First things first. My teacher Andrew introduced my blog to the whole class today (Can’t believe that I’m the only one who blogs). You can imagine that my classmates tried to visit my blog immediately but ended up getting lost in the forest of Chinese characters. In order to make this blog more “readable", I will use English to write this one today. On the other hand, I know that many of my friends won’t even bother to read this if I write in English…so don’t worry!! I will do it bilingually this time.
I was issued my National Insurance (NI) number last Sunday, which means now I can really work here. Plus, with the NI no. letter as supporting document, I can open a bank account here too, according to the posts on FB page created for YMS visa holders.
上周日我拿到了NI(National Insurance) number，這代表現在我真的可以在這邊工作了。同時，有NI leter當住址證明文件，我也可以在這邊的銀行開戶…這是從我們英國打工遊學的FB粉絲頁上看來的 😛
I chose Barclays as many YMS visa holders did since it’s criteria to open a bank account are the simplest. However, the process was not as smooth as other people said, and kind of unpleasant. Thus, now I want to share some experiences with you.
Firstly and the most importantly, the HYPHEN MATTERS!! In our country, there’s no such thing as a middle name. Thus my name “Chung Lien Tseng" is totally the same with “Chung-Lien Tseng" from my perspective. However that’s not true for British people.
首先，也是最重要的事情就是…連字號 “-“很重要阿!!!!在東方不太有中間名這種東西，所以對我來說，Chung Lien Tseng跟Chung-Lien Tseng根本是一樣的；可是對英國人來說差別可大了!!
The spelling on my passport was with the hyphen, whilst that on my NI no. letter wasn’t. The woman next to me decided that the name on my NI letter could be referred to anyone else, and hence rejected it as the document stating my current address. She gave me two options, one was to ask the job centre to correct my name by adding a hyphen, which was impractical to me; the other was to apply for a school letter as the supporting document instead. I chose the latter, of course. And thanks to Adam, I got my school letter in 30 minutes!!
我護照上面的名字是連起來的，但NI letter上的沒有(我也不知道為什麼沒有…明明我就有寫阿!!)。承辦人員覺得NI letter上的名字跟護照上的名字是不同人，所以不讓我辦。她給我兩個選擇…一是請job center把NI letter上的名字加上 “-“，但這根本不切實際；另一個選擇是要我去申請school letter來證明我住在Brighton。想當然爾，我選擇了後者。感謝學校的助教Adam，還留著上次我申請school letter的檔案，馬上就印給我，於是半小時內我又回到銀行。
The first and biggest problem was solved. It all seemed perfect, except it was not. The second thing I want to share with you is that you are considered an international student as long as you’re not employed, and you happen to study in any school, no matter what type of VISA you are holding.
Despite the fact that I told the woman I hold the working visa and am trying to find a job, she didn’t listen. She said: “Since you don’t have a job now and you’re studying, the main reason you stay here is being a student." Well…I can’t argue about that if she put it that way. But I was just curious that what if I AM NOT a student? Can’t I open a bank account for a potential paycheck then? What if I am self-employed and only receive cash by selling my handicrafts? Does that mean I don’t have the right to open an account to save the money I earn?
Nevertheless, since a student account is enough for me now, I think I can live with that. However, the third thing I want to tell you is, Taiwan and China are not the same, but yet the same.
I argued with her for a while about which value to be put in “Country of Issue" filed for my passport information. The lady knew I was from Taiwan, and it did have the option of Taiwan, but she insisted putting China in the field since “the page with your personal information said your nationality is the Republic of China, not Taiwan…although Taiwan was printed on the passport cover." What the hell is that!!!
針對護照的發照國家欄位要填什麼值，我跟承辦人員爭執了好久。她知道我是台灣來的，選項中也的確有台灣，可是她堅持要把發照國填成中國，理由是雖然護照封面有印台灣的字樣，但照片頁只有寫中華民國(Republic of China)，沒有台灣，所以只能選中國(China)….這搞什麼鬼阿!!
I tried to object strongly, but failed. In order to continue the process, I could only accept the decision and gave in unwillingly.
In the end, I successfully opened my account at Barclays and put some money in it. However, I didn’t feel happy about this important milestone of building a life here, as too many things went wrong. But still it’s a huge step for me. Everything is now on track, and it’s time to plan my next step!