A Visit to the French Consulate

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The planning portion of my travel endeavors are completed, and I must admit I am relieved. Looking back to early March, the lengthy list of to-do items seemed daunting. Between applying for study abroad programs, securing a passport, working with Campus France and visiting the French consulate, it was hard to imagine I would ever reach my destination in Aix-en-Provence. Now that the grunt work is completed, I have only a few weeks until my departure. My initial nervousness and apprehension about living in a new country have been replaced with anticipation for the wealth of experiences to come.

 

Despite the tedious paperwork associated with studying abroad, I will be the first to admit that it aids tremendously in establishing peace of mind. For a student leaving the comforts of home, there is great satisfaction in knowing that all formalities are in order and that, you will surely be in good hands.

 

After I applied for my passport, I began working with Campus France. Knowing that it often takes a few weeks for all the paperwork to be finalized from organization, I scheduled an appointment with the Frenchconsulate for five weeks out. As I anxiously waited for my materials to arrive, horrible nightmares of what a visit to the French consulate would entail disturbed my sleep. “What if I forget something?”, “What if someone steals my debit card and I don’t have any money in my bank account?”, “What if I’m late?”, “What if they only speak French?”. Questions of the unknown worried me down to  a sour stomach.


However, as my materials trickled in, and all the paperwork came together, my feelings of unrest were eased. When I arrived in Chicago for my appointment with the consulate, I was pleased to find their offices were friendly and very helpful. Although I had packed the wrong type of envelope, they were prepared with a map of where I could locate for purchase the correct type of prepaid shipping envelope. These people weren’t rude or brash whatsoever- and yes, it was a pleasant surprise.