Sunday, July 22, 2018

F1(Student Visa) Visa Interview Experience from Nepal-Work Hard and get paid.


This is an F1 visa interview experience of Yuvraj Subedi from Nepal.

Interview experience
June 15, 2018
First Attempt (Approved)
The University Of Akron
Major: Mathematics and Computer Science
SAT: 1400 TOEFL: 89
I had my interview scheduled at 11:10 AM. I reached the embassy at 10:50 and entered at 11:10 only. I was more excited and less nervous while I entered the embassy. Most of the applicants were tourist visa applicants. I kept talking with them while in line. Then, after entering the embassy and doing all the checking, bio metrics and stuffs, I stood on my line and listened to the other interviewer. While I was in the queue, most of them were rejected. Then, my turn came and I was assigned to counter no. 10.
There was a female VO.
Me: Namaste. How are you ma’am?
VO: I am very good. Can you pass me your I-20, transcript and passport?
Me: Sure ma’am. (Passed my documents)
VO: Hmm, University of Akron? How did you come to know about this university?
Me: You might have been familiar with UT Tyler Scholarship Cancellation incident. I am one of the affected students whose full ride scholarship was revoked at the last hour. JP Yates, executive director of international recruitment at U of Akron, learned about the issue and found a donor to finance one affected student. And from the pool of affected students, I was selected by the University of Akron. After doing enough researches about this university, I decided to go with University of Akron.
(She checked something on computer for few seconds)
VO: Okay, Why mathematics?
Me: Ma’am, It’s actually mathematics and computer science combined major. I have always been fascinated by mathematics since my early school days. (She lifted her eyebrows and pointed her finger to my mathematics marks on my transcript). I used to spend a lot of time playing with numbers, data and wanted to know what senses those make, for example collecting data randomly, arranging them and having a view of Pie Chart and graphs with the help of Excel only just for the sake of fun. Even after high school, I worked as a secondary level mathematics tutor in my hometown for few months. This experience also helped me decide I should pursue my career in data science. With so much of data management challenge in the world right now, computer science is a must needed tool. Thus, I feel Mathematics-CS major is perfect match for me as a whole.
VO: Okay, So what are you planning to do with this degree? (She was smiling constantly while asking questions and listening to me, and that added confidence in my answers) 
Me: As a long term goal, I plan to own a company that will work in database managing systems. But for some years after my bachelor’s degree, I want to gain some experience working as data analyst in database managing companies like FreeLancer Nepal, GrowByData, Nepal Data Systems. You know very well ma’am; System crash, statement failure, media failure, data redundancy has always been a problem in Nepal, both in private sectors and government offices. So, I see a lot of opportunities for me in Nepal.
(She was already signing my passport)
VO: (After signing my passport) You know what this means?
Me: You have approved my visa, ma’am.
VO: Yes. Now, you need to go to counter number 11 and pay $200. 
Me: Okay ma’am. Have a good day.
VO: You too, boy. 

Actually, it was VO’s smile that added energy to my answers. So, keep constant eye contact and always maintain smile in your face while facing VO. You don’t need to exaggerate anything, Just be yourself and be honest. Prepare some bullet points which you need to focus in interview but don’t just mug up. Believe in yourself. It’s nothing scary and hard, it’s only a simple conversation. Get yourself convinced by your answers. If you can convince yourself, then only you can convince VO. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Another experience from Nepal.
This is an F1 visa interview experience of Ojaswi piya from Nepal.

June 12 
Status: Approved (First attempt)
Appointment Time: 8:40 am
University of Kentucky 
Major: Biology
Scholarship: Full ride
Academics: 80.5% 
SLC: 87.75%
SAT: 1370, TOEFL: 109 (Neither asked)

I was listening to my motivating song the entire ride to the embassy. I got into the embassy, and I had my appointment confirmation, DS-160 Form, and SEVIS Fee Payment checked. After completing all the prerequisites, I was sent to wait in a line. I initially thought that the environment would be intimidating, but it was NOTHING like that. Rather than getting nervous or anxious, I was getting pumped up for my turn. After a while, it was my turn. I was sent to Counter No. 6. 
Me: Good morning, sir. 
VO: Good morning. Pass me your passport, I-20, and transcript. 
Me: (Handing them in)There you go.
VO: Is this your first time applying for a Student Visa?
Me: Yes sir. This is my first time. (He nodded.)
VO: So, why do you want to pursue biology?
Me: Well, I want to become an environmental scientist, and mainly involve myself in the sustainability field. Specifically, in the production of biofuels from biomass or solid waste through biological routes, and also address different environmental problems in the country… (While I was talking about this, he raised his eyebrows, and nodded again.)
VO: What led your interest in this field?
Me: I can’t exactly pinpoint a moment when my interest in this field was first kindled, but there were situations that I think built my interest in pursuing this field. When I was a kid, there were moments I wondered if we could even put food on the table. I mean we’d have food, but not the means to cook it since there were shortage of LPG gas cylinders. Then there was the 18 hours of loadshedding a day. But, the economic blockade incident in 2015, that in particular really highlighted to me how dependent we are upon other countries for our energy demands, which made me want to contribute in this field.
VO: So, were there any other universities you applied to?
Me: Yes, I applied to a total of 13 universities. 
VO: 13? (more like exclaimed 13). They were?
Me: Besides University of Kentucky, Western Michigan University, West Virginia University, University of Texas at Tyler, (then the names of the universities I didn’t get into came to my mind) but there were a few that I didn’t get into. (My tone changed to a bit sad one when I said that.)
VO: Oh that happens! That’s completely normal. So, why University of Kentucky? Was it because of the scholarship? 
Me: That too, but affordability is a part of it. I really like the research going on at this university. It is really specific to what I want to do in the future. The Biofuels and Environmental Catalyst Research group at the Center for Applied Energy Research at this university are working on finding new ways to produce biofuels from agricultural waste and biomass involving different organisms like algae, Clostridium acetobutylium, and so forth in the process. The university also offers a short course on biomass to biofuels which I believe will really help me in my career… (I had more to say)
VO: (smiling) I’d really love to talk with you more, but I don’t have a lot of time right now. (Signed my passport, looked back at me smiling) You’re really jumpy. (Arranged my documents) I’m issuing your visa, go and pay $200 in counter no. 11. (If he said anything after that, I don’t remember.) 
Me: Thank you sir! Have a good day ahead!

The conversation was really fun to me. It actually made my day (not just the visa approval, but the conversation itself). While reading some visa experiences, it seemed like the consular would be looking more at the computer than the person. So, I felt really happy when we had eye contact like 95% of the time, and he looked away for just a few seconds whenever he did. Maybe that's why I got more excited. I guess I radiate whatever I’m feeling so when he said “You’re really jumpy.” with that smile, it really made my day. I don’t know why. Lol.
But anyways, for the tips:

1) “BE YOURSELF. You can do it.” This was my mantra yesterday. 
2) Don’t let nervousness creep in. It isn’t that scary at all, trust me. After my interview, I wouldn’t consider it an interview, but a fun conversation. My friend who got his visa approved also told me the same thing before my interview.
3) Maintain your eye contact and your smile. Be confident. Since it’s more of a conversation, I don’t think I have to tell this. But proceed like you’d normally with a conversation using facial expressions, gestures, intonation, these are natural to us in a conversation.
4) Practice for the interview not by memorizing your answers, but by trying to get used to talking about your goals and dreams. At least that's what I did. Have bullet points ready so it’s easier for you to organize your answers when you’re questioned. I don’t mean memorize the bullet points here though.
5) Research and rehearse in the mirror, and with your seniors and friends. 
6) I felt that the most important thing was communication skill. If you can get your ideas across well, that’ll really help.
7) Oh and I almost forgot, maintain a proper pace when you speak (just like the way you're relaxed in a conversation). Not too fast, not too slow. Speaking with the right pace will not only help you sound clear and confident, but also help you organize your thoughts before you speak if you should get stuck.

I'd really like to thank all my friends who helped me practice for the interview and the USEF Family, counselors around the world, and the entire UT Tyler affected friends. Thank you everyone!! And I apologize for a long post, I just wanted to put up everything that transpired and I felt during the interview

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