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First Steps in a New Life Abroad

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At the last minute, Sydney's visa gets approved—but her bureaucratic hurdles are far from over.




Just let that sink in for a second.

We're here!

Even though day three is drawing to a close, I am still having a hard time truly appreciating where I am. It has been a whirlwind of a week, let me tell you.

Only seven days ago, I found out that my UK Tier 4 Dependent visa was approved. Seven days ago, I was 90 per cent certain that I was going to have to reschedule my flights and meet my boyfriend, Dalton, in Scotland a couple of weeks later. But low and behold on the morning of Friday, January 15 (one day after the UK Embassy in New York had received my visa application) I received notice that my visa request was approved. Talk about a last-minute packing and goodbye fiasco!

Currently we are residing in an Airbnb flat near the Aberdeen city centre with our new friend Thom (he owns the flat). Our immediate agenda includes:

• Find and rent an apartment
• Get a UK phone plan
• Open a bank account

While these might seem like straight-forward tasks, they're a bit more complicated than you would think—to purchase a phone plan you need to have a UK bank card; to open a UK bank account you need to have proof of address, but to rent a flat you need to be able to pay for a deposit ideally from a UK account. This cycle of co-dependent tasks goes on and on.

Thankfully, Dalton’s Monday orientation should help clear up a lot of these issues by supplying us with the appropriate paperwork and advice.

We have found one apartment we both love—high ceilings, beautiful mouldings, awesome furnishing and filled with wonderful character. I am re-experiencing the tug and pull of contrasting desires that always seem to accompany house hunting; being overwhelmed with how you must have it and 10 minutes later going over its slight cons and wondering if you’re making a decision too hastily.

It all starts to get a bit overwhelming, but then I remind myself that I am here! Getting myself (legally) onto this island has to be one the most infuriating and stressful tasks I have accomplished, so there is no reason to get bent out of shape over a flat, phone plan or bank account. For now I’ll just continue to the enjoy wandering the beautiful cobblestone streets and incredible warmth and friendliness of the Scots.

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Published in Work Abroad Blogs
Sydney Paulsen

Sydney Paulsen, an adventurous biochemistry graduate, is always looking to push her comfort zone. After returning from studying abroad in Buenos Aires, she has moved with her boyfriend to Aberdeen, Scotland to keep figuring out this thing called life.

Website: siempresydney.wordpress.com

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