Well, this one goes out to my fellow international students. Before traveling, check your travel documents! I have had a very interesting summer break dealing with an expired passport and an I-20 that needs to be signed.
Living and going to school abroad is awesome! You get to see a new place and a new culture and meet a ton of new people. I truly think traveling away from home for school has been one of the best decisions in my life, helping me to grow and learn in huge ways I may not have had I stayed at home. The opportunities are endless, and the more you chase them. the more of them seem to pop up. So don’t be afraid!
The process to go to school abroad is a bit of a task though. First you have to apply to the schools and get in, then you have to apply for financial aid to prove you can afford to go to school there, and then you have to get a special visa that allows you to stay in the country for long periods of time. Not to mention all the banking, phone and other small things that come along with moving to another country and away from home.
But once you have all these things figured out, you’re on your way! The only thing left to do now is remember that each year you have to get your I-20 signed at some point before you travel and also check to make sure your passport isn’t going to expire anytime soon. Otherwise you might run into the problems that I did trying to travel home to Canada.
I want to make a note that school is very busy, and I just got busy and didn’t even think to look at the date of expiry on my passport before traveling. So the night before trying to fly home, I noticed and the airline wouldn’t let me fly across the border. So I had to rebook my flights within the USA to get close to home, thinking I could drive across the border. At this specific crossing, you can drive across with an expired passport, at least in Canada. You just need to have your birth certificate. Well, I don’t usually travel with it, so I had to have someone mail it to me from my house at school. Then when it finally came and I got back into the country and went up as soon as possible to renew my passport (so I would have it in time to get back to school), they tell me I need to have proof I’m traveling within 24 hours to have it done express service. So there I was stuck up here, waiting to get my new passport so I could fly back to school.
Learn from my mistakes, guys, this one was a big hassle. I will for sure be setting reminders in my phone for when my documents need to be renewed from here on out!
Cheers all and welcome back to school!