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melvina

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About melvina

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    Caffeinated

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  1. If you already know about Germany's job-seeker visa, and do not have any info of a Belgian equivalent, I would pick Germany just going off of that. I have not visited either city, so I cannot comment on that, but having had some experience in both countries, when it comes to getting a job as a student and afterwards, I would definitely consider the language aspect of the two countries. While language may not be as relevant in your field as in the humanities, there will certainly be jobs that you won't be accepted for because you don't speak the local language (actually, i shouldn't be so quick to assume....do you speak either Flemish, French, or German? This is probably more relevant to your student job rather than your professional job after graduation, but again, i don't know your field). If you're planning to learn the language, it certainly seems more feasible to learn German rather than both Flemish and French. I am not saying that in Belgium you need to speak both to be able to work, but speaking only one will definitely reduce your opportunities (language is a big deal in Belgium). Geographically speaking, Germany is also much bigger with more companies/universities, which statistically means that you would be able to apply to a lot more posts for your 18-month visa. In my experience, I have found Germans to be more forgiving about my lack of German skills, than French speakers in Belgium. Fun fact: German is one of the three official languages in Belgium, though only a small part of Belgium uses it as their native language. It might be useful to also do some research on whether either university or town organise free language courses, as that might be an additional expense. If you are interested in working for the European institutions, then Belgium would be a more logical choice, but it can be hard to get into those, so I would do extensive research on opportunities before betting on this horse. All that being said, I love both countries and I know that you will have an awesome time in both universities!!! Hope this helps! PS Perhaps try finding gradcafe equivalents for Belgium and Germany, and see what they have to say about the universities and the cities. Might require some fancy Google Translating, but you might get a lot more detailed info.
  2. Where did you hear this from? I was actually in the opposite situation: ages ago I applied for a J-1 visa in by country of birth (and permanent residence) while I was also enrolled in a master's program in another country. I had a paperwork mixup and was denied the visa, but upon denial, I was also informed that in addition to my paperwork mixup, I should have applied for the visa in my master's country because that is where I would be arriving upon return from the US (so it would be that country's embassy that would need to ascertain whether i had strong enough ties to leave the US after my J-1 program and return to complete my master's program). I found this bizarre, but following that advice, I have been issued two US visas in two different countries after that original denial (1. I was working abroad and applied at the closest embassy to my workplace. 2. I was living in my birth country and i applied to my visa at that embassy.). I think the main thing in your case is to answer the question WHY you are applying outside your country of birth. Is it because you are currently legally studying/working in a different country? If so, there is no reason for you to have to fly home in order to apply for a US visa (make sure to have proof that you are legally in that country with visa/contract/work permit/school records). If you are outside your country of birth on holiday, then it's not a good idea to apply in that country for a US visa. If your situation is not as clear cut, for ex., your permission to stay in your current country is expiring imminently, then it's probably a good idea to contact the embassy and ask for advice as to where you should be applying from. It might make a difference where the majority of your nuclear family lives, so emphasise that point if they happen to be living in your current location (as those are "ties"). While my example shows that it is possible to be issued a visa even after being rejected, it is nerve-wracking to say the least to be denied a visa and you have to list it on EVERY SINGLE subsequent US visa application that you EVER make in your life, and it's definitely not worth it! Not to mention that you can always be asked about it during your subsequent interviews which could make you more nervous which in turn could make you seem more suspicious, and honestly, it's really not worth it! The last three paragraphs are just my opinions based on my own experience and the perception of what i think that consular officers look for, so other people might have completely different experiences based on where they come from. Anyway, feel free to PM me if you want to break it down further
  3. I think this would depend where you are currently located. Where I come from, I would just got to the office of a notary public and they would copy and notarize it for me. Sometimes lawyers can both serve as lawyers and notary publics, so I would just google either of those your area and call to get a quote for copying and notarizing a diploma (it should not take more than 10 min, and while prices may vary it is a miniscule amount of work for them so it shouldnt be expensive at all). Hope this helps.
  4. I'm so sorry you've been so stressed about it I didn't mean to say that you shouldn't accept the new offer until you get confirmation, but more that it would be great if you could just bug the first school until you get a confirmation. I would definitely accept your preferred school ASAP (unless you have a different reason to not accept immediately, regardless of your status with the first school), and make it official ASAP (it's good to get the ball rolling on all that admissions/orientations/registration/apartmentsearching stuff anyway). So back to your original question about the first school rejection---if there's no way that you're getting a response, I would then call the Admissions office and just apologize for calling (etc, etc), but that you just want to make sure that they have recorded your rejection because you want to make sure that they have received your request since you want the next waitlisted candidate to get accepted ASAP. If you're really polite and nice about it, there is no reason for them to not be civil back to you on the phone (but i totally sympathize with your stress, it's an uncomfrotable situation for you, but trust me, it's an everyday situation for them. kind of like Disneyland visitors and Disneyland employees :p). Good luck!
  5. I guess it depends how you accepted the offer. If you accepted via email, then I think you could count it as acquiescence. If you accepted more "officially" through their website, then I think you would need to reject equally "officially". Personally, for my own peace of mind, I would make sure to hear back from them either way. Even if it's a bit more uncomfortable for you to email or call, at least you would know that this way your spot is going to someone on the waitlist for sure (rather than you potentially being counted as an admit in the system by mistake). At least for me, that would make me feel less bad about the late rejection. The Admission people deal with this kind of thing ALL the time, so I if you're apologetic, there is no reason to stress
  6. This question was actually discussed here:
  7. Hello there! I've been filling out the DS-160 form slowly and I feel like there are a number of questions that make it hard to know what the right answer is! "Who is paying for your trip?" a) self b ) other person c) other company/org I am paying for my flight and start-up costs, but the university is covering my tuition and will be paying me a stipend. Do you know which answer I should choose?
  8. Thank you so much, @TakeruK for such an thorough explanation. Really helpful for me too! And well done for getting your refund! It's so helpful to hear these stories beforehand, to be able to prepare better @xyzpsych I've heard okay things about PSI Insurance, which is also specifically for international students (so they don't have to cover all the benefits that the ACA requires for other insurance companies), but to give you a reference point, it's about $1000 per year with basic coverage that fulfils most grad school requirements.
  9. There's no reason for it to hurt your chances any more than having an MA from a non-top-10 US school. If you want to get into a Top 10 school, I would say that the rest of your application would have to be stellar (excellent research fit, GREs, LORs, and SOP), but otherwise, your UK school is not something I would worry about. (I am an international student with two foreign master degrees who got accepted into 2 PhD programs). Also, studying British lit in Britain is actually a great thing that you should definitely spin for all its worth in your SOP (assuming your PhD will be literature or Britain related). While there are no "safe schools" when it comes to PhD programs, I would still recommend applying to a variety of different schools.
  10. Thanks for sharing this email. At least they are being upfront and detailed about what the reason for the delay is. I know other schools are in a similar situation, but I don't see many of them officially announcing the same thing, which is frustrating.
  11. Ouch and UGH, that really sucks. How many schools did you apply to? And do you know if they've already sent out rejections? If you let us know the schools, maybe we can share which ones have sent out rejections. Are you sure everything is okay with your SOPHAS application, as in, have you had any correspondence with any of the schools? (I have answers from all my 7 schools, including many rejections, so the fact that you havent heard anything at all is a bit strange).
  12. This made me laugh
  13. Yes, that makes sense. Thanks so much for finding that sample for me, really helpful! I feel like my school at the moment has no idea how much i got in funding, so they are showing the "highest amount", but your advice about submitting what i have, and then emailing them to ask if that's enough is AWESOME!! That way i'm not delayed. Thanks SO MUCH!
  14. That's really great advice, thank you so much, @TakeruK In terms of what the school writes on the I-20.... do you know if they just tick a box that says that i have enough funding, or do they specify the amount of funding that I have shown them? (because i dont want to go to get the visa with one thing on the I-20, but perhaps a different amount in my bank account (in case I need to top up the amount, or need my parents to co-sign, since I don't have $38k fully in my name)).
  15. @SocialPubHealth I agree with @thetemp regarding the funding issue, and that would be compounded by the fact of: will you have to use all your savings or get a loan to attend. If the answer to that is yes, then I would take my chances next year. I would only consider it if I felt that the financial hardship was not prohibitive. That being said, I would also look into the possibility of deferring Pitt or Hopkins for a year, and try again next year with my dream school (though i would definitely also apply to other schools that i didn't apply to this year as well). This is my vote in your context of applying next year again. Personally, at the moment, I'm not sure that I would do another application cycle---but that could also change in a few months.