One of the things that come within the territory of being a globetrotter is taking care of paperwork – visa is one of them. To apply for a student visa for the UK, one needs to apply 3 months prior to the start of the course. Unfortunately, for me, those 3 months is split between time in Cameroon and the United States.
To play it safe, I decided to apply for my visa here in Cameroon at the British High Commission in Yaounde. I followed the online instruction to file an application online and then made an appointment. During this process, I found it bizarre that all the appointments were either 8am or 8:30am.
Even though this is the Britich High Commission, many of the practices are adapted to the Cameroonian culture, which I find extremely amusing. Cameroonians are notorious for their tardiness in meetings. I completely understand why all the appointments are at either 8 or 8h30. This way, even if people show up late, it wouldn’t affect the process. Yet for an American who is used to efficiency, I couldn’t help but laugh and shake my head when I showed up at 8h15 for my 8h30 appointment and waited in a room until 11h30 before I was called to turn in my paperwork and get finger printed – all of which took literally less than 5 minutes of time. I yet again made the mistake of not bringing a book. One should ALWAYS have a book on them while in Cameroon. I for some reason never learn my lesson. But hey, at least the room was air conditioned.
The British High Commission in Yaounde doesn’t actually process visas. My paperwork is being sent to Ghana for processing. It could be worse, if I lived in Chad, CAR or Gabon, I would have to travel to Cameroon to even apply for the visa! That would have been a pain and then some. Crossing my fingers that all will work out and I’ll have my student visa in hand within the next 3 weeks!