned up and bought all the things needed for the apartment I got a knock on the door from my landlord. the police had dragged them into the police station and told them that Foreigners were not allowed to live in this part of Harbin (the university area) and that I must be removed immediately. they said they didn't want to throw me out on the street but I was supposed to leave by the next day. again, wow. i spent two days at the police station trying to resolve the situation. A lawyer told me that the law clearly states that foreigners can live anywhere in china with a visa and registration from the police. I asked them to provide me with a written explanation that I could send to a lawyer or embassy and they refused. I went to the university and their response was that I should live in the dorms. My poor landlord has been in the police station about 6 times in the last few days and I haven't been able to go to school. My visa is from another part of china, so they told me it would not be valid for Harbin, so I had to pay them 345 kuai to change it to a "harbin" visa, and after all kinds of dialogue and paperwork, I am now able to live in my apartment for the next week while they decide what to do with me. I feel like i am in china during the 1980s! sound like fun? I think everything will be okay, but it was just so surprising to have to deal with this. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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