‘I’m Rosie Rutherford; I’m going to study in Alfred University, NY, for four months, starting in August. I plan to blog as I go along, meeting new people, trying new things and soaking up the atmosphere of North America!’Ask me anything
Two weeks tomorrow, fifteen days, three hundred and sixty two (ish) hours… I’d do the minutes too but that would just be silly.
I’m almost completely ready now. Almost. When, all those months ago, I decided to pursue the opportunity of studying abroad for a semester I had no idea what it would entail. It was obvious that there would be a lot of paperwork, but to be honest by now, I have completely lost track of how much I’ve filled in.
It started with University forms and applications. These included questions like, ‘Why do you want to study in America? How do you think this will benefit you? Why do you think you should be picked?’ etcetera etcetera…’ We also had to obtain permission from our course leaders and pick modules that matched our studies in England. This is easier said than done. Like almost everything, degrees and courses are different ’over the pond’. In order to find modules that fit, I had to look under the English course. In England I’m studying Drama and Creative Writing, but in America I’m studying Theatre (I’ll spell it RIGHT) and English.
If I thought the Uni paperwork was long/difficult/plain annoying, that was nothing to what was coming from the American Embassy. The detail the questions went into was remarkable. Example- ‘Have you been to the United States before?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Please complete the entry and exit dates of your visit.’ ‘Huh?’ Now would be a good time to explain that yes I have been to the US before on several occasions. However I was a child, the first time being when I was eight- ten years ago. Not even my parents - the responsible adults of said trip - remember.
*A note to all the clever people who told me to check the stamps in my passport*
-There were NO DATES ON THE STAMPS. (Sorry, had to let that one out. The amount of people who gave me this helpful advice…)
After I’d jumped that hurdle (a vague reference to the Olympics is all you’re going to get) I had to answer the ‘Security Questions’. Below is a sample of genuine security questions-
1) Have you ever engaged in prostitution? Do you plan to engage in prostitution whilst in the United States of America?
2) Have you ever engaged in genocide? Do you plan to engage in genocide whilst in the United States of America?
3) Have you ever engaged in terrorism? Do you plan to engage in terrorism whilst in the United States of America?
I kid you not.
So that was the fun of the American Embassy forms. Add that to the fun of a 4 1/2 hour wait for my visa interview and a lot of hidden costs, it perhaps wasn’t my favourite part of the preparations.
The last bits of paperwork range from roommate questionnaires from Alfred so they can match me ‘with the perfect roommate for my home away from home’, housing & dining contracts and sorting out my banking for when I’m over there. I’m looking forward to the moment when all the paper work is finished and I just have to get on a plane. Although I’m sure that will present its own special challenges.
- The quotes used in this post are not actual quotes but as close as I could get using my faulty human memory…
- In case you were wondering the answers to all the security questions were no.
***Title totally stolen from this awesome dude - http://jkcassels.tumblr.com/ ***
So in under three weeks time I’ll be in Alfred, have met my room mate, been shopping (ever important) and had a pizza dinner… Literally that is almost exactly what I’ll be doing on my first full day in Alfred- along with some induction meetings.
I’m not sure whether the induction meetings will be as different to English ones as everything else has been so far. I hope so. I’ve never been a fan of inductions… well no matter what happens the trip to Niagara Falls during orientation week will make it all worth it! Words cannot express how excited I am about this! *Smiley Face*
Things have been a bit stressful in terms of how much I need to get sorted before I go, but I’m finally feeling like I’m making progress. My list is growing smaller by the day!
One of the main issues I’ve encountered with forms etc. is how different everything is to the English way of doing things. One of my favourite (and potentially most annoying) examples has to be when I was setting up my Alfred email. The first step was to read and agree to the terms and conditions. Now we all know that no one actually reads the T&C’s. Imagine my horror when I clicked next and was presented with a 15 question quiz on the Terms and Conditions I had apparently just read. Cue Rosie backtracking quickly and reading the T&C’s for once.
Fair play Alfred- you win this one…
So it’s twenty two days until we fly out to New York and I’m in a bit of a limbo. One moment it seems like it is ages away, and the next it feels like I’m going tomorrow! It would probably help if I felt more ready, but there is still forms that need to be filled out and information that I’m still waiting for, hence the limbo feeling…
The actual journey to get to Alfred is what is sticking in my mind at the moment, more so perhaps than the four months I’ll be spending there. A fact that has caused much hilarity to friends and family is that the flight half way around the world and the coach journey within the state of New York are exactly the same in length- eight hours. A lot of people have advised me to sleep on the plane, but I reckon sleeping on the coach will be better, on the plane we will have the wonders of trans-Atlantic flight entertainment to keep us happy. The only thing that is certain about the coach is the inevitable travel sickness – joy. I am looking forward to seeing New York City, when we stay overnight; I’m definitely for getting up early and having an all American breakfast before the coach. Pass the pancakes!
This time last year I was working full time (as I am now) and wondering what on Earth University was going to be like. That is a definite parallel to how I’m feeling now, what on Earth is an American University going to be like? Aside from heightened stereotypical TV shows and films, there is no frame of reference for what we can expect from Alfred University. I really hope it’s not like the films, don’t think I could handle the bitchiness!
Anyway, I decided to write this short one just to work out exactly how I’m feeling about it all. The overriding feeling is of course excitement, but in the mix is nervousness, impatience and just a tad of disbelieve that I’m actually going!