A lot has happened since my last entry–I’ve received my visa issuance number, gone shopping, have a departure date/location/time, and have realized banking was not as simple as I had hoped!
Last Wednesday I sent in my E-2 visa application along with passport-sized photos, my passport itself (yes, that made me very nervous!), and a pre-interview questionnaire. I should be hearing from the consulate in DC by the middle of this week.
My school’s academic director, whose American name is Sarah, sent me an e-mail that she would be in the United States with a school group for 3 weeks. Because of this, she sent me flight information for my approval and I’ll be leaving Richmond International Airport at 11:03 am on Monday August 23. There will be a slight layover in DC at Dulles International, then 15 hours later I will arrive at Incheon Airport in South Korea. I asked if I would be receiving an e-ticket or a physical one and was told it was “too early” for me to get one yet, but that I would receive an electronic flight voucher.
Recently, I heard a morning show on the radio discussing a study that found most Americans plan vacations so far in advance that they get more pleasure from planning and talking about what they will do once they reach their destination than physically being there! Being from a family that plans things way in advance, I can relate. Saying four weeks before a flight halfway around the world it’s too soon to have a ticket feels abnormal but I’ll just have to chalk it up to cultural difference and go with the flow.
Figuring out international banking has been a headache (wow, I’m really relying on cliches this entry) but I think I’ve got it figured out. The information I received about BOA was from a military wife and the services she described are not available to me as a civilian. After a series of dead end phone calls to various banks, I found what I was looking for in USAA–very limited fees for international wiring, no fees for international ATM, and free checking, checks, overdraft protection, and online bill pay. I can use USAA because of grandparents in the military, but if you are reading this seeking information about moving abroad and your family does not have a US military background, I recommend Wells-Fargo.