Bureaucracy

By Cassi Greenlee

“Bureaucracy, after all, is a French word.”
-Man waiting in the Visa office

The road to study abroad is not always easy. There’s deciding which country to travel to, which school to study at, the application process, the scholarship applications, visits to the bank, talks with your parents, more talks with your parents, booking flights, getting pre-visa acceptance, getting a visa… It can be exhausting. Especially when it seems the universe is working against you…

“RECALCULATING!” the GPS system yelled every five seconds. There I was, in the middle of Chicago, driving in circles around the construction sites set-up every other block. I had 20 minutes to get to my visa appointment at the Consulate on Michigan Ave and it wasn’t looking good. Finally, with 10 minutes to spare, I found a parking Garage. I parked, immediately grabbed my stack of required documents and started running.

It was about 90 degrees outside and I was sprinting down a sidewalk in Chicago wearing heels and a suit jacket. Earlier I had decided to dress nicely because I figured the French weren’t going to let any unfashionable Americans in to their country, no sir. When I finally arrived, sweaty and flustered, at the Visa office waiting room, I was sorely disappointed. It resembled the DMV, and moved at a comparable pace. I sat down and waited patiently for my name to be called.

I quickly joined a conversation with a few other students in the room. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to vent about my experience with the preliminary visa application through Campus France. I had agonized over my account with Campus France for days. I submitted all my online materials and paid my $70 but received no word. I was forced to send them a fax (the only way to contact them for some reason) telling them I had a visa appointment in three days and I needed my confirmation of completion. Luckily it had all worked out, but I still wanted to tell these other students how frustrated I was. They all understood. That’s when the man next to me said, “Bureaucracy, after all, is a French word.” Soon after, my name was called and I got the visa in under five minutes.

Easy as that.

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