On September 1, I embarked on what promises to be the most exciting three months of my life. I have chosen to study abroad in London, England with the CAPA program, though it was never much of a choice. Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by this cosmopolitan city and by its politics, culture, music, and history. Unfortunately, I had never been able to visit, so when the opportunity to study abroad presented itself there was no other option for me than London.
Studying abroad is a much lengthier and complicated process than I first imagined. First, students had to get approved by Rollins to apply for CAPA. Afterwards, applicants had to get interviewed, and finally in April candidates learned if CAPA had accepted them or not.
With the CAPA program there are two options: taking classes or taking classes plus an internship. I opted for the latter. The process of getting an internship is quite unconventional. You send your resumé and cover letter to CAPA, and they place you in an internship that pertains to your interest; you do not apply to specific job positions separately. There are no guaranteed internships in specific places or fields, so in that sense it was a gamble—a gamble I was willing to take.
With CAPA you must be very patient because they do not give out information on internship placement, course schedule, and housing until about two weeks prior to departure. So, while all my friends going to Rome, Spain, and other places already knew what classes they would take and where they would live, I was still in the dark. Thankfully, I received all that information and am ecstatic to be living with my best friends in Earl’s Court and interning at The Independent, a daily newspaper.
Getting the visa proved to be harder than expected. All interns need to obtain a Tier 4 Visa though the British Consulate in New York. After filling out an online application and paying for the visa, you must attend a biometrics appointment to get your fingerprints and photo taken. Lastly, you send your passport via UPS to the consulate and they return it with your visa. I was spending my summer at home in El Salvador, where there are no biometrics centers, so I flew to Miami to attend an appointment, send out my passport, and wait for its return.
When I finally got my passport back in the mail, I was so excited to finally be done with the whole process—only to realize my visa was printed incorrectly. I had to send my passport to the New York consulate for correction and wait another two weeks for its return. I was extremely nervous I would not get it back before my departure for London. Thankfully, it all worked out in my favor. I now have my passport back with the correct visa on it!
There is no doubt in my mind that all the work and stress will be more than worth it. It feels as though just yesterday I was learning the ins and outs of British government and reading Queen Elizabeth II’s biography as a senior in high school. It is hard to grasp that I am ready to begin the semester of my life.