In attempting to fulfill my dream of living abroad, I have learned the road less traveled leaves space for ingenuity and mistakes. One chapter in my life is finally coming to a close, and soon my adventure begins.
I started the process in August. I was attempting to study in Greece or Scotland, as both options had been available online. After speaking to advisors in the Study Abroad Office, however, I quickly learned otherwise, simply because of time or money. Then we discussed alternatives that would still give me the experience I wanted.
Zachary Tobin, an adviser in the Center for International Exchange office, told me about the Netherlands: a place I had barely heard of and never really cared to learn more about. It was like trying to explain Mordor to a Harry Potter geek. But after a little persuasion and research, I was hooked.
From there, all that was required was a passport, an application, official transcripts, several different forms that seemed to never end and a couple hundred dollars. I could handle it.
It took me almost two months following the beginning of my application process to be able to afford a passport and another few weeks to receive it, so my application was finished three days after it was due. With the impending threat of losing my spot, I was terrified. All the same, Tobin managed to keep my hopes up.
Before the application was due, I emailed the man who would be processing my application to inform him of the issues I was facing. He was very kind and told me that he would save my place and not to worry. I still worried. A lot.
My acceptance letter came three weeks after the application was due, two days after telling my mom I probably didn’t get the spot and what I planned to do about it. The program definitely took their time. Maybe I worry too much.
The excitement lasted a few days, but was marred when I saw an email from a person whose name still gives me anxiety attacks when she sends me emails. The program needed $5,000 by the end of the week or I would lose my spot and wouldn’t be allowed to go.
This is where the ingenuity came in. My mom and stepdad came up with a solution that wouldn’t cost us $5,000. I convinced the scary email lady to just take a bank statement saying that I had the money in my account and we would pay it over the year in payments. She approved, but then we had to find the money to put in my account, because it most definitely did not have that much in it.
My stepdad lended me money to help cover the expenses. After many calls to the bank, a lot of paperwork and a cashier’s check, we had it. The woman with the program accepted my bank statement.
From there it was all an easy downhill slope: I found a nice apartment with a medical student at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences, I scheduled advising appointments, I enrolled in classes and I will even be paying less to study there than I would to stay in Flagstaff.
My last step was completed two days ago — my flight is now scheduled and paid for.