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Finally On My Way

by Mollie Wheeler

I’m Mollie,  a sophomore and International Business major at Drake University and I will be studying abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile this semester.

I chose Chile after talking with the international program advisor at my university. She suggested that with my level of Spanish proficiency ( intermediate, although I’m pretty sure a 6 year old native speaker is better at the language than I) and my interest in business, South America would be ideal for me. Luckily, there were plenty of upperclassmen to give me advice on places and programs. After looking into a few different options, Chile interested me the most. Beside the beautiful town of Viña and the classes offered at Adolfo Ibañez, I figured out that it would actually be cheaper for me to study there than at my actual university for the semester. How could anyone pass that up? I applied, got in, realized that the application process was nowhere close to being over, and stepped it up in order to get all of my documents submitted my the deadline.

I finished my first semester of my sophomore year in mid December, and since then have been counting down the minutes until my spring semester in Chile. I am happy to say the countdown is officially over, as I am writing this from the Des Moines International airport.

These past two months of trip prep have been so beneficial for my growing independence. One of the biggest struggles was getting my visa. Last fall, I was in a class that consisted solely of students studying abroad this spring. When November came around, most of my peers had already applied for aor received their visa, while the Chilean visa wasn’t even on my radar yet. I felt like I had so much time, because we weren’t supposed to apply until 90 days before our departure. So when mid January rolled around and I still didn’t have my visa application finished, I panicked a little bit. I had completely forgotten to do some of the steps and had to hurry to get everything finished in time. Thankfully everything worked out, and I took the megabus to Chicago to pick up my visa and stamp my passport last Tuesday. Pretty sure that’s cutting it a little close though.

Through that experience, I learned that you can’t just cross your fingers and hope everything works. You have to be consciously aware of deadlines and requirements in order to get things done. I am very aware of how obvious this sounds, but it seriously hadn’t hit me until my visa application.

I’m going to miss everything about Des Moines, I’m sure, but I am so excited to start my adventure abroad in Chile.

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