In my previous post, The Decision, I explained that after getting the unicorn job and eating like a normal human being for a few years, I decided that working in the tech sector was a nice gig, but that I also wanted to keep learning new things and travelling. Ultimately I decided to apply for the Erasmus Mundus Language and Communication Technology master (i.e. computational linguistics).
Here is how my personal application timeline went down. I am starting a full two years ago in time because that was when I started taking thoughtful steps towards a career in tech.
March 2014: Start taking classes in disciplines I missed during undergrad (math), and begin expanding my programming skills at work.
August 2015: Start actually researching schools and jobs to apply to for Fall 2016.
Sept 2015: Start emailing potential references again and asking that super weird question about if they like me enough to spend their own few hours of downtime to support me in my future endeavours.
November 2015 – January 2016: Working on the Erasmus Mundus in LCT application. This website is clunky and I take a long time to finish this. I wish I had a copy of my personal statement to share with you guys (and for future reference) but it went into a little box on the site and I don’t think I saved it. I submit the application it in January, and then keep taking classes. I also start researching programs in the area that I could do while continuing to work.
March 2016: I am accepted to the LCT program!… preliminarily. The EU still has to figure out that I am who I say I am and that I deserve their money for the Erasmus Mundus scholarship. I got placed into Saarland and Trento, two well-ranked schools in the program. Awesome!
This is when I should have made an appointment at the German consulate for sometime in late June so that I’d have time to get a visa while still in the US. I failed to do this.
April 2016: I need to submit a proof of residence from my school/employer. I don’t want to tell my employer yet, in case things go poorly, so I try to work with my school. Nobody knows what a proof of residence looks like. The LCT program provides me a sample letter. I try to find someone to sign it. I have to go to 4 people in two weeks to make this happen. Seriously? This really isn’t that hard.
May 2016: I am fully accepted! I got the scholarship! They are sending out paperwork!
June 2016: Make an appointment at the nearby German consulate to get a student visa but it isn’t till forever! But I may not need to go there. I may be able to get visa stuff done in Germany directly because I am a US citizen. That’s what Saarland tells me anyway. Also, I just noticed… the paperwork has a typo in my long ass name. Are official people going to care about this? Fuck. Better safe than sorry… I request new paperwork.
July 2016: Give my work two months notice and keep working hard. I enjoyed living and working here, I respect my colleagues, and I want to leave on a good footing.
I also receive the updated new paperwork without typos. I sign up for the intensive German course at Saarland in September. So now there’s no way my passport will get back to me in time if I try to get the visa in the US with my consulate appointment being in August. Everybody including the folks at the German consulate say I can get the visa in Germany because I am a US citizen, so I cancel my consulate appointment and hope they are right.
August 2016: Families are visiting, packing is happening, I will be going to PAX as a last hurrah, although it puts me a day late to the intensive language course in Germany, but it’s worth it!
During my last month here, I use my US address to open a checking account with Schwab and a CapitalOne Quicksilver credit card. Neither of these have yearly maintenance fees or foreign exchange fees (unlike my BofA cards which have forex fees). I also close my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card (which I only really opened for the points bonus last year) so that I don’t get hit with the second year fee. Finally, I cancel all of my bills (electricity, internet, car insurance, rental insurance, etc.). I keep my phone for now since it’s through Project Fi which works at the same cost for text and data in Germany (calls are extra though). I should have also gotten an international driver’s license (through the AAA I guess) but I failed to do this.
September 2016: We finish moving my husband to a new apartment the night before PAX, and I will be moving to Germany the day after PAX. So we were moving boxes till 2:00 AM the night before PAX, and then travelling meaning we were all completely dead for the first day of PAX. In retrospect we should have really done the move earlier, or else left it off for my husband to do later. PAX was amazing though (as usual)… and now… it’s September 6th and I’m off to Germany!
Note: This post is backdated since I wrote it a while ago but didn’t get the chance to update.