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The Transcontinental Year

Reminiscing on the administrative hoops I jumped through to get to France

It was 8 months ago when I sent my job application, and it took 6 months for my visa to finally get approved.

A visa granting me 12 months to live and work in the EU, which I can renew next year if the authorities deem me a good student. This all started as wishful thinking, chancing upon a job posting of a rising startup in the heart of France.
My actual dream of moving here came way earlier than that, 10 years ago to be precise. My profile fit the job posting: my work experience ticked off all the boxes. I was attracted to the open mindset of the company, their passionate team, and the fact that they were dealing with Big Data and the Semantic Web. I've been catching up real hard on my French for over a year, and the yearning to study in France was rekindled. I felt like this was an opportunity I should not pass up.

And then came the "but..."

I've always had that notion that things like these were only reserved for the exceptional. Encyclopediae on legs. The Hermiones of the class. Those who bagged dozens of awards during their high school and college years, those who juggled both extra-curricular and academic activities with perfect coordination, those who delivered speeches so eloquently and without trembling at the sight of hundreds before them, those whose exam marks always played between 95 and 100.

Though I was happy with my conversational level of French, I was afraid that it wouldn't be enough once I started working in a pure French setting.
The hiring interview alone took 6 steps, and it was a nerve-wracking 3 months to accomplish! The final "OK" on the last step was a godsend.

But wait! There's more...

There was the tighter sieve that was the infamous French bureaucracy. The company had to justify their need to the government of why they had to obtain a non-EU citizen, and it involved convincing 4 different government institutions.
It was a hurricane in my head during these 8 months. I don't remember how, but I decided to pause my brain for a moment and just take the plunge.

8 months later and here I am now. I do admit that there were periods of doubt and that there was still a long way to go. That I might only reach step 5 of 13, or that when I open my inbox, I get an email stating that the company has decided to withdraw the process. But thanks to my supportive family and friends, their unending cheers propelled me to hold on tight.

The whole process of getting every piece of paperwork signed and stamped now just seems like a blur from my current viewpoint, but I also want to take the chance to commemorate my journey. I also hope that through writing this, I can help out others who are currently undergoing or about to undertake what I have experienced. That I could inspire others to hold on tight to their dreams and to remain courageous, as dreams can take decades to make.

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