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Andres Florez | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

A Sweet Experience getting a French Visa!

Hello everyone, this is my first post on the US LHC blog. Over the next months I will tell you about my experience moving to CERN and working on the CMS experiment.

Last May I officially became a Ph D candidate after taking my qualifiers. It was a very interesting, productive, intense and stressful experience, as it is supposed to be. The feeling of being done with this part of my Ph D was nice, unfortunately  it lasted very little time.

As is common for graduate students working on one of the LHC experiments, after have taken the qualifiers, the next step is to move to CERN where most of the action is! Personally I enjoy being  at  CERN, the annoying part  is to get there, why?

Well, there are some difficulties when you are Latino and have to move to a different country because most of the people coming from almost any Latin American country need a visa to go basically anywhere outside south  or central America. I am Colombian and unfortunately we need a visa even to breathe! Under these circumstances, I decided to go to Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia to get my French visa. I thought this could be a good idea in order to get to spent some time with my family, because I haven’t been able to be with them in a very long time. I talked to my advisor and committed to get some work done during the first two weeks and then take 10 days of vacation at the end of my stay. The sad part is that there was a problem with my visa and it took longer than expected. Because of that I was waiting every single day for a call from the consulate and I had to send tons of e-mails trying to solve this problem.

In the end I spent the last two weeks of my visit (which was supposed to be my vacation!) dealing with visa stuff. I was stuck in my apartment without being able to go out with my family anywhere before 5 pm, and I had to change my plane tickets to the US and to Geneva which cost a lot of money, leaving me basically broke! Finally everything worked out and I got my visa. Thanks to the help of my advisor I will able to survive in Europe while I wait to get paid. Now I am in the US sitting on a chair at the airport waiting to board the plane to finally go to Geneva!

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