We regret to inform you…
Ever since 2012 I have been working towards going abroad for University studies. That goal made me do my best at school and try to learn as much as I could about the field I want to pursue.
Two months after my last class in late 2013, I already had my final coursework ready and on the 16th of January I presented it and got my certificate. I was now officially an Intermediate IT Technician and as planned I was the first in my class to become one.
Now I had to put together my paperwork in order to apply for Universities. I had already found a few European countries that offered free education, but for many reasons I singled out Finland.
I had all my school certificates in place but I had to do an English Proficiency test.
For those who don’t know, an English language proficiency test is simply a way to show an institution that you can communicate well in English.
There were two choices available to me at the time, the TOEFL and the IELTS, I took the TOEFL because it can be done online and it was cheaper than the IELTS.
I managed to reach the necessary level of English required by the University and then I sent all my certificates to them. Unfortunately my TOEFL certificate did not arrive in time because I had no control over it. The company responsible for the test was also in charge of sending it to the University and it took well over three weeks to send an envelope from the USA to Finland.
This caused the University to discard my application.
Fortunately after about three hours of browsing the web, I found out about Germany’s free education. That was it! My second chance. This time I decided to take the IELTS so that I could have full control over the delivery of all my documents.
At the time, the British Council in Mozambique had no test dates that would allow me to get my certificate in time to apply for a place, so I had to travel to South Africa to sit the exam.
Two weeks later I got my certificate on the mail and I had made it well over the necessary level of English.
Finally I could send all my documents. I applied to at least 5 different Universities in Germany. The first one to reply said that they had considered my application but there were no available spots. I thought to myself: “At least my documents are in order and the other Universities are bigger so I might still have a chance”.
A few weeks later I received another reply and it was negative too, but this one was special because it said that my country’s final certificates were basically useless to their Universities, and that I would have to study for at least 6 months at a preparatory school to get the required qualifications. At this point I didn’t care much about how would I go abroad, If I had to lose an entire year there, I would.
So I began looking into it and kept going to the embassy to ask about all the visa requirements, but then I found out that the preparatory institutions only teach in German, even if your University course is going to be taught in English and let’s just say that my German is as good as a dog’s English.
So that and all the complicated visa regulations the Germans have in my country made me switch my attention to Italy.
Unfortunately this one didn't last long. After some light research I found a really good University and I went to the embassy to apply for a place (Applications are done through the embassy), but I was 48 hours late. The application period at the embassy(not at the University) had closed two days before I showed up.
Now I had really given up on getting anything this year, three countries, over 10 universities, it just wasn't going to happen for me…BUT around August I read about a second period of applications in Finland. THIS WAS MY CHANCE!
I gathered my documents, registered on the first day of applications and within a week my documents and application were all at the University(There is a story here about the delivery of these documents, but it was just like a movie. It all ended well). A few weeks later I received an invitation letter for the entrance exam. I went to the embassy on the same day to submit all necessary documents to get a tourist visa, and that’s when I made a crucial mistake, I told them the reason for my visit.
As it turns out, they don’t allow people to get tourist visas in order to do entrance exams or any other kind of preliminary evaluation, you need to tell them that you are just another tourist.
Fortunately I didn't have all my eggs in the same basket and while all that was going on, I had enrolled at a local University, passed both semesters and learned a ton of new things.
I didn't give up on this and I hope that by this time next year I’ll be looking at some snow for the first time.
Murphy’s law says that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” and so far many things have gone wrong, so the odds might be getting a bit better and the fact that I learned a lot through this entire process and during this year as a whole, makes me value everything that happened.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” — Gena Showalter