PERSONAL NOTE: This is the final chapter to my book THIS IS CHINA. I hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed sharing with all of you in mainland China. You can read all the 83 chapters in this Facebook. If you want more, write to me, OK? email@example.com blog – https://getting2knowyou-china.com
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Jay Han Qilong was born in Changde, a town in Hunan Province. He has a brother who is three years older than him. His father is a businessman and his mom, in Jay’s words, “is a happy housewife”. After high school, Jay wanted to be independent. He was a student on my campus when I first met him.
One night I attended an Ensanity Club meeting at the campus, a club Aaron Sun started before he left to study in America. The purpose is to encourage all students—whatever their majors but ones who are interested to improve their English speaking skills—to work with each other to improve their public speaking skills. I was the unofficial advisor to the organization and I was there because Aaron had left to study in America after he graduated from the school. And out of the blue that night, I heard the voice of a confident and courageous student, unafraid to speak English flawlessly, transcending all other voices in the room.
This was my first time getting to know this articulate young man, whose name was Jay, he introduced himself with a firm and happy handshake. Most students were timid or shy and would not speak openly unless asked to or when asked a question during this weekly regular meeting. (It is the same no matter where you go on the campus. Almost all Chinese students prefer to speak their native tongue: Potunghua.) But Jay’s voice was everywhere in the room and it caught my attention. At the end of the meeting I gave Jay my business card to let him know that I would be happy to work with him with his English. Of course, Jay took me seriously and that was the beginning of our friendship.
Jay was not my student. In fact, it was his first year as a computer science major. He changed his major when he returned to school the second year. He felt strongly his personality was more suited to Tourism Management. “I am an active person and I like to communicate with people. I like to work with people and I felt a computer job would be too restricting. I would probably spend more time with a machine, and not with people. Also, I love to travel. And so during the holidays I had traveled to three cities in Guangdong Province, and another two cities in Hunan Province. I believe I can combine computer with travels and I want to use my knowledge and skills to help people plan their travels to different destinations in China and beyond China.” Jay felt the freedom to participate in many college activities and contests after he changed his major. Jay is a doer, not a talker and a very pragmatic person, open to new possibilities to better his life and proactive in many ways. He is not about to wait for others to tell him what to do. After he changed his major, he participated in singing
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competitions, guitar competitions, web design competitions, and another time he was involved in business experiences like arranging a bus to take students to an open-air concert, or selling washing machines to incoming freshmen. The best part is that he loved doing many things to improve his experiences, knowledge and communication skills. “I am so happy to have the opportunities to do many things,” he would say this to me. That is the reason why he chose Tourist Management. A chance to do many things for people, he said.
In 2015 I read an article in a student national newspaper about “Australia opens 5,000 Work and Holiday Visas to Young Chinese People” and later I also found an article by CRIENGLISH.com about this program. Of course, I thought of Jay immediately. He and I would work together for him to take advantage of this opportunity to work and improve his English in an English country in a different cultural environment. CRI or China Radio International is the People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned international radio broadcaster, founded December 3, 1941, doing about 2,700 hours of programming each day “including news, current affairs, and features on politics, the economy, culture, science and technology”. On July 2, 2015, CRI’s Sophie Williams had this to say about the Work and Holiday Visas in Australia for young Chinese students.
“Australia has unveiled a new visa policy targeting young Chinese people. Qualified applicants are eligible to stay in Australia for up to one year for the purpose of working and traveling.
“The new policy comes weeks following the approval of a free trade agreement between the two sides. Assistant Minister for Australia’s Immigration and Border Protection Michaelis Cash says it is Australia’s largest short-term Work and Holiday visa program so far. As of September 2015, the first 1,500 places in the Working and Holiday Visa program are going to be open for application. We will then release more places, up to 2,500 sustained, until we reach our annual cap of 5,000 places.”
Cash says any Chinese national aged between 18 and 30 with at least two years of higher education is eligible to apply for the new visa online. Applicants also need to score at least 4.5 in the IELTS English test and prove they have at least 5,000 Australian dollars in the bank.
People who hold this kind of visa can stay in Australia for up to twelve months. Visa holders can spend up to four months in school and six months working. The new measures were signed alongside the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
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Cash says the new visa policy will bring great opportunities to people form both sides.
“It is a very exciting time for the relationship between Australia and China. China is Australia’s largest and fastest growing source of tourism and business visitor’s visas, and China is also the largest source of our international students, and is the second largest source of permanent migrants to Australia. So it’s just absolutely fantastic today, we can now begin the Work and Holiday arrangement to the numerous options available to people from China to come to Australia.”
Tim Jones, General Manager of Asia and Strategic Partnerships with Tourism Australia, says the new policy will significantly benefit the people-to-people communications between China and Australia.
“I think it is a fantastic opportunity for young Chinese people to travel to Australia and to experience Australia, to meet and share their life experiences with Australian people. We are a very welcoming country. We welcome people from around the world.”
Meantime, the Australia government has announced several other changes to its visa policies in China which will take effect next year, including issuing 10-year visitor’s visa. Applications can also request for doing the visa interview in Mandarin and a 48-hour urgent service.
The Assistant Minister for Australia’s Immigration and Border Protection says these policies will further simplify the visa application procedure and bring great economic benefits to Australia.
“I love it, I love it, I love it,” Jay was truly excited about the opportunity to spend a year in Australia after his junior year in college. “My mom? She is the worrier…she is full of doubts about everything. What if you could not find a job? What if you run out of money? What if you are sick? What if this or that or that or this? I will try to talk more to her, to calm down her fears of the unknown. But my father is different. He believes a man should learn to be adventurous…go out into the real world and learn what it is like to be on your own, how to be a real man. So he is always very supportive of everything I do. My dad has no problems with me going anywhere in the world…and he allows me to go to Australia. My friends? They think I can do anything I want. They are happy for me. They believe I am strong and I know what I am doing. They support me any time.”
Jay should have no problem because we have Cris now studying in Adelaide,
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Australia. Jay could go there if he chooses to do so. And we also know of two girls who are now involved in the same program in Sydney. Jay would not be the first Chinese to do this.
I think often of my unique privilege to be a visiting professor in China and to work diligently with students like David, Jackie, and Jay and many other bonsai kids. I will always cherish my time teaching them, working with them, counseling them, and encouraging them to listen to their own small voices. I love being their mentor. They are chasing after the Chinese Dream, though it is different from the American Dream. In China, you want to do something, not just for yourself, but for those who care and love you.
No matter what, the bonsai kids are the future of China!
This is China.