Monday, July 16, 2012

2 Months.


I can't believe that in two months I will board my plane to head back to my favorite city. It's a surreal feeling. #excitement #nervous #adventureawaits

When I studied abroad that was an adventure, but there was still a lot of guidance because of Syracuse. This time, I'll be starting at a new school and will be more on my own. Planning wise, I think I've made huge progress in the last month. 

What's Been Completed
  1. Visa Application- I mailed in my visa application on July 10th.  The current processing time is about two to three weeks according to the website. I haven't received a confirmation e-mail that many have said they receive once processing begins. But, then again, when I applied for my Visa the last time I studied in London, I never received an e-mail as well, and that went through without a hitch.  
  2. Doctors Appointments- The necessities of getting contacts, teeth cleaned, etc. have all been done! It was a hectic two weeks- all the appointments seemed to run within the same week.
  3. Absentee Ballot- Mailed! Anyone who knows me well knows I'm an avid supporter of civic engagement, and I wouldn't miss an election even if I was across the pond.
  4. HSBC Passport Account- I received information from HSBC confirming that my passport account has been set up. I just have to show my passport and proof of a USA address once I arrive in London.  When I was reviewing the different banks to work with for the next two years, the Passport Account seemed like the best for me. It's got the online banking which will be helpful, low rates for ATMs, etc. Check out the website here: http://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/current-accounts/uk-bank-account .  If you're a US student studying abroad in London for more than a semester, to receive your student loans disbursement and to actually use the money, you have to bank it. 
  5. Loans-  Speaking of loans, I'm all set! My first disbursement will be on October 1st! US Federal Loans are disbursed three times in an academic year. LSE will take a third of my tuition, and  I will receive the rest of the amount in pounds sterling. 
  6. Flight- I bought it early before the price increases dramatically. I'll be flying out of Syracuse then JFK on September 17th.  I chose to fly on Jet Blue and Virgin Atlantic. When I studied abroad before, I flew Virgin Atlantic, and the service was outstanding for an airline! The baggage fees were waived for one of my bags when the woman found out I was studying abroad and returning home. 
  7. Housing- I've reserved a studio in Nido Notting Hill. It's about a ten minute walk to Westbourne Tube Station. From Westbourne, I'd get on the Hammersmith and City Line and then change to the Piccadilly Line to Holborn. Or, I could take the bus to Notting Hill Gate and take the Central Line to Holborn. Either way, even though my housing is a little farther away from campus, it's still in zone one. Choosing between the three Nido properties (Spitalfields and King's Cross are the other two locations.), I chose Notting Hill for an escape, the location as well as what I consider a fun neighborhood. It's still in Kensington and Chelsea- I'll actually be about a 15 minute tube ride away from where I lived before! 
What Still Needs to Be Done
  1. Finish Payment for First Installment of my Housing
  2. Order my unlocked iPhone -  Being a person who can't go an hour without wondering what has happened on Twitter, the situation surrounding a phone abroad has been well researched. I'll be leaving my US phone home, and I will be buying an unlocked iPhone 3 from Apple. I'm currently using a 4s, but international plan through Verizon costs an arm and a leg. Buying an unlocked phone allows me to take it to O2 (the cell phone company that I plan to use in London) and join their 12 month sim plan. I'll receive a sim card and will be able to purchase a plan that is suitable for me. 
  3. Review of Basic Pre-Calc and Economic Principles- Not one who likes to go into situations unprepared, I've started reviewing math concepts for my pre-semester course as well as academic year. Likewise, I've begun reviewing basic micro and macro concepts as it has been three years since I took economics for my policy studies major. 
  4. ISIC Card- I ordered my card, but I just have to activate it! When I used the card studying abroad before, I received a lot of discounts including free entrances to a lot of museums, etc. on weekends away. 

I've still got a lot to do it feels like. There's plenty of small things that didn't even make it onto the above list. Stay tuned for more updates!

CHEERIO!