I didn’t have much to say (yet) about classes back in October, but now that I have met at least once for all my courses, I am prepared to give an overview of my impression of BOKU classes: meeting times are scattered. They meet for long hours with lots of coffee breaks and then they don’t meet for weeks after that. Attendance is usually optional. Homework doesn’t really exist. Assignments like papers are very open. Professors are flexible. Most are very friendly and funny, or at the least very intellectual so maybe a bit odd ;P The topics of the courses I am taking range from weather forecasting to climate change and predicting the future’s development, but somehow I making it all relate to Communications and I love it.
So far I think I have mostly only spoken well of Austria. …We can consider this next part explaining some of the problems or issues I have had and have been dealing with.
The biggest thing right now is my residence permit. I still do not have it. I think I have explained that I want to be here for two semesters, which means a visa is not enough (that is only good for up to 6 months). So if you plan on staying more than 6 months you need a residence permit, which I applied for in July (almost 4 months ago now) while I was in the US. I went to the NY consulate in person and handed all my documents over. They did not say there were any problems with the documents and all seemed to be in order. I would check in about every other week (somewhat impatiently) to see if there was an word on my approval or at least to see if they needed another document or what. The consulate advisor assured me it would all be ok. As an American student I could enter Austria with no problem and finalize my permit over there and they would mail all the documents. So legally I can be in the country for 90 days without any visa or permit.
After I settled in the first couple weeks I went to the MA-35 (in the beginning of October) which is the Austrian Authority who deals with applications and issuing permits. They told me they had no updates. By the end of the month, I received an email from someone at the NY consulate telling me that the MA-35 needed an additional official stamp on my birth certificate. I had a notarized seal already on my birth certificate and was a bit frustrated on why they did not have this but I thought the problem would simply be resolved if I dropped of the notarized copy I had…..I thought wrong. Apparently an Apostille is more than a notarized seal. I have never heard of an Apostille. My family and I tried to look up what an Apostille is and tried to ask the Consulate hotline telephone number. The only answer we got was “an official stamp or seal”. So we thought ok the raised notarized seal from the state on the document should be plenty good enough. No. The woman from the NY consulate emailed me an attachment explaining in an entire paragraph that an Apostille is in fact the result of an entire treaty agreement among countries as a way to validate foreign documents in another country. Unbelievable. Couldn’t anyone have shown us this before I left the US for Europe??
Anyways now I am working on communicating with my parents (who are 5 hours apart, usually 6 but over here in Europe we changed our clocks back a two weeks before the US, strange but another important tip to note). And my parents need to get another copy of my birth certificate, notarized and go to the state capital and pay quite a lot for this Apostille and then mail it over to me, all in record time because the MA-35’s deadline for these documents is November 25th, which is probably because my 90 day deadline is a couple short weeks after that in mid-December. There are a few other issues with my application, another apostille needed document and apparently German translations. We heard from several official people translations were NOT needed, but I think I have finally figured out the translations are dependent. Dependent on whether the person who just so happens to be assigned to your case is comfortable with English or not. Guess who was so lucky to have someone who is not? This will put some delays$s on any traveling, but as long as everything works out and I get approved I won’t mind waiting on traveling. I need to do some exploring within Austria anyway (which is very affordable and there are great group deals for!). So enough disappointing news about legal issues (those are never any fun, the US is the same way haha). The lesson to be learned of course is that things never go according to plan-a rule I am getting quite good at living by. More spontaneous may mean little more disorganization but it is usually more fun and exciting because of that!
Tonight’s new adventure: A Pakistani restaurant where you chose how much you think you should pay! I like the sound of that and we get to sit on the floor, very chillax
That’s another lesson: Europeans are better at relaxing. I think I can (and am) learn a lot from them.