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15
COVER STORY

The Best Way to Prepare Your Global Program Abroad

Kicker: COVER STORY (GLOBAL PROGRAMS) The Best Way to Prepare Your Global Program Abroad By Yeong-Jin Choi, Editor pch39067@gmail.com It is always hard for me to take the leap of faith* if the field I am willing to be part of is completely new to me. It takes a long time to adjust myself to fit in; furthermore, what is even worse is that I always feel a bit frightened of encountering a new atmosphere. What do you think when I ask you a question: Are you ready to pack up your things and ride an airplane, fly all the way to the United States, and live there for more than a month without anyone’s help? You might answer, it would be hard if you cannot get any help from anyone you know. I agree. While I was preparing to go to Stony Brook University in New York State in America this summer, the more I tried to prepare for it, the more I felt helpless and lost. I desperately needed someone’s help to prepare the whole step, but all I could get was some postings from the blog from random people. The hardest part of the entire preparation method was until I got my F-1 visa. It would have been nice if I had someone decent enough that could help me, someone who has the experience of going abroad as a Global Program student from Sangmyung University, I thought. Therefore, this article is for students who are interested in going to other countries as a student of a global program of Sangmyung University but are clueless of what to prepare. *Take the leap of faith: To go for something; to take a one’s chances on something Wolfie, a Mascot of Stony Brook University Getting a Passport To begin with, I must start from the day I started to prepare for getting a passport. Since I have never been to foreign countries before, this was my first time of making a passport. Even though we do not need the passport number right away when we register for the program, it is better to prepare it in advance of when we actually need it, and because making a passport requires quite a long time, I highly recommend making one before that. After that, I submitted my forms which were written in my own handwriting by scanning the documents and waited for further instructions. It did take some time to get to the next step because the instructor needed to keep in touch with the IEC Program manager at Stony Brook University. Questions I Secretly Had While Using the Website When the instructor informed us to visit the website of SBU and doexactly what it says, I felt kind of lost. The hard part was not that everything was written in English, but the fact that I had to skip the payment part and finish the form on the website. I thought, ‘When are we paying for the program, then?’ The only thing that the instructor told us was to wait until SBU hands us further instructions on what to do next, and I felt a bit stressful just to wait and do nothing. Hardships I Faced When Buying an Airplane Ticket I hope that you already know that the airplane tickets are less expensive when we buy it way ahead of time. The thing is, in my case, because the Intensive English Program (IEC) at Stony Brook was scheduled all of a sudden, we could not get the plane ticket ahead of time. For the convenience of the students, I believe that SBU should have informed of the pick-up schedule and to ask for the students to buy a certain ticket. That did not happen. When I personally asked to the instructor of what plane I should book, all he told me was to wait some more until they notified us. Methods I Took on Getting a F-1 Visa The next step I took was to prepare for my F-1 visa. It was my first time getting a visa, and I expected that the instructor would tell us the way about how and when to obtain a visa. Well, I guess I had too high hopes, because that did not happen this time as well. Anyway, since other students seemed to successfully get their visas, I got the feeling that I should hurry up and get one as well. Taking photos for visa was one thing but paying a lot of money for all kinds of things I should prepare in advance of getting the F-1 visa was another. Web surfing was all I could do. Naver, a web browser that all Koreans might be familiar with, showed me some blogs that explained the way how to get a F-1 visa. At first, I was doubtful with it. It said that I had to pay more than 700k won in one day, and the steps according to the blog seemed extremely complicated. I decided to give it a try and take a leap, and it was a success. Visa Interview After that, what I had to do was to print out everything and attend the visa interview. When I searched for some information about the visa interview, all I could find was that it is just a piece of cake, so I should not be worried about it. It turned out to be right, but when I was there on the spot and saw people who were standing right in front of me failing, it was a bit worrying. What the consuls* ask us is simple. They want to know when and why we are going to America. The consul that interviewed me also asked who was paying my tuition, and how long I am staying at the States. What I think is important while having an interview is to be polite to the consul and keep being passionate on answering to the questions asked. How fluent we are on English may or may not matter on obtaining a visa, but to show how desperate we are on getting a visa and taking the program at America might help a little. A Picture of a Person Having a Visa Interview with a Consul *Consul: An official chosen by a government to live in a foreign city, in order to take care of people from the official’s own country who travel or live there, and to protect the trade interests of that government Tip Related with COVID Tests The policies might change in the future, but if COVID still is out there when you are preparing for the program, please keep in mind that SBU can require you to get a PCR or Antigen* test in order to move into the dormitory. If you do not have much time or miscalculated the date and could not prepare the document on time, it is always available to take a PCR or Antigen test at the Incheon Airport. It would be better if you make a reservation before you get to the airport if you are running out of time. Plus, being polite all the time and obeying to the requests of the conductors of the immigration check is very important. If you are not following the orders properly, you might be banned to take the plane and get all kinds of disadvantages altogether. *Antigen: A substance that causes the body’s immune system to react, especially by producing antibodies Stony Brook University (SBU) is situated in Long Island, New York. Some people might be familiar with this school as one of its campuses is located in Incheon, South Korea. Since Long Island is such a beautiful place to stay, I really enjoyed being there. If possible, as a person who learned a lot of valuable lesson and had all kinds of precious experiences while doing the program, I would most strongly recommend you all to plan for going abroad to SBU as a student of Sangmyung University’s global program . Sources: https://www.stonybrook.edu/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stony_Brook_University

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    Ex)
    A: Did you see him? He just ignored me when I said hi. What's wrong with him?
    B: Yeah, I did. Well, he is pretty notorious for being a stone-hearted person. I think he is doing that for no reason. Just forget about it. 
    
    -By. CYJ, Editor
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