Hallo Alles 🙂
I officially have my Austrian visa! Perhaps this is something minute to celebrate over, but after I learned about the EU parliament passing a law to eliminate visa free travel for Americans in EU countries I became quite nervous. Check out what I’m talking about here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/europe-visa-free-travel-americans-european-parliament-vote-a7609406.html
I think it’s always hard to understand the gravity of new laws such as these, I had a lot of questions about what this would mean for me as an American citizen in Europe, but was not sure who could provide me with any answers. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to travel to surrounding countries without obtaining a visa for each country, or that something would go wrong during the visa process (maybe I was just being paranoid). Anyway, in the end, like many things do, everything worked out.
Here are some details about the process for those who are considering coming to study abroad in Graz: The Erasmus Student Network here (ESN) Planned a two day trip to Ljubljana in Slovenia, and Trieste in Italy for students who needed their visas (U.S., Canadian, etc.), and for students who were a part of the EU/EEA who wanted to tag along for fun. We left Graz early in the morning around 6am- schrecklich! (terrible!) 2.5 Hours later we arrived in Ljublijana in Slovenia at the Austrian Embassy. Before coming to Graz, I had the choice of obtaining my Austrian Visa in the United States, or in Slovenia. I chose to obtain my visa in Slovenia because it was more cost effective than flying to Washington D.C. & staying in a hotel there while I waited for my Visa to process. Going to Slovenia only cost 40 Euros & we got to sight see Italy also! It was an easy decision to make. My advice before obtaining any visa, is to look up the requirements for the visa (this often depends on the time you spend in the country & for what reasons). Often times the requirements can be extensive, such as the case for my Austrian Visa, and sometimes it’s easier, such as the case when I got my visa in 2015 in Laos. It really depends, but it is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared (Seriously, I saw people filling out their application at the embassy…) For the Austrian visa we had to have photocopies of our passports, extra pictures, health insurance documents, bank statements, housing contracts, letters of acceptance, etc. Caleb had been preparing since we left Russellville, and checked our applications a couple days before leaving to Slovenia. The process went smoothly for us, and now we know that our Visa also allows us to travel in the Schengen area countries (http://www.schengenvisainfo.com/schengen-visa-countries-list/) with this visa! (So hooray for more future travel! Soon I’ll write about our plans for traveling around Europe during the 2-week Osterfeiern Easter break!)
While we waited for our visa to process, we traveled to Trieste in Italy! Our hostel was right by the coast overlooking the Adriatic coast. We visited the Miramare Castle, which has to be one of the most beautiful castles I’ve ever seen. We also went on a city tour and saw the city center and different bridges. My favorite part about being in Italy was definitely gazing out into the sea. Although eating Italian pizza and gelato is close second. 🙂
For now I’ll leave you with some pictures from Ljubljana and Trieste! Until next time!