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Things I Wish I Had Done Differently

Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez headshot
Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez
August 28, 2023

A Little About Myself:

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez. I am a First-Generation Latina attending the University of Redlands in California and the first in my family to study abroad! Thank you for choosing to read my blogs and come along this four month journey with me. I hope these inspire yourself or other to study abroad to Salamanca, Spain or just study abroad in general!

Pre-Departure Tips to Avoid Some Stress and Anxiety

All right, lets get into the nightmare I put myself through and ways to avoid these things. I am aware that everyone says this, and since I am also guilty myself,  I don’t want you to experience the same difficulties that I had. The first problem was getting my passport. Double check if your passport is still valid for when you leave and for when you come back; if it’s not, PLEASE go renew it.

When I was going through the pre-departure part after being accepted, I was confident that my passport hadn’t expired until I looked for it mid-February, and turns out that my passport was out of date. That’s where the hidden stress started to peek through and anxiety to get it by the ACCeSS deadline. Since my old passport was issued when I was younger, I didn’t meet the requirements to renew it. I had to apply for a new passport as a first time. The passport cost me roughly $160, which wasn’t bad for it lasting for 10 years. The ordeal was the waiting period in waiting for that passport to come in. I sent my application out by the end of February and it tend to take 9 to 11 weeks for it to come in, which would have came in time before the ACCeSS deadline. However, at that time there was a rise in passport applications, which changed the processing time from 11 to 13 week, excluding the wait for it to come in the mail.

Unfortunately, it stress wasn’t over, and the next thing was acquiring that study visa since I would be staying in Spain for more than 90 days. My passport didn’t come on time for that deadline, and the deadline was extended, but still then my passport didn’t come in until the next day of the last deadline. I planned to obtain my visa through the the Los Angeles ACCeSS. But procrastinating just prevented the expected simplicity and ease of this process from happening. I had no choice but to apply independently for my visa a my local consulate (LA). For my consulate, in order to secure an appointment, you had to schedule it online, and those appointments are incredibly hard to snag because they vanish in minutes, and there is no set schedule for them to be dropped off. They are kind of just dropped at any moment in a short time frame. I looked for any available for days, weeks, and even months and there weren’t any. I began to lose hope that I wouldn’t be able to go abroad. However, it wasn’t until June 14th while my sister, mom and I were on constantly refreshing the website, out of nowhere around 5 p.m. we all saw green boxes of times for booking an appointment. I was so happy to get it, however, it wasn’t going to be until a month later on July 14th, but the stress didn’t stop there. I just wished that it was approved before my departure. Since they told me that it can take from 4-6 weeks to be approved; at the appointment you have to pay $160 (I think) for your visa no matter if you are approved or denied. Fortunately, I think the gods were now going to be easy on me, because two weeks later I got the email that it was ready and approved. Now all that is waiting for is a new adventure that was worth all the trouble.

Consulado General de España Los Angeles:

Link: https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/losangeles/es/Paginas/index.aspx

Study Visa Documents: https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/losangeles/en/ServiciosConsulares/Paginas/Consular/Visado-de-estudios.aspx

Advice:

  • Make sure you passport is valid; if not, renew it
  • Try to do your visa through ACCeSS to save the hassle and stress
  • Applying Independently: Look at your Consulate of Spain’s website on how to apply for your visa, since each one has different requirements; try to book appointment as soon as possible in case of missing documents or delays

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Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez headshot

Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez

Hola! I am Ashley Carrasco-Hernandez. I am a first-generation student studying at the University of Redlands. I enjoy painting, watching movies (Fav Movie: Corpse Bride), going to the beach, stargazing, sleeping, and trying new foods!

Destination:
Term:
2023 Fall
Home University:
University of Redlands
Major:
Psychology
Spanish
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