Just another kid going overseas. Join me as I figure out the good, the bad, the ugly and the hopelessly Spanish of the Auxiliares program in Aragón.

Formerly "From Sevilla, With Love" (a study abroad blog).


Snoop my posts at your leisure, and feel free to hit up my ask box.
All of my photos are labeled as mine in the tags (so source/credit them please!) and are from the 2011-2012 academic year.

 

FBI have no idea what I’m doing…

Background checks are just another part of the visa application process. Each consulate has slightly different requirements on what they will and will not accept as far as background checks go. Some will only accept federal background checks that have received an Apostille of the Hague. Some will accept state background checks with state apostilles. If your consulate accepts the latter, I would recommend that you go that route.

I personally went for the FBI background check, both for my visa when studying abroad, and this time around for Auxiliares. The first time I went through the process, it was pretty smooth sailing. I got my background check back in 6 weeks, made color copies to take to my impending visa appointment, and sent it off to get apostilled in Washington DC. The final document, with the apostille, arrived a week after my visa appointment and I sent it off to my consulate with no issue. This time around, it was a little more tricky.

In a true testament to the nature of bureaucracy, I planned about 10 total weeks for my background check and my apostille to come back, factoring for delays. Or so I thought. It took 8 weeks just to get my federal background check back, and now I have to wait for my apostille. I leave in 3 weeks. Oops. The moral of the story is: plan ahead. Like way ahead. You never know just how long it might take.

If you go the state route, check with your state’s Department of Justice. Turn around on state background checks (like their federal counterparts) varies depending on the volume of requests that the DOJ is receiving at a given time. The perk of a DOJ versus an FBI background check is that (unless you live in Washington DC) you get a much quicker turn around, and can do a walk-in apostille appointment at your state’s State Department Office, and have your whole thing ready to go when you walk out the door of the federal building doors. I, however, went the federal route.

So here is the deal with FBI background checks. As I said, I have had a very timely experience, and a not-so-timely one. It just depends. Always plan that it will take twice as long as you think it will. And then some. As long as it is no older than 3 months at the time of your visa appointment, they will accept it. So plan ahead.

My FBI background check FINALLY arrived, and now I have to go through the process of sending it back to Washington DC for an apostille. I don’t care where you are, bureaucracy sucks.


I have to leave in 3 weeks…here’s hoping that they have a way to expedite this whole thing. Not going to lie, I’m freaking out a bit.

Flipar: a freak-out may be on the horizon

I have yet to receive my FBI background check, and it’s stressing me out. If it didn’t need to be apostilled, it wouldn’t be such an issue. However, since that takes an additional 4ish weeks on top of the time it takes to get the background check…well let’s just say I don’t think I’m going to have it for my visa appointment.

Last time, I was able to overnight my apostille to my consulate when I received it and presented them with color copies of my background check. Thankfully I got someone who was cool and let me bend the rules a little that way. My worry is that I won’t get someone as cool this time around. I mean, they’re still Spanish; they’re not exactly known for going out of their way to make things easy. Especially not bureaucratic things.

But, honestly, if I don’t get to go back to Spain because bureaucratic agencies can’t get it together to process requests in a timely manner (yes, I know how contradictory that sounds. And YES I know how bureaucracies function both in the US and in Spain. But I hold out hope, damn it!) te lo juro, me voy a flipar.

This is not likely to be a daily blog (I have a personal Tumblr for my day to day geekitude), but I got kind of excited when I saw this image. I was snooping around the site that the Spanish government uses to process the Auxiliares de Conversación applications and acceptances, trying to see if I could find out a little more about my placement (spoiler alert: I couldn’t), and I noticed that they had a list of all the people who had received placements so far, and who had accepted/declined. That may seem less than thrilling to some people, but I am a list maker (if not a list follow-througher) and I wanted to see my name. It was like proof that I was really going, that I had committed and that they had acknowledged my commitment. So I clicked on the link and scrolled. And scrolled. And scrolled. And finally all nestled in between Matthew and Corey was me. Plaza aceptada; position accepted. Guess they know I’m going, after all.

This is not likely to be a daily blog (I have a personal Tumblr for my day to day geekitude), but I got kind of excited when I saw this image. I was snooping around the site that the Spanish government uses to process the Auxiliares de Conversación applications and acceptances, trying to see if I could find out a little more about my placement (spoiler alert: I couldn’t), and I noticed that they had a list of all the people who had received placements so far, and who had accepted/declined. That may seem less than thrilling to some people, but I am a list maker (if not a list follow-througher) and I wanted to see my name. It was like proof that I was really going, that I had committed and that they had acknowledged my commitment. So I clicked on the link and scrolled. And scrolled. And scrolled. And finally all nestled in between Matthew and Corey was me. Plaza aceptada; position accepted. Guess they know I’m going, after all.

About indicating your preferred region(s)

The way you select your preferred region is by grouping (Grupo A, B, C) and within that grouping is a cluster of regions. So for example, Grupo A could be Galicia, Catalunya,  Aragón, Navarra and Pais Vasco. Then you would choose your preferred region from within that grouping, and do the same with Grupo B/C. From there you number the Grupos according to preference  So if your first choice region was, say, Galicia you would number Grupo A one (1), and so on. However, just because you select a grouping as your first choice doesn’t mean that you will be placed within those regions.

I know it’s complicated, but hey, welcome to Spain! If you have any questions about this particular aspect of the process feel free to send me an ask, and I’ll do my best to help you out. 

This blog has basically (okay more than basically) been on hiatus since my return to the States in July. I have some pictures that I may post from my last couple of months abroad last year that are pretty nifty. The truth is though that I got caught up in school stuff. Thesis writing is a bitch, yo. 

Anyway, I didn’t want to get rid of this blog…just in case you know? And as of a few days ago I found out that I will be returning to Spain as part of the Auxiliares program. (More on that later, I’m sure.) So I am thinking of keeping this blog to chronicle that experience. I am going to be in Aragon, a completely different area from where I lived the last time, and am really looking forward to it. So stay tuned, if you are so inclined to see some photos of prep, and later of life in Spain.