It was almost two years ago that I was preparing to leave for the UK. It was an exciting prospect, but also a very stressful time. If I had thought that graduate school applications were hard, it was almost nothing next to planning my move and going through the bureaucracy of relocating to the UK. It started months early with trying to find a flat/flatmate, applying for scholarships and loans, etc. etc. Although it is a very exciting experience and a fantastic opportunity, it is also a hassle. Here are a few of the things I had to think about when planning to study abroad.
Have my university and programme of study recognised by the loan and bursary agency of my province.
With my particular province in Canada, if you want to apply for loans and bursaries for studies abroad you need to have your university recognised by the government and your programme as well. Like I would pay 40k to go study to a fake university, but anyhow I digress…
Apply for said loan and bursary programme.
After finally being recognised, I was allowed to apply. One of the worst experiences ever! The programme is simply not made for people who want to go study abroad. They open applications in mid-June for the academic year starting in September and then say it might take up to 8 weeks to be approved. Too bad for students studying abroad and who need to apply for a visa at least a month before leaving…I ended up being okay, but it was a very, very stressful time!
Apply for the visa.
Finally about 5 weeks – and a few anxiety attacks – later, I got my approval for my loan and bursary, so I was finally able to apply for my study visa. Once I had all the proofs and documents I needed, the visa application in itself was fairly easy because when you’re studying abroad you are sponsored by the university to be able to go to the UK, which is a pretty good sponsor.
Go get my biometrics taken.
Another annoying step. Especially when you live in the second biggest city of your country and, for some reason, there are no biometrics centres here. I had to take the day off of work to go to the capital to go get my finger prints taken, etc. for record before finally sending my visa application.
Book a flight.
Although you wouldn’t think this would be a tricky step, it is because you need to buy it in advance to make sure it’s not too expensive, but since you never know when your passport (with visa in it) will arrive, it’s a bit hard to plan early. I know more than one friend who had to reschedule a flight because their passport didn’t arrive on time!
Okay I realise this isn’t technically something you might check off a list and isn’t a ‘hassle’, it is nonetheless a terrible step one must take in order to leave.
Despite ALL of that! I would go through the stress and the anxieties a million times over to get to live the amazing year I had in the UK and meet all my amazing friends all over again. Even though they were terrible times to go through, all the hassle was worth it!
I will soon be posting a second part to this post and it will be all about the rewarding aspects of moving abroad!