Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things I've Learned About Study Abroad... BEFORE Studying Abroad

With 37 days left until I depart for Bologna, I've realized just how much I've learned about studying abroad before even leaving American soil. Here goes nothing...

  • That airplane tickets to Italy are hella expensive... like, two-thousand Washingtons expensive. I mean, I nearly sold my phantom firstborn child to get my ass to Bologna, which I suppose isn't a terrible price to pay, considering I don't plan on having offspring. Like, ever. Sorry, Mom. This brings me to my next point...
  • StudentUniverse.Com is a lifesaver. My sista by a notha mista friend Dru, who you will be hearing about every blog post from time to time, found this awesome website that sells tickets to students for discounted prices. Although the site looks kinda sketch at first, it's legit. I managed to get a round trip ticket for under $1200, which is unheard of in today's shitty ass market. While I may not use the return ticket, it's a better value than one-way... and it's usually required for visas.
  • Speaking of visas, do you know what a "notary public" is? Because I didn't until about 2 weeks ago. Of course, I waited a week before the visa deadline to send in my application (hey, at least I didn't wait until the actual deadline, right?)... only to find out three days before the deadline that they would not accept my application since it wasn't signed and stamped by a notary public. I was all, "WTF is a 'notary public???' I thought those died with Cesar." Apparently, you need to get your visa stamped by a bank or a government servant, whereas I thought having my brother witness me signing the application was legit, especially since we were both eating Cocoa Puffs at the time. Yeah, no.
  • Express Mail is ridonkulously expensive. It cost nearly $40 to send in my application materials, including an express mail envelope to get my shit back... and that was before I had to send in the application again. Thankfully, my mother paid for it that time.
  • Emails regarding study abroad crap are endless. There's, like, 23 every single time you check your email. Some are genuinely helpful, but most are just infuriating. Let's reflect on some things such emails have said...
    • You will need X, Y, and Z upon your arrival in order to get... 
      • X is usually a money amount. Y is usually something that requires money to get. Z is more money. Note to study abroad head-honchos: I'm broke. Stop requesting me to spend so much fucking money. Kthanksbye.
    • When you arrive in Bologna, go directly to Hotel Holiday, NOT the BCSP office.
      • Okay, that's fine. Thanks for the heads up.
    • Pack light. Limit the amount of clothes, cosmetics, and other toiletries you bring...
      • I'm pretty sure that I said an "Oh hayyyyllll no" when I read this line. Why not tell me to limit the amount of shoes I bring, too? DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT I LOVE MY CLOTHES, COSMETICS, AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS TOILETRIES??? Thanks for crushing my materialistic soul.
    • When you arrive, go directly to Hotel Holiday. Do not go to the BCSP office.
      • Yep, you said that already.
    • Print A, B, C, D, E, F, and G before you leave. Copy H, I, J, K, L, M, N, and O and bring them with you to Bologna. Copy the copies of H, I, K, M, O and assorted pages of L...
      • Tree killers. What'd they ever do to you? Are you sponsored by Office Max or something?
    • Do not go to the BCSP office when you first arrive. Go to Hotel Holiday.
      • Seriously, you can stop saying that. We get it.
    • No, you don't. Go to Hotel Holiday and NOT the BCSP office.
      • STFU before I make you STFU... or else I will go to the BCSP office just to piss you people off. 
        • By the way, if anyone actually goes to the BCSP office instead of the hotel when they arrive, they are obviously twats. 
  • It's annoyingly hard to figure out how to get prescriptions abroad... start figuring it out early. Like, when you're in the womb.
  • Insurance companies suck. so. hard. Don't even get me started. 
  • Summer goes so friggin' slowly when you're anticipating what will surely be one of the best times of your life. Period. 
  • I don't know any Italian. Those six semesters I took? Somehow erased from memory. I blame extraction... or is it inception? No, definitely extraction.
Obviously some of these realizations are more important than others... that's not to say, however, that any of these are significant in any way. During the summer, my brain turns to mush. I'm surprised when I manage to put on my socks in the morning. No joke. 

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