Getting a student visa is definitely… interesting. Unique? Whatever it is, it's certainly unlike anything I’ve done before, and the process was made all the more interesting by my own forgetfulness. Specifically, I had forgotten that you need a passport to travel to other countries.
As I was preparing my visa application, I was also gearing up for a much anticipated trip to France. The problem, which I was completely oblivious to, was that I needed to send away my passport to apply for a visa. At the exact same time, I needed my passport to get into France. My passport unfortunately could not be in two places at once.
So there I was, with all my documents printed, signed, and sealed in a manila envelope, ready to be sent to the IES Abroad office. Something great about studying abroad with IES Abroad in Granada is that unlike my friends studying abroad with other programs, I don’t actually have to go apply for the visa myself. With IES Abroad, I can participate in a “batch” application, meaning IES Abroad advisors help me every step of the way, collecting all my documents and sending them to the Spanish consulate on my behalf. So again, there I was, my passport sealed away, ready to be taken to the post office later that afternoon, when I got a call from my parents. I was so excited to let them know that after weeks of gathering all my materials I was finally about to put my visa application in the mail! I was also thrilled to share that I was all packed up, ready for my flight to Paris in two days! “Uhhhhhmmmmm… don’t you need your passport to go to Paris?” my dad asked. All I could say was “Ohhhh,” and another word that I’ll let you fill in with your imagination. What followed was a moment of pure crisis, but soon enough my IES Abroad advisor came to save the day.
The next day I met with Kate, my IES Abroad advisor, over zoom and she explained to me that I still had plenty of options to apply for my visa in spite of my ill-timed international trip. We made a plan of action and I got to enjoy my vacation worry free. When I got back, I was able to apply to a different consulate than I had initially intended. In order to do that I got to go to my first ever notary! This did happen to involve walking all over downtown Boston, going from UPS store to UPS store until finally at my fourth store I got the magic stamp of approval that I needed!
While this all sounds like a hassle, it was mostly just a hassle of my own making. If it weren’t for IES Abroad, helping me through this strange new process, getting a student visa would have been much more stressful. If I could give one piece of advice to future study abroad students, it would be to not plan a trip abroad right before your program starts. Believe it or not, your passport can’t be in two places at once!
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Jaden is a sophomore studying Sociology and Spanish at Tufts University. He loves the beach and lakes, hiking, biking, cooking, and playing video games.