In continuation with my previous post about Ireland, I must say that thanks to that experience at 15, I decided to enroll another fantastic adventure at 19, this time in the USA. I have always been passionate for languages, especially English. 6 weeks in Ireland + the lessons I took at an academy in my home town were not enough for me to feel comfortable with my level of English. A longer period and being surrounded by native speakers is needed to master any language. This was the reason that led me to travel to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean for a year.
I made the decision of spending 12 months in the North American country. I lived 9 months in the northern part and 3 months in the mid-west. Nothing but great words I can say about that year. However, I must admit that the period before making that decision was tough. I do understand the students who are hesitating about going to another country for such a long period of time. First of all it is the feeling of leaving your family and friends; of course you will miss them, but you have to think of it this way: they will be here when you come back; you will meet tons of new pals and your network will increase considerably. You will not only become proficient in English but you will also increase your future job opportunities, for sure. Furthermore, something that I was scared, nervous and reluctant about was the visa
. When travelling to other countries, applying for the required visa is usually a tedious process; nevertheless it is worth it. Because of studying English at a language school I had to apply for a student visa. When you decide to start off the process, you just see many documents to fill out, interviews to pass and many other things you have never heard of; but don’t worry! You can do it because many students, like me, have
done it! I booked my course at the language school for 12 months; I paid my fees so they could start with the visa procedures. They issued my acceptance letter, the F-1 and the SEVIS documents. While those documents were being processed, I called the American embassy in Madrid to arrange an interview. The language school sent me the documents by ordinary mail and I brought them to the interview as requirement. Do not panic because the interview consists of questions like why you want to go to the US, where you are going to study, which are your plans for the future, etc. After a month, I had my visa at home! J The whole process lasted between a month and a half and two months. But after that, I was ready to go! I remember how happy I was when I booked my flight for September 2008! And also… how sad I felt when I had to come back in September 2009…
Thanks to Facebook
I keep contact with many of the people I met that year, and you cannot imagine how great it was when 10 of us met again in Europe last year! Do not hesitate anymore and go for it. It may seem like a life time now, but once you are living this experience, time flies, I promise.
By Diana Martinez Herrero