Extension of my visa

I thought it was time to write something again. I have several reasons why it’s been empty here for the past week, the main one is that I’ve been going through a breakup and it’s still pretty rough for me. But I am getting there. The school has also been drowning me in midterms, reports, reading, quizzes. It’s been really bad. But the week is over, I got a little more energy today after finding out a lot about my visa and how I might continue to stay in California.

The day started with me talking to my Urban Planning professor about internships. He told me he would help me reach out to people at the different cities around here. He will also help me with my resume and cover letter. So very nice of him! I am gonna send it to him as soon as it is done and he will give it back with feedback on improvements and then send it out sometime next week or week after. I can’t believe a professor would do that for a student. I am grateful.

My next stop of the day was at the International Center to ask questions about the internship. The professor told me that I can do the internship even without the class, and if I want the credit anyway (I don’t need it, but why not?!), he would help me work it out so I can do individual work on the side. Since the “weekly meeting” for the Planning Internship class is colliding with another class, this was great news. So I don’t have to worry about that class. So if I feel like getting credits I can do it on my own. This school is so flexible! I will get the schedule I wanted for next quarter. I will have no class on Fridays which opens up a whole day for the internship. Yay! But I wanted to make sure that this worked with my visa. And apparently it does with the J-1 (not F-1 though). Double yay! So, I can get an internship, and I can even get paid. The hard part about that was that I would have to get a SSN, but I already have that, easy peasy then! I actually don’t have to do anything in this process except for finding the internship. Another awesome (maybe sad for my mom) thing that I found out today is that I can extend my DS-2019 for up to 9 months to do “academic training” as long as it is within my major. So it is not technically my visa that will be renewed. It is my DS-2019 where it says what I am doing here, and for how long I will do it. But if I leave the country during that time I would have to go to the American Embassy in Stockholm to renew my visa. But I am considering going home in June for two weeks, see my mom again and then go back to start the internship. Or if I start the internship now during school and just take a vacation and continue when I get back. It would be nice to go home for a bit.

But I am super stoked about this opportunity that I just learned about. The International Center also told me that there is a way of waiving the exchange visitor (J-1) 2-year home-country physical presence requirement. I am not completely sure how, but this website explains it. And I am sure the city of SLO (or wherever I end up) knows how to so I don’t have to stay in Sweden for the next two years when I am done here on this visa. And if I am staying, then I have a cheap car I can buy down in San Diego from one of my au pair friends who is leaving in June. Everything is getting better. Almost everything.

When I came home I was so happy that I baked two loafs of banana bread. Rachel could smell it in the hallway and came into my room and told me I was queen for baking. That made me happy too.

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