A good education is often your passport to an enriching and better future. But, when you are planning to study abroad, you need a visa too. This means that you have to excel in the visa interview and if you have availed an education loan, it becomes all the more imperative, that you crack it. I N T E R V I E W – The importance of these 9 letters cannot be understated when it is about that all-important visa. The interview with the consular at an embassy or a consulate of the destination country would determine whether you get your student visa or not. Clearly, there is a lot at stake. You may be extremely hard-working, diligent, and smart. But one small misstep, and it will be back to the drawing board. Here are a few suggestions which both students and their parents should consider before planning to take the Visa Interview.
Dos During Visa Interview Process
• ‘Smile, you are on camera’ – There may be a lot of things going on in your mind. We know how important this degree is for you. But, always keep a smiling face. Human beings make an impression by looking at the face. So, smile. Remember not to give a fake smile with all your teeth out all the time. Once the interview is through, you would get the visa and get an education in the country of your choice. Be happy about it. Show it with a smile.
• ‘Slouching tiger, rejected visa’ – A good posture is a way to communicate that you are confident. When you sit straight, you seem well-prepared. Take a deep breath and maintain a good posture throughout your interview. Do not move your hands and legs much. It is an official meeting, so don’t get too comfortable or too stiff. Maintain the fine balance.
• ‘Dress like you mean it – Dressing well is important. Would you as a visa officer want someone shabbily dressed to come to your country? The same logic applies here when you are sitting on the other side of the table. Dress according to the occasion. Choose a dress that supports your image and appropriately reflects your positive outlook as an aspiring student. Since you will be meeting visa experts, keep it professional. This also means don’t wear chappals or flip-flops to the interview!
• ‘Johnny English’ – You may be an expert in your mother tongue or Indian languages. But if you are planning to settle abroad, then speaking in English is the primary requirement for any visa applicant. Don’t fake an accent that does not belong to you. Speak clearly and in an appropriate volume. Too loud or too soft is not good. Try to speak each word properly and resist the idea of speaking in a casual way. The interviewer is a visa expert and so deserves respect.
• ‘Eye contact and a heartbeat’ – Make eye contact with the interviewer you are interacting with. If there is more than one person, speak with each one them by looking into their eyes. However, try not to force your look. Eye contact is a sign of honesty. When you are asked a question, respond by looking at them in their eyes.
• ‘Paper reality’ – Maintain all your visa related documents and originals in a file. Carry this file on the day of your interview and make sure it is with you as you step in for the interview. It is a good idea to use sticky notes so that all your documents are properly catalogued. This enables you to show the appropriate document whenever you are asked to. Also, if you have documentation pertaining to your overseas education loan, we suggest you carry them as well.
• ‘Why Am I Here’ – This is not a rhetorical question. As a student aspiring for higher education in a foreign country, and going to a foreign university with a help of an overseas study loan, you should know your purpose properly: This is important. When the visa expert asks you ‘why do you wish to study here?’ and it will be asked, you should be able to answer logically. A good way to prepare the answer is to decide valid and legitimate reasons before-hand. Know the facts and figures of the course and university. This will help you give a meticulous answer.
Don’ts During the Visa Interview Process
• ‘Like, Umm, I guess’ – Try to avoid using conversation fillers such as ‘Like’, ‘Ummmm’, or ‘I guess’ in a sentence when you are responding to a question. Pay close attention to the questions asked and respond with just the answer. Keep in short and simple. Do not ramble into a related life story or experience. Try to practice mock interviews before the real deal.
• ‘Nervous Nancy’ – We understand that the interview is important. But, getting nervous or showing your anxiety would not help. If you cannot handle a few questions before a visa, chances are high that you will not be able to manage yourself in a foreign country. It is okay to be a little nervous. But shaking your leg incessantly, sweaty palms, repeatedly drinking water or a lost look is not going to help. Try to be calm and confident while you are speaking and answering the questions
• ‘Do not chant’ – Many interviewees mug up scripted lines. This is a common practice, but a highly risky one. While it is good to make scripts and refer some most frequently asked questions and answers, avoid mugging up on the lines. Spontaneity is an important aspect of a visa interview.
• ‘Torn documents a strict no n-no’ – Make sure the visa related documents are presentable. Don’t use torn or crushed documents. No amount of reasoning and logic can help you if you present these key documents in horrible shape. The state of the documents reflects your seriousness and attitude about life.
• ‘Being late is not a virtue’ – VIPs may enjoy coming late to events, but you are a student. Land up at the visa interview location 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Punctuality is appreciated everywhere in the world.