Planning on doing more than play with balloons next time in China
From applying to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and arriving in placement country can be as short as a few months. I started the process in January 13 knowing I would not be available until November 13 at the earliest and here I am in May 2014 some way down the road but still sitting in a very English market town waiting to find out if this time next month I will be living in a high rise Chinese apartment. I have undertaken selection (teamwork with scissors and newspaper) on line training, face to face training with a wonderful diverse group of people (most of whom are now living scattered around the world), straddled a changing placement system (almost as painful as it sounds), had my breath taken away when Myanmar placements became available only to be dashed when it became apparent that successful candidates all had previous VSO experience, applying for a placement in China whilst at the same time being asked to apply for long term placement in Cambodia. More face to face training in The Netherlands, the start of fund raising. Being selected for the China placement and the subsequent trials and tribulations of associated bureaucracy is a story in itself – and here I am in May having been told that I will not be issued with a work permit (essential for my visa) but perhaps an Expert Certificate could be obtained to allow me to proceed. Meanwhile my stand in for my sabbatical has taken over and I have had my Chinese themed leaving party (anyone want a set of large silk Chinese lanterns and a 3 metre dragon?). I feel that so many people have been supportive and I have a great responsibility to make things happen – and I can’t, I have to just wait.
So when should I have started this blog because at each of the above stages there have been stories to tell? Lets hope that I can launch it in style very shortly with the news that my visa is safely in my passport and I am on my way. If not I will have to revert to plan B and start the process all over again …..