Barbara: “Being an International Badger”

Since I was a child, I saw North American movies about finishing high school, applying to universities, and receiving the expected acceptance letter.  It is amazing how that reality was so close, but even so far. I have never imagined I would have the opportunity to study in the United States. Now that this is happening, I feel like living a dream.

Applying to Brazilian universities is completely different than applying in North America. Because we have very little information about applying to US universities, I had to search for what the application was like. I was surprised by how many things I was required to do, but still really appreciated the process. It is not just giving grades and tests results to the universities but also helping them understand you better as a person.


Getting used to that new process took time, and after wondering if I had sent everything correctly, the results finally came. As you all could guess, I was accepted by UW-Madison, the best university in the world. However, once I was accepted, I had to figure out the next steps. What was I supposed to do? Then, I found out that I needed the F-1 document to start the VISA process.

The document arrived in a pretty UW envelop, and I just started filling the forms about I-901 and SEVIS. I scheduled my register and my visa interview. At the day scheduled, the American Consulate in Brazil was full, and I was worried I would be refused a VISA and, consequently, my dream. However, everything went perfectly, and I got an approved VISA. My dream was getting closer.

Afterwards, I had many things to do. It was time to get used to the mail, find out my room assignment, prepare my belongings to move, buy plane tickets, understand how the university worked, understand student life in the USA, and more! Everything was brand new to me and getting used to a different universe is not one of the easiest things in the world. I’m sure many international students feel the same way.


Additionally, packing my belongings has become overwhelming. Although I have many things to carry with me, I must keep in mind both the space and weight of my bag, making sure I only bring the necessities. This makes packing even harder. Moreover, I am not used to the well-defined seasons they have in Wisconsin. Because my clothes will not fit to the weather there, I will have to buy many things when I arrive.

Leaving my country and my story is also not an easy job. In a few days, I will embark on the biggest, most outrageous experience of my life. Despite all the difficulties and stress, I will, at last, be studying in the United States. This is a unique chance; we must enjoy it and be thankful for the opportunity. It is literally a dream coming true, exactly as we see on Disney movies. See you all soon!


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