Drexel Passport Day

  1. Attend Study Abroad 101 session
  2. Apply for study abroad through Drexel
  3. Apply for study abroad through CIEE
  4. Submit personal statement
  5. Submit letters of recommendation
  6. Get course approvals
  7. Obtain Passport
  8. Obtain long-stay visa
  9. Purchase plane ticket

The list continues. There are a lot of parts involved in applying and preparing for a study abroad experience, and that’s on top of Drexel’s accelerated quarter schedule or working full-time a co-op. Just getting the student visa required a frustrating amount of paperwork, a trip to CVS, a weekday-morning trek to Washington D.C., and around $60 in fees (not including the price of photos or gas money). Coming from someone who hasn’t even quite figured out grocery shopping in Philadelphia, that’s a lot of planning. The passport process would have been similar had it not been for Drexel’s annual passport day, which saved me the hassle of finding a free time during the week for an appointment at the post office, spending money on photos, finding any necessary transportation, etc. I was able to knock out all of those tasks in the space of one morning, without stepping off campus, and now I won’t have to worry about my passport for another ten years. Even better, I was selected to get a free passport which saved me $110.  

The process was simple. I signed up for Drexel’s Passport Day online and was emailed with an appointment time. Next, I printed and filled out the required paperwork. At my leisure, I got my passport photos taken for free at the Dragon Card office. When Passport Day arrived, I went to the study abroad office on the second floor of the Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research building ( now the Academic Building). After a brief wait, I met with a passport agent, who checked that my forms were filled out correctly and answered any questions that I had about the process. It probably took less than 20 minutes, and I also received some study abroad “swag” (a t-shirt, passport holder, etc.). A few weeks later, I received my passport in the mail. Holding that little booklet in my hands made me feel powerful. It was a license to travel anywhere for the next ten years of my life (now there’s no excuse not to).

I truly encourage students at Drexel to take part in Passport Day if they are eligible and available. It’s a great experience that limit the stresses and costs involved in getting a passport. Moreover, I encourage students to make traveling while they’re young a priority, I did, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.  

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