An unusual US visa interview (or how the American consul talked to me in Ilokano)

US embassy

My paper abstract was accepted for presentation at an international conference in Hawaii on Nov. 14-16. And the next step was to get a US Visa. I was anxious. For who among us hasn’t heard of heartbreaking, if not horrific, experiences with consuls at the US embassy?

The whole process of applying for a visa, and the mere thought of it, seemed daunting to me: bank payment, online application, setting a schedule. My journey began with an online application that was, alas, delayed by a series of unfortunate events: unsuccessful attempts to schedule a group interview (there six seven of us from our university applying together), lack of common available time among us six, adjusted schedules because of flooding in Manila, and the university staff in charge of assisting us traveling abroad for two weeks. Meanwhile, plane fares were steadily going up as days passed.

Then the schedule came: September 6, 2013, 6:30 a.m. All of us got the same appointment, but we were to be interviewed as individuals, not as a group, which I thought was unfortunate because I heard group interviews have lower casualty rates. Anyway, I made sure I had all necessary documents that may be asked: passport, appointment letter, certificate of employment, bank certificate, samples of my published works, and a draft of my research paper.

A few days before the interview, I searched on the Internet articles about actual experiences of Filipinos during visa interviews. There are a lot of tips shared online, but, aside from coming in prepared and having documents that may be asked, the greatest advice I got was to be honest. Consuls are rigidly trained to detect lies, I read. And I learned too that they have eagle eyes for inconsistencies between what you wrote in the application form and what you say during the interview.

I don’t have a problem being honest and consistent, for I know myself quite well, and I am comfortable being me. My real fear was in being assigned either to a cruel consul or to a good one who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And so, the night before the interview, I prayed to God to give my consul a good night’s rest, and, hopefully, sweet dreams.

Continue reading “An unusual US visa interview (or how the American consul talked to me in Ilokano)”

Nasken nga Ilokano ti pagisuro

Iti agtultuloy a panagsuek ti kalidad ti edukasion iti pagilian ken iti umad-adu a sukisok a mangipakita a nasaysayaat ti panagadal dagiti ubing no maaramat ti nakayanakanda a pagsasao iti panagisuro kadakuada kadagiti umuna a tukad ti elementaria, impaulog ti Departamento ti Edukasion ti DepEd Order No. 74 Series 2009 a napauluan iti Institutionalizing Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education wenno Mother Language Education (MLE). Iti Kailokuan, maaramat ti Ilokano kadagiti umuna a tallo grado iti elementaria. Kalpasanna, in-inut a maiserrek ti Filipino ken Ingles kadagiti nangatngato a tukad.

Adtoy ti makuna ti maysa nga eksperto, ni Dr. Lily Ann C. Pedro, agdama a hepe ti Center for Teaching Excellence iti MMSU College of Teacher Education, maipanggep daytoy nga isyu. Continue reading “Nasken nga Ilokano ti pagisuro”