Have you heard? There’s a rumour in St. Petersburg

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As we get further into the Spanish term, I’m having to start thinking a lot more about Russia. There are visas to apply for, flats to find and courses to enrol on!

Visas
Oh my days, visas. Stupidly, I only properly looked into the process about three weeks ago, and it’s a little more complex than I expected. As it’s a student visa, I have to have an HIV test, because apparently all young people are riddled with STDs. The results from that will take 2-3 weeks to come through. Then I need to take my passport, visa application and other bits and bobs (including a chunk of cash) to the Embassy, in either London or Edinburgh. They keep my passport for 1-2 weeks, then give it back with a lovely visa thingy in it.

Fair enough, apart from the fact that I’m not going to be in the UK for five weeks solid until I get home from Russia, which is a little late to apply for the visa. I went home last weekend, but from Friday evening to Sunday, so I wasn’t able to get the HIV test done then. Luckily, I’m in Edinburgh on a Friday in mid-December, so hopefully I can fit it in then. Then, assuming the results come back in the first week or so of the new year (and assuming is a dangerous business), I’ll have until the 18th January to submit my application, get it processed and my passport returned, before my flight to Spain for my exams. Also, I’m going to be in Edinburgh for New Year, but I can’t apply to the Edinburgh embassy because I leave the week after, and if my passport is stuck in Edinburgh while I’m in London it’ll be no good at all! All in all, everything is going to be a very close fit, and any delays at all will cause major, Erasmus-destroying disruption.

Flats
Considering the disastrous situation at the beginning of this semester, I’m definitely going to just rock up to St Petersburg, stay in a hotel for a bit with my Dad (who is accompanying me in the first week) and see what I can find for cheap. As yet, don’t even know precisely where my faculty is, but you know, all in good (read: slightly rushed) time.

Courses
I’ve attempted to navigate the university website, to no avail. I think my best hope is to just turn up to their Erasmus office when I arrive, plead ignorance and then sneak onto some suitable sounding courses, presuming they have course booklet-y things in their office. Presuming.

So, as it stands, I don’t know where I’m living, what I’m studying, and I’m not actually legally allowed in the country yet. Excellent start!

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