I have a neighbor here who wants to try to get a job in Canada. One of the steps is to have a certain website give the official equivalent of her degree, and since the website is in English she asked for my help. And what should have been an easy process reminded me again of how different the world is here . . .
First we tried to navigate the website on her phone, but her phone runs on 3g if not 2g internet, so it was super slow and would just disconnect after a while and we’d have to wait for it to connect again. After a while I got tired of how slow it was and got out my computer with my (relatively) fast internet. (Ok, so most all of you reading this will say that my internet is super slow, but it’s probably about 10 times faster than what we were dealing with on her phone.)
But then when we got out my computer, she had to re-enter her password. Since my keyboard isn’t the same as hers, I had her type it in a Word document so that she could see it and make sure that it was correct, then I copied it over. Ok, two solutions so far.
That first evening we got really blocked when it asked what year she graduated and what years she had spent at the university. She said that after you finish school here, it can take a few years for them to actually get your diploma to you, and you never know what year they’re going to write on it. So she had to go home and dig through papers to figure it out. I knew that by the time she got back she would be logged out and we’d have to start the process of logging in all over again, so since we had already been working on it for probably an hour, I suggested that we stop and continue another day.
The next day we continued – using my computer, having her type her password in Word and copying it over. We then had to re-enter the information about her college and what she studied, and then were able to add her graduation year and the years that she had studied. We continued on in the process, and saw that she needed her transcript sent in a sealed and signed envelope, and her diploma scanned. Since we now had that much information, we stopped so that she could figure out how to do that. She got in touch with the university, and after only a few days they said that they could do that (though she had thought that it may take a few months!). So we started the process again, since now we had to pay before they could actually send the papers with the right number on them.
There were two options for payment – using a credit card or paying with something like Western Union. She said that she had a pay-as-you-go Visa card, but that it didn’t have money on it. So we stopped again, and she said that she’d go to the bank and put the money on it.
On our next attempt, we tried using her Visa card. But it didn’t have her name on it and didn’t have a billing address, so it didn’t work. After a few attempts, we decided to try option 2 – paying with something like Western Union. We got to the third of 4 steps on that option, only to have it ask us for her account number and the address of her bank. So we were stuck again, since she didn’t know that information. She took note of what she needed and went to the bank.
After a few days, she said that she had been to the bank three times and each time they said that they didn’t have an address that she could use in something like that, so that it wouldn’t work. Option 2 also failed. I told her to hold off on having her transcript sent, then, since we didn’t know if this whole thing was going to fail. But then I had the idea of using my credit card and having her pay me back. So that’s what we did tonight, and the payment went through!
Now, after less a month, and only a few days of her running around town, we’ve successfully navigated this website that probably should have taken us less than an hour total. All that’s left is her reimbursing me (I trust her), the university sending her transcripts to Canada the right way and them actually arriving, the university sending her diploma here, and us scanning and uploading her diploma to the website. Then one of her several steps towards seeing if she get work in Canada will be complete.
Yeah, I guess things are a bit different here. And you wonder why I’m tired sometimes or why some things seem to take longer than you’d expect. 🙂