Going for the Big Enchilada (Doctoral Degree)

After much debate, with myself, I am determined to get my doctoral degree in International Education. I have become very fond of NYU’s International Education programme. The programme is fully funded.  That means less student loan debt for me to pay off and at the same time I would be learning how to be a good researcher and educator in the field of international education. Also, there are other benefits to attending NYU for this programme:

  1. tuition remission
  2. conference travel support
  3. a $30,000 stipend during each academic year of the award
  4. Health Benefits

With these benefits, I could attend school without stressing over income to support myself, health insurance coverage, or paying the expensive tuition to attend school. This programme is what I have been looking for a long time. I believe NYU would be a great place for me to attend and get my doctoral degree. I would be living in NYC for few years and get to experience life there. I think NYC is closely related to some major European cities in the aspects of city life, metro system, and the size of the place. Plus, I would be close to major airports for travel, there would be diversity, different cultures, and fine arts.  All of which, I am very fond of at this time in my life.

I believe getting a doctoral degree would be ultimate goal to meet. I have been debating this for the last five years about getting this degree, but I constantly have been questioning my intelligences, if I was worthy of going to school for high degree, and money.  This school to me is a great fit. Over the next two years, I will need to start getting ready for this new chapter. I currently call Madrid, Spain, home and plan to spend two more years living there, teaching ESL, and traveling around Europe. During the coming school year, I need to start reviewing for the GRE.  Then, I can take the exam next summer back home in Texas. I will submit exam scores and other material  to NYU’s admissions for this programme by the of fall 2016. I hope that I can move from Spain to NYC in the late summer of 2017. I hope this comes true.

Family Trip: New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle

I went on a quick four day family vacation with my family. We went to Taos in New Mexico and Palo Durn Canyon State Park. The drive was over twelve hours from Austin to Taos. I have been to Taos multiple times in my life. I don’t know why I am drawn to New Mexico. Maybe it’s the beauty of nature around me? Maybe it’s the fact there’s mountains, desert, and no humidity? I don’t why I find New Mexico so enchanting. For me leaving Texas and going to New Mexico has always been a retreat from life. It was nice to get away from the familiar and see something different.

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Taos Pueblos

On day one of our trip, there were many events that happened and made day one Hell. Event one, We were in Sweet Water, Texas, when our 1st tire blew out. We stopped at a local tire shop and had someone place new tire on the RV. After getting the tire repaired, we stopped at a small restaurant for lunch. My brother ordered chips and salsa for lunch. When my brother, got down to the bottom of his chip basket he discovered there was a dead rat  in the basket. We left and settled for gas station food for lunch. Later on that night, we had two more tires blow out on the the interstate in a little farm community called Plainsview, Texas. This town is located between Lubbock, Texas, and Amarillo, Texas. We made it to a truck stop. My father and brother tried to fix the problem with the tires. No luck. We tried to check in at hotel a nearby the truck and RV. We again had no luck getting a room for the night. We stayed in the truck to get some sleep.

In the morning, day two, we finally were able to address the tire issue. We finally left Plainsview, Texas, around 1 p.m. for Taos, New Mexico.  Most of day two, we spent having the RV fixed and traveling to New Mexico. We finally arrived in Taos around 11 p.m. The drive from Amarillo to Taos should normally only take 6 hours, but with an RV it took much longer. Because we missed our check in time, we ended up staying in the RV in a Walmart parking lot.

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Turquoise Window Frame at the Taos Pueblos

Day three, I woke up early to be greeted by mountain air and the beauty of nature around me. We went to the famous Taos Pueblos that’s five minutes from the centre of Taos. We went for about an hour visiting the pueblos and then we were on the road heading towards Palo Durn Canyon State Park back in Texas. I was sad because I wasn’t able to visit a long time friend of mine who lived in a nearby small village called Angle Fire. I was glad that we took Highway 64 up to Clayton, New Mexico. The scenery never gets old for me. I think that road is placed in a very scenic part of New Mexico. There is a canyon, rivers, mountains, greenery, and more of nature. I get excited to revisit this route anytime I am in Taos. I enjoy just driving down this road and enjoying nature.

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Cliff on HWY 64

 We drove all the way back to Amarillo, Texas. By the time we got to Palo Durn Canyon, we caught the sun going down. The sun hit the top of the canyon perfectly. My most favourite part of the trip.  It was nice spending an hour driving around the canyon taken pictures as the sun was setting. Before we left the park, I got to see my first live rattlesnake in the wild. The snake was very big and impressive to me. I was glad to be in the safety of my dad’s truck.  Palo Durn Canyon made up for all the Hell at the start of the trip.

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Palo Durn Canyon

For me this trip was too short because of all the issues we had with the RV on day two. I do realise that when unexpected things take place on a trip you lose out on time. I really wish I had more time in New Mexico.  I am very happy that I didn’t stress out too much over the tire issue. I knew everything would eventually work out and we would be back on the road.  I’ve learned over the past year that things and everything eventually works out the way things need to be. Spain has taught me to be patient and to be aware that life will eventual work out. I am happy I got to spend this time with my family and experience the stresses of the tire problem. I look forward to next summer spending more time in New Mexico and Colorado.

Update on Renewing Visa for Spain: Received My Spanish Background Check

I just checked the mail and to my surprise I found my Spanish background check! YAY! I am so happy to have my background check in my hands. Next, week I will be visiting the Spanish Consulate in Houston. I followed all the instructions on Knocking on Door’s blog post for getting a Spanish Background check from the States. I got my background check 2 weeks after I sent in my paperwork. Plus, I had the document apostille!

End of Summer Update

I spent two months at a Girl Scout camp for the summer. It was an amazing experience working with the campers and staff. One of my most favourite summers ever. I grew a lot and changed as an individual. Plus, met some amazing people at camp that I will never forget. Next, year I plan to return as a volunteer because 9 weeks of camp and working as an ESL Teacher in Spain is too much for me. I love my camp family and want to see them again.

Camp Fire at Camp Tex-Lake

Camp Fire at Camp Tex-Lake

I’ve spent most of August visiting family and friends and just playing tourist in Austin,Texas.  My birthday was last week. I spent my birthday with close friends and had dinner with my dad. By far one of my most cherished birthdays of my life.  The picture below is from my birthday dinner with my family.

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Making a birthday wish

The summer is wrapping up and coming to an end. I am still waiting for my new visa to be sent to me. Other than waiting on my visa, I am going to stay in the States few more weeks. I will need to rebook my flight for mid September. I am going to focus on visiting friends and family as much as I can during this extra time. Also, I am  planning my trips to Poland, Paris, and Italy. I can’t wait to return to my life in Spain and get my new flat. I am ready for the coming school year! This coming year I am going to start reviewing for GRE and studying Spanish grammar. After I spend 3 years in Spain, I want to return to school to get a doctoral degree in International Education.  I need to start planning my post life after Spain.

Renewing My Visa for Year 2 in Spain: The Nightmares of Getting a Spanish Background Check Stateside

This past school year I left Madrid, Spain, to go home and work at a Girl Scout summer camp. I didn’t have a lot of time to renew my TIE in Spain because the Ministry of Eduction was moving slow with sending out cartas, so decided to renew my visa. I went to home to start the process of getting a new visa. I failed to get a Spanish background check from the Ministry of Justice.

I had my visa appointment in Houston on the 17th of July and lacked one major document! YAY! Grand times! I spent two of my Fridays off from camp running around Austin, Texas, getting documents ready for sending into the Ministry of Justice. I had a lot of anxiety build up in me  because I didn’t have a lot of free time to get the background check request paperwork together. All I care is that I got the paperwork in the mail at the start of August. I am expecting my background check by late August.  In this blog post, I am going to focus on how to get your paperwork together for requesting a Spanish. I hope this helps someone.

The Spanish Consulate in Houston, Texas, requires people who are renewing their visa to get a Spanish background check to submit with their visa paperwork. Requesting a Spanish background check from the States seems like mission impossible, but it’s very possible to get the documents and wire transfer done in States. Before you start getting your paperwork together, please read this information on sending a request by post on the Ministry of Justice’s website on requesting by post and the page on basic information on the criminal record certificate. Very helpful sites.

Things You Will Need:

  • Administration part of the Form 790
  • Dual Notary for your color copy of the front page of your passport
  • Copy of wire transfer with notary

Form 790 

You can find a copy of the Form 790 on the top right hand side of the link I shared with you above. Print out a copy of the Form 790 use only the Administration part. 3 sheets will print out. Make sure you get the right sheet.  For more detailed instructions on how to fill out the Form 790 please check out these links:

Wire Transfer

Once you finish filling out the Form 790, you can go to your bank to do a wire transfer. I had to spend nearly an hour at Charles Schwab trying to do a wire transfer for $4.37 USD and a $25.00 USD fee. Fun times. Then, the bank failed to produce me proof of the wire transfer. I had to call customer care for proof of the transfer. Here’s the information you need for doing the wire transfer:

BANK: BBVA

ACCOUNT HOLDER: Ministerio de Justicia – Cuenta Restringida Recaudación Tasas Extranjero (Ministry of Justice – Foreign Fee Collection Blocked Account)

NIF (TAX IDENTITY NUMBER) OF THE ACCOUNT HOLDER: S-2813610-I

IBAN or International Bank Account Number: IBAN ES62 0182 2370 4202 0800 0060

Bank Identification Code (BIC) of the BBVA: BBVAESMMXXX

Address Ministerio de Justicia. Calle Bolsa, 8. 28012, Madrid, Spain 

1st Page of Passport and Dual Notary 

Once you complete your wire transfer, make sure to get proof the the transfer and have the bank or the UPS Store notarise the paper.  Last thing you need to do before you place this paperwork in the mail is get a color copy of the 1st page of your passport and a dual notary (apostille and a regular notary). You can get the first notary from your local bank or the UPS Store and the 2nd notary, the apostille, from your state’s Secretary of State Office. After this final step is completed, you can visit you local post office and send your completed paperwork off to Spain.

It cost me around $50.00 USD to send my paperwork 3-5 day express international shipping. Use this address for the destination: Oficina Central de Atención al Ciudadano. Ministerio de Justicia. Calle Bolsa, 8. 28012, Madrid. I sent my paperwork off on the 3rd of August and my paperwork reached the Ministry of Justice’s main office on the 10th of August. Now I am waiting for my background check to return to me!

FAST TIPS:

  • Double check the current amount for the taxes for the wire transfer
  • Make sure you fill out boxes 20 and 21 on the Form 790  to have the background check apostille
  • Sign and date the Form 790
  • Get a color copy of the front page of your passport and get 2 notaries!!!
  • Double check that you did everything correct, so you don’t waste money and time trying to get this document