The process to Study Abroad has been one long learning experience for me. The one thing I’m sure I will never forget will be getting my visa. If you haven’t ever tried to apply for a visa, you are in for a real treat. If the opposite is true, you already empathize with the story I’m about to tell.
I’m sure this whole process really is necessary and very worthwhile, but my experience tells me otherwise. To begin I received an email sometime in September from SAI (Study Abroad Italy), the American agency that helps to coordinate all of the universities in
Apparently, there is a
After that ordeal came another interesting situation. The application for an Italian Visa is about 3 pages long, but then requires that you have a financial affidavit of support that is accompanied by a letter from your bank, a health affidavit, a letter from your home university, your schedule at your choice University, an acceptance letter from the
I, of course, did not just have $4,000 sitting around in a bank account and my original plan was to take out a loan that would cover the cost of my living expenses while I was in
When I thought I had everything together, I realized as I was double checking my list about a week before that I didn’t have the letter from Bethany that stated that my studies would coincide with my plan to graduate. I went to the registrar’s office in a panic and showed them the requirements for the letter. They said that would be fine, but in order to say that my studies would transfer they would need to know exactly what I was going to take. Here is where we met another road block. The only schedule I had was a temporary one that didn’t reflect the actual classes I was planning on taking. I explained this to them and fortunately they had a sense of humor about the situation. It was ironic that I would need a letter saying that the courses would transfer, but I can’t know the classes I’m taking until I have a visa, but can’t get the visa until I have this letter. We finally worked it out and on the 27th, my mom and I headed to
The trip went fine and after a search for a post office for a priority mail envelope we arrived at the office about 15 min early. I always thought it was proper etiquette to arrive early for appointments. I knew I would probably have to wait until my scheduled time, but it showed that I had a sincere interest in getting my visa to study abroad. So we waited and we waited. At about 11:15, the secretary at the law office we were waiting outside of said that he was on his way over. Then we waited some more. The Consular officer finally arrived at about 11:45 and pulled out his official visa-making tools. These were contained in what looked like a K-Mart sack and were stored in no particular place whatsoever. I showed him my passport, and he carefully studied my face and compared it to my picture. He pulled out his stamp and pen, asked me if I had any questions, and stamped and signed several of the documents I had brought. Lastly, I signed my application and he accordingly signed and stamped below and then he sent me on my way. The whole process took less than 10 min. I had driven 3 hours and waited in his office for an hour for a couple of stamps and signatures. Then to top it all off I still had to mail it all in and make sure it was all there and in proper order. My mom and I walked out of the office stunned. I held my papers in my hands and stared blankly at them, wondering if it was all really worth it.
The next day I made copies of all the documents one to keep and one to send. I triple checked my checklist and stuffed it all into an envelope and sent it off to