Pre Departure Craziness
When you're about to depart to Spain for a year, try not to procrastinate. I'm going to try to make your last few months a bit less hectic than mine.
When I needed to get the background check, I waited until the last minute. That costed me $150 to get expedited. Had I done it sooner, I wouldn't have had to pay so much. I got the fingerprint background check from Print Scan other than the rush it was pretty easy.
When I needed to get my Long Stay Student Visa, no appointments would open up. I honestly believe that they are lying about how booked they are but that's a different story. It ended up coming down to the last 3 weeks before I leave and I had to use the assistance of CIEE to get an appointment. Luckily, Samantha with CIEE was very helpful and clearly has some pull with the New York Consulate. Once I emailed her saying I couldn't get an appointment she was on it and got me one the following week. It took 6 days from my appointment to have the visa ready to be picked up. I wouldn't leave it until the last week though. When you go to the consulate, you need $160 via a money order only, 2 passport sized photos, and everything else CIEE tells you you'll need. There is a post office down the block that you can get your money order from should you find yourself only finding out in the city when you're just about to arrive. Also, if you book the wrong appointment they will not see you at all so don't even try it in desperate times. It must be a Long Stay Visa, DOUBLE CHECK.
I'm not too sure if I'll need it but I picked up an international drivers license from AAA. It costed $20 and you need 2 passport sized photos. I found out after the fact that they can take them there for $8 of course, I went to CVS and got them for $14.
If you take the CIEE TEFL Course for $1,000 it is a pretty easy course. It takes up a good amount of time each week but it's really just clicking through slides with little quizzes here and there. At the end of each week there is an assignment which is never too difficult, just a bit time consuming. If you stay on top of it, you should be fine. If you have past schooling to become a teacher, it helps too.
This is my first blog post with more to come and hopefully it helps anyone out that is thinking of embarking on this journey, If you have any questions just ask in a comment!