I came to Utah on October of 2014. My visa status changed by June of 2015 and I registered for classes for Fall Semester 2015 at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC).
I strongly recommend everyone to get the student visa in your home country before you enter to the U.S. It’s a lot easier and you will save yourself a lot of time. I will do a post about how to apply to a school in the United States, it is not that hard. Please do not freak out. But if you ever find yourself in a similar situation like mine, here is some information.
According to USCIS, you should fill out the I-539 Form (Application to extend/change nonimmigrant status) once you are admitted to the school you applied. Every school who accepts international students have one office for us. They provide us advisor that can guide us through the process.
There is a little trick during this process, you cannot attend school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. Once your petition has been accepted, you will receive an I-797 A form confirming you are now an international student. Please keep that form with you until you return to your home country and you are able to book an appointment with your embassy to get your physical student visa.
Personally, eight months is a long time. I couldn’t do almost anything because I was waiting for my change of visa. I was getting crazy with the idea of being in my home just watching Netflix all day long. I guess I could have watched every single movie and show during that time.
I was new in town and during the little time I was outside I saw there were just a few buses. No phone. No friends. No car. No drum sets neither guitars. Nothing. I only had my uncle and his wife whom I barely knew.
Since I got accepted at SLCC, I had to attend an orientation for international students. My, kind of, first day of school, I met Roberto, another international student from Peru. It’s crazy how we came almost on similar times, even for our vacations before we came to study in the U.S. We have been through a lot and now we both are here in Rexburg, Idaho. I will do another post about our friendship, promise.
Roberto hooked me up with soccer games during the time I waited for my change of status. We played almost three times a week, we went to the gym as many times as we could and we started looking for our little Peruvian community, which came after a while.
I was never used to have a huge vacation time but I did make the best out of it. I got to explore most of the city, I played my favorite sport, I walked as much as I could and I found some Peruvian restaurants to alleviate my homesickness.