Over break, I got to take two little trips to visit friends and finish up some last-minute details for my trip in February. While my first trip, to Cleveland, was a lot of fun, my second trip was not exactly a vacation. My family and I went to Washington, D.C. the week after Christmas so I could visit the French Embassy to apply for my student visa. I’d been gathering all of the necessary paperwork for over a month, making sure I had the most up to date information and the correct number of copies of everything.
Before I went to the embassy, I was exceedingly nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The French Consulate is huge (and thankfully very well marked for the easily lost like me). Once I made my way through the looming gates and up a hill, I found myself in a stark, white waiting room with a few other people.
I waited for a good while, thankfully with my Nook, before the first woman called my name. I went to the window and presented a lot of my paperwork and paid the fee. I then got my fingerprints and the photo for my visa taken. Afterward, I was told to go wait again until a second woman called for me. I gave the remaining paperwork to this woman and she finally called my file complete. I was told that I wouldn’t know anything about my application for at least 10 days. I would either get my visa in the mail or I would be called back to the embassy to present more documents.
My family and I stayed in D.C. for two days after my appointment at the embassy. We
visited the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Virginia estate. The Air and Space Museum is one of my favorite places to visit. I really like astronomy and all of the history behind space travel. I got to see the Apollo 11 capsule and go inside a test replica of Skylab. Mount Vernon was absolutely beautiful and kept in pristine condition. They had mostly original furniture and art in the house itself and had many other artifacts in the museum section, including the key to the Bastille and a set of Washington’s dentures.
Once we got home on Saturday, I was mentally preparing myself to wait for days to hear back from the French. However, I got my visa the following Tuesday! I guess the embassy understood my worries. Now I just have to wait for Feb. 6, when I will finally get on a plane and go to France.
Talk to you soon!
Catch up on Sarah’s journey to France in her blog College Inc. Also be sure to check back later for more as she arrives in France and begins her semester abroad.