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The Struggles of Being an International Student

By Bruna Pacheco
On September 6, 2019

Photo by Bruna Pacheco

After four years of studying in a foreign country with people that speak a completely different language compared to my native one, I have been through a lot of things, both good and bad.


In this article, I will be talking about one specific, tiresome thing: the documentation necessary to study in the U.S. and the related challenges that present themselves.


Having only one semester left until I can graduate, I ended up having to go back home because both my passport and student visa were expiring.


In Brazil, you not only renew your passport when it’s about to expire, you have to get a new one every single time. To solve the passport issue, I could’ve just gone to a Brazilian embassy in the U.S., but I would’ve had to pay $150; converting this amount to Brazilian currency, the damage would be $600. Meanwhile, getting a new one back home would cost $250 in Brazilian money, which is only $62 in U.S. currency.

The next step was to renew my student visa. In order to sort this thing out, it was necessary that I’d go outside the country to a Brazilian consulate. So, I might as well just go back home for a quick trip and visit the family. 


Once I was back home, I contacted OU’s International Advisor, Dr. Murle Mordy, a few times. As always, he was very attentive and helpful throughout the whole process by answering any questions that came up.


Forms were filled out, fees were paid and documents were handed over; that was all needed to renew the visa. If only it were that easy.


If I hadn’t transferred schools more than two times or had I not changed my major, I wouldn’t have had to go for an interview. 


But I did, so because of that, I had to go for an interview. The interview was done quickly and after that I had to wait…


And wait… 


And wait. 


Until finally, my passport and visa were ready to go back to Ottawa for one last semester, and let me tell you, I really missed this place. 


So, if you’re an international student and excited to be studying in the U.S., the opportunities here are endless. But also, you should be ready for the mountain of paperwork that goes along with it. 


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