EDIT 8/3/16: I have decided not to pursue this grad program but I do hope this information will be useful to someone reading 🙂
When I moved to the US from Haiti back in 2005 I was home-schooled. At the time it made sense since I was undergoing chemotherapy. I promised myself that to make up for this isolation and lack of human interaction I would go away to college. Unfortunately in order to please my mother and make her feel at peace, I made the painful decision of going to college in New York- it was something about “you need to follow up with your doctor” “what if something were to happen.”. In retrospect she was 100% right but that did not fill my craving for leaving the nest.
Junior year in college I embarked on a journey to study in Italy. After taking 2 semesters of Italian in New York I was well versed in Italian language and culture. I only spent a month in Italy; during that time I visited some of the wonders of the world, learned how to make gnocchi from scratch, rode a horse for the first time and made new friends. This experience also left me famished for more adventures. It was then that I made a decision that I would do my masters oversees. I didn’t really care where but for some reason 5 countries were on top of my list : South Africa, Australia, Germany, England and Italy.
I was recently accepted into a masters program that will allow me to conduct my studies in both Siena, Italy and Berlin, Germany. I can’t wait to share my experience with you all but before I get to enjoy studying and living in a new country, I was reminded of Italian bureaucracy. How I survived it 6 yrs ago is still a mystery to me. Anyone who has been to Italy and even Italians will tell you about the nightmares of Italian bureaucracy. However, when you’re from the Caribbean and have traveled to Africa and Asia you have seen quite a lot. So one could say that I have seen my fair share of red tapes, jumped through several hoops and on occasion bribed police officers while traveling in Asia.
Here I am ready for the big move, but I need one more document a “Dichiarazione di Valore”. A Dichiarazione di Valore is a letter issued my an Italian consulate verifying your University credentials (i.e diploma, transcript) – for anyone wishing to study at an Italian University or a university in a country where the primary language is not English this might be of help on how to obtain a Dichiarazione di Valore.
- Find the consulate
Being in NYC makes this perfect, almost every country has a consulate here. And some of them some have a student department. Read their website thoroughly and call if you have to and figure out what documents will be needed to obtain such letter.
- Reach out to your University
If you have gone this far that means at some point you requested a transcript. Head to the registrar office with the original documents and request that they provide you with authenticated copies. Basically they will make copies, sign them and have them notarized. Most colleges have a notary on campus. This process usually take 1-5 days but in my case because the person authorize to sign and stamp these document was on vacation, it took nearly 2 weeks.
- Visit County Clerk & Secretary State
Once you have the certified & notarized copies you will need to visit a county clerk’s office to get an additional stamp this will veryfy the notary’s signature. Then take your documents to the Secretary of State to get an Apostille which certifies that the notary you went to is legit (crazy, I know).
Have your transcript and Diploma translated. I found an online service that charges $25 per page. There may also be plenty of translation offices in your city if you opt to do this in person.
Now that you have all documents, send copies to the University aboard (in my case in Italy) and keep the originals that will most likely be required the first day of classes. After this big hurdle it seems like I’m one step closer to basking under the Tuscan Sun.