Friday, January 18, 2013

How I got to Hofstra in less than 12 days...

Real life story of Hofstra International Student 

Barnabas Tchukombe

Thursday, 16th of August 2012

Thursday night I called the Multicultural & International Student Programs Office (MISPO). I first got through to Sonia Fernandes, the international student advisor at Hofstra, and I explained to her how I had very little time because I'd been waiting for my A level results from my university in the UK and I spent several weeks in Ethiopia. I told her I needed my F-1 student visa before orientation and I didn't know where to start!  

You don't have enough time, I don't know if you're going to make it.- Sonia
After the phone call Sonia sent me a long email telling me to first fill out the F-1 application form in order to receive an I-20 from Hofstra. I still didn't even know what an I-20 was at this point!

I responded by saying...Although I know you are busy I would really appreciate it if you would respond right away, you've made it clear to me that time is very limited and I'm extremely nervous at the moment.

I completed the I-20 application form that day after exchanging 9 phone calls and 16 emails with MISPO and Undergraduate Admissions!!!

Friday, 17th of August 2012

  Jack Nelson from Undergraduate Admissions wrote me an email....
Our international student office is processing your I-20 right now. I will update you when we have a FedEx Tracking number. Packages usually arrive in 3-4 business days

Sunday, 19th of August 2012

This was the first miracle, on Sunday my mom was pulling out of the driveway when a FedEx truck came up to our house to deliver my I-20 document. It had been less than 48 hours!

Wednesday, 22nd of August 2012

The second miracle I ran out of the American Embassy and rushed into my car and explained to my mom that I needed to get the bank receipt in time otherwise I'd lose my chance to get my F-1 student visa interview for that day. Time was very limited and I couldn't lose that opportunity.

When I entered the bank I had to take a ticket and wait for my number to be called to make a deposit and pay for my F-1 visa application. The wait was at least 30 minutes...I wasn't going to make it! That's when a man with a VIP card that I never met before came up to me and introduced himself. I told him I am a student and I need to make a deposit or I won't make my interview. He said he would help me and I was out of the bank in 5 minutes! Flashing the receipt high above my head and signaling to my mom to pull out the car.

 I returned back to the American Embassy just as the cashier counter was closing. This was a miracle to me! I did the interview and my F-1 student visa was approved. I told the American officer that I had no time left and needed to attend my orientation next week. The American Embassy printed my F-1 Visa on Wednesday afternoon which was a miracle because on Friday and Saturday the American Embassy is closed.

Saturday, 25th of August 2012

My passport with my new F-1 student visa printed safely inside arrived my mail 3 days after leaving the American Embassy! I immediately called Emirates Airline to book a direct flight, Dubai to New York. Emirates was fully booked. There was only one seat left in business class. My mother spent a lot of money to get me that seat. She wanted me to attend the international student orientation because it is mandatory. That night I flew out of Dubai...

Sunday, 26th of August 2012

I arrived in New York!!!

Monday, 27th of August 2012

Exactly 11 days after I contacted MISPO I was now at MISPO. Looking back I realize I couldn't have done it without the support of my mother, Sonia Fernandes and Jack Nelson. I wouldn't have made it on time if one thing had taken a minute longer!

I want to thank Sonia Fernandes for issuing my I-20 and giving me the guidelines on how to start getting my F-1 visa. I want to thank Jack Nelson for sending me my I-20 in an incredibly short amount of time. I applaud everyone for their efficiency and invaluable help!!!!  

~Barnabas Tchukombe
 Undergraduate International Student, Biology Major

As we read Barnabas' story we look forward to greeting the new international students arriving for the spring semester next week at MISPO international student orientation!!!

more information about international student orientation


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