This week has been full of exciting news! I received my official letter of acceptance from the France Business School! It is assumed that I am accepted since this is an exchange program, but getting the actual letter is very exciting! I am hoping to get the full welcome package in the mail this week. It will include all of my housing and transport information as well as a guide to the school and city and lots of fun stuff like that! Since FBS doesn’t have dorms or student housing, they have agreements with local landlords that work with international students like myself. I will know more about what type of apartment I’ll be renting once I get my package this week.
I also receive a letter from “SNCF” and being that it was in a plain envelope with no return address, thought it was junk mail. I opened it and had no idea what it said because it was in French! My first piece of French mail! I immediately remembered that SNCF is a high-speed rail that provides travel through Europe. After translating, I realized I had been awarded 50% off all of my fairs through France with the train company SNCF! How cool is that?! About 4 weeks ago I found out that I might be eligible for discounted train fares in Europe. Being a rail-pass holder for Amtrak here in the US, I requested my pass be converted into a Europass for the 6 months I’m abroad. Since Amtrak reciprocates services with SNCF, it was approved and I received the discount! This will definitely be put to good use!
Time is flying by… I can’t believe it’s already mid-November! I only have about 8 weeks left to get ready for this life-changing experience. Although I haven’t booked my flight yet, I know I will be leaving the first week in January. Orientation at FBS is January 8th so I plan to arrive the 6th or 7th. I know these next 2 months are going to fly by (especially with the holidays!) and I have a lot to do! I made an appointment with the French Embassy in Chicago on December 9th to formally apply for my visa. During this appointment, I will be surrendering my passport for approval and it will be mailed back to me after it’s processed (about a week). I need my passport for a trip that was previously planned over Thanksgiving so I have to wait until I get back to make the trip to Chicago. CampusFrance (the ‘prerequisite’ to applying for your student visa) has received all of my paperwork and it is currently being processed. I am confident that everything I need will be processed, accepted, and returned to me before I have to go to Chicago in December. Knowing that I will have everything I need to apply for my visa in plenty of time if definitely a huge weight off my shoulders!
It has been a great week and I know the weeks to come will only get better! Loving life, embracing experience, and smiling the whole time 🙂