Now that all the deadlines have passed and all of my paperwork is in, I get to sit and wait. Well, not really. There are a million things I have to do, but most of the official things are done (‘most’ being the key word!). The task on the top of my list is getting my visa. As a school requirement, I have to obtain a student visa to be able to study abroad. I figured it was just like getting a passport; go get a picture taken, pay a huge fee, receive it in the mail in a few weeks…. wrong! Getting a student visa is not that simple! I found out that before I can apply for my actual visa, I have to be accepted through CampusFrance, which is a France organization that deals with incoming international students. It verifies your status with the college in France, how long you’ll be there, what you’re studying, etc. I also need an acceptance letter from the school in France before I can do any of this. Since this is an exchange program, my acceptance into the school is assumed, but I still need the letter for CampusFrance and my visa. This puts me in a bit of a time crunch seeing as how CampusFrance takes up to 3 weeks and then the actual visa application takes 3-4 weeks. I leave in 8 weeks, so getting this done ASAP is a huge understatement! I actually had to pull some strings and my study abroad advisor at UofM was able to write me a letter instead of waiting for the acceptance letter from the France School to arrive. Once I get approval from CampusFrance, I’ll have to make a trip to the French Embassy in Chicago where it’s mandatory that you apply for the visa in person. The other option to avoid the waiting and trip to Chicago, is to do a phone interview with the French Embassy. As I’m told, it is a 20 minute phone interview to see what my intentions are while in France (kind of like the questioning you go through while crossing the border). Oh yeah… and the interview, would be in FRENCH! Seeing as how I only speak Spanch (see prior post), I have low hopes that the phone interview would be successful. Looks like I’ll be making a trip to Chicago!
After doing some research, you only need to obtain a visa if you’re travel exceeds six months. Since I am participating in an exchange program between universities, it is mandatory through my program that I get a student visa. If you ever have to get a visa for any traveling you do, don’t wait until the last minute. Get it done as soon as you can so you won’t be rushed or worried.
This blog is not only a way for my friends and family to see what I’m up to, but it’s also a great source for future study abroad students (and all-around travelers) to see what studying abroad has to offer. With that being said, I will be posting a lot of college related material to show importance.
I would like to thank Asinda G., Dr. Cavusgil, Dr. Kandogan and the Graduate Dean Study Abroad Scholarship Committee as well as the Matthew Hilton Watson Study Abroad Scholarship Committee and School of Management at UM-Flint. I have just received news that I was awarded these scholarships and could not have done it without the help of Asinda and Dr. Cavusgil. This money will make my trip much more enjoyable and allow me to do much more while abroad. Thank you everyone!
For anyone studying abroad or in college, apply for as many scholarships as you can! My advisor, Asinda, was very helpful in letting me know which scholarships I was eligible for and encouraging me to complete them. Out of the four I applied for, I just received three of them. I will find out about the fourth in December. You will never get scholarship money if you don’t take the time to complete the application so JUST DO IT! It’s definitely paid off for me! I also emailed my financial aid advisor when starting at UofM to let her know I needed as many scholarships as possible (don’t we all?!). About six weeks later, she was kind enough for forward me a link letting me know I was eligible for the Osher Scholarship which had very specific requirements- and I met all of them. The call I received informing me that I was awarded the Osher Scholarship was also the phone call that set my study abroad dream into reality. The staff at UofM has been great in helping me with my education, financial aid, and so many more things. Definitely talk to all of your advisors about scholarships, it will absolutely pay off!
To all my new followers… Merci Beaucoup! (Thank you very much)
À Bientôt! (Bye for now!)