Though I’m not known for organization, I figured I’d buck the trend and get started on the Italian visa process as quickly, and efficiently, as possible. While it all worked out in the end, I write this mid-transit with visa in hand, what began as a simple checklist ended up being a tri-state scavenger hunt. Here’s a bit of what I learned:
- Consulates are confusing. Be organized.
Knowing well in advance that I’d be interested in taking a course at the Università degli Studi di Siena, I knew I had to go the visa application process alone in order to apply for Corsi Singoli. The best tip I got was to schedule a visa appointment as early as possible: there often aren’t appointments available for weeks at a time.
IES has a handy packet on what documents are needed, yet looking on the New York consulate’s website I found two very different lists, with very different requirements. It may have been a haphazard couple of weeks gathering everything but it paid off to have more than needed: extra copies of my passport, ID, apostilled transcripts (from the State Department), confirmation of U.S. university enrollment, international insurance and housing papers, medical information, and visa photo. Luckily, I was approved for a visa on the first visit.
- Don’t let the Corsi Singoli process be discouraging.
Though I’m still unsure as to whether or not I‘ll take a class at the local university, I’ll figure it out once I’m in Siena, I applied for Corsi Singoli just in case.
IES gave me a good starting point with its Corsi Singoli information in the visa starter packet. However, no one at the New York consulate could confirm exactly whom I needed to meet and what I needed to do. Too many times I was transferred to the head of the education department, whom was supposed to be the one with information on Corsi Singoli, yet whom inevitably answered my call with despair. He insisted it was a process I carried out in Italy, while I insisted it was a home state deal. Apparently the key was face-time with the consulate receptionist (who, on the phone, said he couldn’t work with corsi singoli) who finally set me up with an appointment with Carla Megale in the education department. With originals and copies of everything I brought to my visa appointment she quickly had everything stamped, signed, scanned and ready.
- Pack light. Ship extras.
I’m a serial over packer. While I may have been able to pack it all in an extra large suitcase, the reality of dragging sixty-plus pounds of luggage was grim.
Then I got a great tip: UPS winter clothing. I knew I could force myself to purge extraneous items, but theres no getting around the huge amount of space a winter coat takes. I packed a bit of a lighter load and plan to send my warmer weather things back when my pre-packed winter box arrives. And if I don’t end up needing a winter coat: I just saved myself extra baggage.
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Caeli Smith is a junior at Connecticut College and majors in English and Art with a minor in Italian and is part of an international studies program. She likes nothing more than heading out on a travel adventure - to sightsee, try new food, wander, and get a little bit lost.</span></div>