Taiwan journey Summer 2010
When I received the internship offer from Michelle “Touch the World” project manager in AIESEC CLLC, that was before six months from now and I was excited to see a new culture especially when I knew that I was the first trainee dealing with MC Taiwan from the whole Africa. At first it was supposed to be done with “Shun Ren” School in Chi Lung, but they told me that I was inadequate for home stay and I might cause trouble for the receiving family, despite they was extremely convinced of my competence to achieve this internship after the Skype interview we made. We cancelled the first plan and after some days Michelle called me to tell me that another school was interested in my profile and they want to make a Skype interview with me. I was totally happy and in just two days we met through a video conference on Skype and discussed my plans and the school “Hua Xing” expectations. As the first Interview it ended with positive result and I was accepted for the mission. So we scheduled the internship for June and July. But the problem is at that time I haven’t enough money to buy the airplane ticket which costs 1500 US Dollars. So I suggested to Michelle to talk with “Hua Xing” administration to report it for September. They accepted and started to use my financial skills to get this money. I worked hard and when time was rushing me I sold my laptop to get the total necessary amount for the airplane ticket, and I realized my target. I bought the ticket and I talked to Michelle to get for me the Acceptance Note from “Hua Xing” School. She did so, and it was in the beginning only for two months… But by the beginning of August, Michelle sent me a mail telling me that “Hua Xing” administration are interested in this mission and asks if I can stay more two months in Chi Lung. It was a marvelous mail… I accepted immediately and I prepared a new schedule of work in Taiwan because I have already a lot of ideas and two months was too short to achieve them. So I called Michelle Lin, Sally Chen, and Jennifer Hsieh to start preparing the visa documents. I knew that Tunisia has not a Taiwanese representative on its territories but I thought like we accept Taiwanese tourists on our land by a landing visa in the airport, Taiwan will allow me to do the same. Well I prepared my papers and sent them to AIESEC CLLC to forward them to the Taiwanese MOFA. I was chocked after that when Michelle told me that my internship visa was rejected because my bachelor degree was older than three years and, as MOFA pretend; “Touch the World” project allows only max two years graduated bachelors to participate in.
So I was a little bit depressed and I panicked a while, until AIESEC CLLC suggested to apply for a visitor visa for visiting and get an invitation letter from “Hua Xing” School. MC Taiwan EB and AIESEC CLLC EB were so helpful that I cannot describe. They gave most of their time to my case and I was from Tunisia assisting with necessary documents and asking tourist agencies about a legal itinerary to Taiwan or a possible intermediate between our two governments. When applying in the Taiwanese MOFA for Visitor visa, the Bureau of Councilor Affairs told to AIESEC CLLC that I have to apply for the visa from my country or from the nearest country of mine, where I can find a Taiwanese embassy. This country is Libya our neighbor and there was a Taiwanese Trade Office. I couldn’t get the airplane to Tripoli (Capitol of Libya), because I have already spent all my funds to pay the flight ticket to Taipei (Inbound & Outbound). So, I tried to figure out a solution and I got in mind my friend “Marwa Jouili” daughter of Tunisia ambassador in Libya and a very smart diplomatic man. I called her to ask her father about any available possibility to intervene in my visa application and talk to the Taiwanese ambassador while I mail my documents to the Taiwanese Trade Office in Libya. Her father was so understanding and checked it for me but he told me on his daughter’s tong:” I can’t really intervene efficiently in this case cause usually Trade offices are not allowed to deliver visa to applicants, only embassies can do this! What I suggest to you to get more clear information is to get in contact with Tunisian MOFA and ask the responsible of “Asia department about available solutions”…
I told that to AIESEC Taiwan and asked them to try again with Taiwan MOFA if they can treat my application in Taiwan and send me the visa by mail. Dirk Lin and Dexter Hsu from MC Taiwan were really working hard to convince Taiwan MOFA of my suggestion, Jung Chu from AIESEC CLLC taking the place of Michelle Lin when she gets busy… In an appropriate way of talking, everybody in Taiwan did their best to solve the situation. I went to the Tunisian MOFA and I met the responsible of Middle East department because Asia department responsible was a little bit busy somewhere in another office. I told him about everything and I pegged him to find out a solution for me. He was so understanding and he told me to wait in his desk office while he will go to check with his superior the case. He took fifteen minutes to come back to the office and told me: “It’s only because our relation with China is so close that we couldn’t took the risk to take a look on partnership possibilities with Taiwan” I replied on a pissed off mood: “ But Taiwan is an independent government!! What should China do with this!!” he answered: “I know that fact but China won’t admit it explicitly”… I went back home so depressed and I checked again the web site of the Taiwanese consular affairs www.boca.gov.tw and I thought maybe I can apply for a landing visa that ensure for me a stay of thirty days in Taiwan than I ask MOFA to make an exception for me and extend my visa for more three months. But after checking this solution with Taiwanese MOFA, Michelle told me that Taiwan don’t cooperate with Tunisia and can’t give a landing visa to a Tunisian citizen. I told MC Tunisia about everything and they suggested immediately breaking the matching. A harmful way to end things and to lose 1500 US Dollars in a useless paper (non refundable, non changeable and unused airplane ticket). But believing in AIESEC Impact and cause of the determination that team work and friendship created in our souls, me and AIESEC CLLC members to use our last shot and go to Libya to get visa personally. They told me to write a report describing everything about this internship and forward to AIESEC CLLC sponsors maybe they can help to afford the airplane ticket to Lybia or talk more seriously to Taiwan MOFA about the case.
We say all the time…JIA YOU. It’s a way to fight with hope…
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