BY: AMY PATTON
Amy works 40 hours a week at a bakery for three months at $8 an hour. She gets a 10-minute break every four hours each day. After six percent federal and local tax deductions, how much money does Amy have at the end of the summer? Zero. The answer is zero dollars. For you math majors out there lowering your calculators in disgust, it is obvious something isn’t adding up, pun intended. The answer to that is Wales. No, not the blubberousaquatic mammal spelled with an “h.” It is a wee little country in the United Kingdom and it is my educational destination this Fall. You see, I am studying abroad this upcoming school year and let me tell you, the first thing I’ve learned is that it is expensive! CSULB has an excellent study abroad program. Luckily for me, my financial aid will cover my tuition and dorming fees. However, financing my plane ticket, living expenses and travel visa is left on my shoulders. Thus the beginning chapter of my study abroad journey centers heavily on working my butt off to squirrel every last penny away in my savings account.
My quest to see the world began freshman year. I had an inkling that I wanted to study abroad while in college. My sister did it and I liked the thrill and curiosity of traveling. So like a lost puppy, I wandered into the Study Abroad office on campus and collected several high-gloss brochures dominated by photos of smiling faces. It wasn’t until Fall 2012 that I actually did anything with my dust-collected travel literature.
Deciding on Wales was a fairly easy decision for me. I knew I wanted to go to the UK and Swansea University had an excellent Literature program. One hurdle down, a million to go. After an online application, one essay, a non-refundable $400 deposit, and several nearly missed deadlines (I am a horrible procrastinator), I was accepted into the Swansea Lit program and I celebrated withYogurtland. Still, none of it really seemed real until yesterday – when I got my visa in the mail. Without this $500 document, I would not be stepping anywhere near Welsh grounds. I did it though! I jumped through every hoop, every hurdle, signed and mailed off every document to the UK Immigration headquartered in in New York, New York – a city so nice, they named it twice.
And nice indeed it is. I possessed my golden ticket within days!
With financial aid being disbursed, my tuition and mandatory healthcare is paid for, I signed up and paid the deposit for my dorming (which they call accommodations by the way. Ah, my first Welsh word.) My spot in Swansea is waiting for me. All I have to do is board a plane for my 14-hour flight on Sept. 20th and away I go!