Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh India, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Hello all!

I know I have been neglecting this lately. My real life does tend to get in the way occasionally.  And, I just hadn't really felt like blogging. It's time to get back to business.

If you've been reading, you know I am supposed to travel to Chennai, India for eight weeks for a research project with my university. I was supposed to leave almost a month ago. I'm still here in Nebraska....waiting. Here's my update:

I previously applied for a student visa, per instructions from the Indian University's International Relations Specialist. After multiple extra documents were sent, and several hours were spent on hold with the outsourcing company, I was called by the consulate. It was such a joyous experience to speak with a REAL person, who knew what was going on! The news wasn't so great though.

I was informed I wasn't eligible for a student visa because I would not be enrolled as a student at the university in India. I needed to apply for a research visa. The consulate employee chose to spend 75% of the conversation complaining about how horribly overpaid I am as a grad student (I had to send in proof of financial viability during my stay so included my Graduate Research Assistant offer letter). I fail to see why my pay (which is the standard for GRAs in engineering) is any of their business. Before any additional questions could be asked, he hung up.

Then it was on to the research visa application. This application is more in depth than the student one. Seven copies of a "proforma" needed to be included. This gives all sorts of information about the research project and how it will be executed as well as information about my previous publications.....um none. The seven copies makes me nervous. If that many people need to look at it, there must be mountains of bureaucratic red tape tied to research visas.

This new application went on its way Friday. Hopefully I'll hear something soon. This waiting period is a little frustrating. I am supposed to be working on my thesis, or looking for a job, but it's hard to be motivated when I may be leaving sometime. I think I'll watch some NCIS instead.

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