I love to talk. And I love talking with students. They’re idealistic and full of dreams and their futures are full of promise. I love hearing about their big plans for their future. So I love student season. That’s the time of year students decide on which school to attend in America, and to prepare to apply for their student visas. To prepare for the upcoming rush, we do a lot of outreach.
This weekend I had two opportunities to diplomat about applying for a student visa. There are a lot of misunderstandings and myths about getting a visa. A lot of students think that the visa interview is the hardest part of studying abroad. Our outreach is intended to give them accurate information. I try to tell them that this should be the easiest step in the process. They usually don’t believe me, though.
On Friday night, I helped to staff the Consulate’s booth at a big study abroad fair in a downtown hotel. I was scheduled to be there for an hour. I stayed almost two hours. I had a lot of great conversations, and heard about a lot students’ plans. Afterwards, I had to go back to the office, and I wound up working there for another two hours, before the energy wore down enough to go home.
On Saturday I returned to give a formal presentation to students and parents. There were over 150 people in the audience. They asked really good questions that showed that they are already knowledgeable about the process and the regulations.
Talking with people about America, especially about studying in America, is one of my favorite parts of this job.