“Your UK Visa Has Been Issued”

This is possibly the most glorious phrase I’ve ever heard (read). I don’t think it’s possible to describe in words the process I (and my wonderfully helpful father) have gone through in the past few months, mostly weeks, in order to procure this one single, but apparently eminently important, piece of paper. My first piece of advice to anyone planning on studying abroad is to understand the visa application process well enough that you’d be able to explain it, step-by-step, to someone else. My second piece of advice is START YOUR APPLICATION EARLY! Like, many months in advance. This will allow enough time for the many corrections you’re likely going to have to make.

*Anyway*, now that that’s finally taken care of just a mere twelve days before I leave for Huddersfield, I can finally relax and look forward to my trip instead of dread the possibility that it might not happen. The crazy part to me about my upcoming semester abroad is that I really don’t know what to expect. Since this is the first time in many years that New Paltz and Huddersfield are doing an exchange, both the students at the schools and the staff in the international offices don’t have as much knowledge on the programs as they would were they regular, semesterly exchanges. This is both exciting and somewhat anxiety-provoking. I know very little about University of Huddersfield itself, like what the vibe on campus tends to be, what the students are generally interested in, if the professors teach class (which I hear is sometimes optional??) with their underwear on their heads, etc. What I do know is that I’ll be taking mostly psychology classes in addition to one class on British culture, and that I’ll be living in a campus-owned flat with five other international students, including one from New Paltz, which is a converted insane asylum. At relaying this piece of information to my mother, I was given the response “Oh good, so you’ll feel right at home!” She just may be right.

Regardless of knowing or not knowing what to expect, I do know that this has literally been the longest summer of my life—mid/late May-early/mid September—and I am ready to leave it behind. Though it had its definite good, even great, times, my summer was also filled with a lot of stress, getting my heart broken by someone I really cared about, working a much less than thrilling job at Connecticut Muffin (this should be self-explanatory), a somewhat scary visit to New Paltz this past week, and generally not feeling like I did anything terribly productive. I am definitely ready to see what Huddersfield has to offer me.

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