- Attend Study Abroad 101 session
- Apply for study abroad through Drexel
- Apply for study abroad through CIEE
- Submit personal statement
- Submit letters of recommendation
- Get course approvals
- Obtain Passport
- Obtain long-stay visa
- 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.