Greetings from Chile! Zoe asked me to write this post about 3 months ago, but in the flurry of writing a dissertation, defending said dissertation, and doing all travel preparations including packing my entire life into a storage unit it’s been on my to-do list for at least a month. Sorry about that! I’ve been giving more incremental updates on my blog at travelingscientist.wordpress.com.
Given the nature of my work, I didn’t have to deal with any special export licenses for my Fulbright, but just getting myself out of the country was an adventure, specifically the visa. I may have mentioned previously that the visa application includes a number of seemingly excessive requirements, such as an FBI background check (which itself requires a set of fingerprints– no, not THOSE fingerprints, you need to do it THIS way), a medical form (not actually a form, just a generic letter from my doctor saying I don’t have communicable diseases; I don’t!), passport-size photos, two nearly identical forms with interesting fields such as “mother’s place of birth” and “exact departure date,” and 2-4 weeks. Did I say 2-4 weeks? Ha, I actually meant 6 weeks, plus an inexplicable hour and a half in the waiting room at the consulate once it was allegedly finally ready (I fed that meter about four times). Having just spent the day in the Jefatura Nacional de Extranjería y Policía Internacional to register my visa, this was a pleasantly short hour and a half actually! (But I made a new friend in the Italian exchange student in line behind me, so yay on that). Tomorrow (eh, or maybe next week, I have 30 days…) I need to do the whole thing over again in the Registro Civil to get my ID card. Double yay!
My roommate is great, my apartment is good, the neighborhood is pretty nice. I found it on a housing-sharing website for Chile, after many disappointing dead ends. This week I have my Fulbright orientation as well, and will finally get to the Universidad de Chile where I’m working– hopefully after having finally finished dissertation revisions! (protip: you can submit your final dissertation from elsewhere, as long as you have a very nice labmate/friend who will turn in the physical papers for you to OGS).
[Note from FPA: Fulbright grants in the southern hemisphere often start much later than those to the northern hemisphere, since the seasons and thus school years are flipped. Thus, although Kristina was awarded a 2013-14 Fulbright grant, the grant didn’t actually start until March 2014. Also, OGS is the Office of Graduate Studies.]