Important tips for students
Once you have been accepted by a program and are making travel plans, it’s very important that you complete the following:
- Find out if you need a visa- A student visa is mandatory for any Non-EU citizen wishing to study in Spain for three months or longer. To get one you need to apply at the Spanish Consulate that corresponds to the state where you live. You must obtain one before you leave your country because visas cannot be obtained in Spain, and Make sure your passport is valid- You must have a passport to enter Spain that will be valid for at least six months after you arrive. If you need to renew your passport or get one, expect the process to take up to a few months. The visa process can be long and tedious, so it is recommended to begin working on it as soon as possible.
- If you have any food allergies, require kosher food, or have other dietary needs, these also need to be communicated to Seville Abroad. If you are a vegetarian, be clear about exactly what you will and will not eat.
LIVING IN SPAIN
Although studying abroad can at times be challenging, it often brings about a life-changing experience with many positive benefits. Some of the most important things to bring with you to Spain are an open mind and a general knowledge of the country and city in which you will be studying. Read about and familiarize yourself with Spain’s culture, history, geography and government before you arrive.
ARRIVING IN SPAIN
As you will be accompanied by Seville abroad staff throughout your trip we will help you with all the formalities upon your arrival. As you will arrive in the country by plane. You will have to go through police controls (and should have their student visa stamped at entry) and customs.
Seville Abroad will meet group flights and help students go to their homes.
Having an idea of what your personal, academic, and professional goals are will help minimize the effects of culture shock. Culture shock is the emotional and physical difficulties one has when moving to another country. It can be characterized by feelings of depression, anxiety, insecurity, irritability, insomnia and physical difficulties such as aches and allergies. Culture shock occurs most often when one lacks prior knowledge of the country in which he/she will be living and especially when one has never traveled abroad before. This emotional and physical “roller coaster” usually occurs in five major stages:
- Honeymoon This is the first stage in which everything seems new and exciting when you arrive in a new place.
- Culture Shock Culture shock settles in when you start to realize that you are in a different environment than what you are accustomed to.
- Adjustment You are beginning to adjust to the culture and language of Spain and are realizing that things are not as bad as you thought when you were coping with culture shock.
- Continual Problems At this point you begin to realize that there are some things about the culture that you will never like or get used to.
- Comfort Finally, you come to the point where you are comfortable in Spain and you do not want to go home!
Upon return to your country after studying abroad in Spain, you may experience what is known as “Re-entry shock”, or the process of adjustment to life after study abroad and its accompanying range of emotions. You may not be the same person as when you left your country, and you are not aware just how much you have changed until you return home. Just as there exist stages for Culture Shock, there also exist stages for Reverse or Re-entry Shock, known as the Boomerang Effect. Students may experience the following stages to varying degrees and not necessarily in this order:
STAGE 1: Disengagement. This stage begins before you leave Spain, as you begin making preparations for your return home. The emotions you may feel are reluctance to leave Spain, missing of friends.
STAGE 2: Initial euphoria. This stage usually begins shortly before departure and is characterized by feelings of excitement and anticipation about returning home. The length of this stage varies, and later you may realize most people are not as interested in your experiences abroad as you had hoped.
STAGE 3: Irritability and hostility. You may experience feelings of frustration, anger, loneliness, helplessness, and/or alienation and not know why. You may become critical of your country, feel like a stranger at home, or experience a longing to return abroad.
STAGE 4: Readjustment and adaptation. The majority of people transition to this stage, which is a gradual readjustment to life at home. You begin to fall back into your old routines. The most important thing is to try to incorporate the positive aspects of your international experience to life now in your Country.
Here are some ways in which you can integrate your experience abroad at home:
- Get involved on campus. Take language classes, volunteer to lead conversation classes, mentor international students, add a major or minor, get involved in your university education abroad office.
- Make plans to return abroad through another study abroad program or independent travel.
- Volunteer, intern, teach, or work abroad.
- Read news from online foreign sources and attend foreign cultural events and celebrations. This is not an extensive list.
There are many other ways to incorporate your experience abroad. Be creative!