I got my first visa last month, and bought my first international airline tickets two weeks ago. And I will be flying to Seattle tomorrow.
Getting a visa seems easy to me. I don't know why. Maybe because I'm in the last year of my university study, and there's no reason for me to give up my degree at this point. During the interview, the visa officer just read my invitation letter and MVP recognition letter, and asked only 5 questions, then said "have a nice trip" to me.
The airline tickets from Beijing to Seattle and then back to Guangzhou cost me about 800 dollars, and that seems cheap enough to me. Since Microsoft will cover accommodation and transportation fees, I just need to spend around 1000 dollars for the whole trip.
Anyway, I got to sleep now, for I need to rush to the airport tomorrow morning. Good night guys.