The prospects of this adventure are nothing short of euphoric; however, the intensity of the promised bliss mirrors the intensity of the required to-do lists before arriving in Venice. While musing excitedly over Venice and all of her charms, the following items had to be taken care of:
Passport and NEXUS card. I have dual citizenship, as well as a NEXUS card, so I had to ensure that all three documents had not expired. This may seem a trivial item, but due to the limited time after I had received my acceptance and before arriving in Venice, it was imperative that all travel documents were in order. My NEXUS card needed to be renewed. I applied for the renewal in early June, and did not receive my new card until mid-August.
Inquire about Visa information. Depending on the time you’ll spend in Italy, or any other Schengen country, a visa may be required. After calling the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, as well as researching online, I learned I would not need a visa for my stay in Italy since it is fewer than 90 days. While I will be visiting both the Netherlands and France while I am studying in Venice, the same rule applies, since they are both Schengen nations. Thus, I had to ensure that my total period abroad, including my term in Venice and additional visits to the Netherlands and France, all consisted of fewer than 90 days. I left a few days at the end of my trip just to be safe.
Reading the course pack. University of Warwick sent an acceptance package in June which was full of essential information. It was necessary to read the Venice Course Handbook, since it contains details about the entire term, as well as required textbooks, arrangements for travel for Venice, etc. I ordered the textbook and began reading it as well.
Mentally trying to figure out how to pack. One of the most daunting aspects of this trip will surely be the packing! Venice is not exactly conducive to long treks with suitcases. With this in mind, it has been a mental challenge to me to try to whittle down my list of things which I must bring with me. Finding a balance between bringing everything you need for three months while still making it easy enough to lug through Venice will prove to be difficult!
Attempting to learn Italian. While I have spent most of the summer working to save up for this trip, I have also been attempting to learn Italian in any spare moment. With a phrasebook and DuoLingo, the goal might soon be realized! But I don’t expect to really learn Italian until I am there.
Money. This is the single most important preparation I can stress. Without money, I would not be going. I have worked tirelessly this summer to save for it, and I have tried to reel in my usual dietary standards in order to save money. It has not been easy! But seeing the numbers grow in your bank account reminds you of why you are working in the first place, and why Venice is so important to you through it all.