SACI Student Blogger Micaela Rebelo describes her eventful VISA appointment while preparing to attend SACI, and the realization that her Florence adventure was just around the corner.
SACI Student Bloggers give us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to study at SACI and live in Florence. Follow along throughout the semester as our Spring 2020 bloggers share their experiences with the Italian culture, art, language, and more.
Visiting the Italian Consulate
In the middle of a hectic finals week at my home university, I arrived at the Italian consulate to apply for my student visa. I read every checklist twice and prepared my documents weeks before, but as the days got closer I felt unprepared. What if I’m missing something? What if they don’t approve my application? A million different "what ifs" and unlikely scenarios were running through my head.
As I arrived at the consulate, however, my anxiety settled as I met fellow peers who were feeling the same way. As we waited for our appointments, everyone in the student line shared stories of their previous travels and places they were excited to go while abroad. As I was talking about the places that I was excited to go to, I suddenly realized that I had completely forgotten about my worries. The line of students got shorter and suddenly I was next in line. The woman in the booth called “next student,” and I approached the booth to hand her my stack of documents. She looked down at my visa, then up at me, and with a thick Italian accent said, “I can already tell you this picture is…no good.” I shook a bit and look at her, confused. I thought it had fit the requirements. She asked to see my second set of documents and, after going through all my documents, said, “did you really think this picture was okay?”
I was sent to a different building to have a new picture taken, but the consulate was close to closing so I rushed to the building in a state of panic. When I arrived, two (very) Italian men gave me instructions on how to take the new picture, but they only accepted cash. As a typical Millennial/Gen Z, of course I didn’t have any cash on me, so I ask the men where to find an ATM. They told me there was one two blocks away, but in my state of panic I didn’t listen to their specific directions on which direction two blocks over. I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone for directions, but realized that the Italian consulate had locked up my phone and I hadn’t gotten it back yet. Another state of panic set in.
I walk two blocks over toward where I thought the bank was and managed to find a Chase. I quickly withdrew cash and ran back to the consulate in the pouring rain to take my picture. I was drenched at this point because I had not thought to bring an umbrella with me, and my picture was probably one of the worst photos I’ve ever taken. At this point, the consulate was closing, so I rushed back to give the women my photo, finally ending the stress of the visa process.
Two weeks later, I received my visa, and the fact that I was leaving for Florence started to really sink in. About a week before leaving for Italy, I started to finally pack everything up for the semester, but it still didn’t quite feel real that I was leaving for four months. It finally hit me on the way to the airport that this was going to be an experience I would never get the chance to relive again.
- Micaela Rebelo
Micaela Rebelo is a SACI student from Parsons School of Design, studying abroad in Florence during the Spring 2020 Term.
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