Once you accept your grant and gain medical clearance, everything from then on is pretty self-explanatory. For Spain, the next step was getting my placement (Haro, La Rioja). It is all SUPER exciting and you will get SO MANY emails! But relax and read it all thoroughly. So far, everything has gone seemingly easy, but there were times where I thought the world was ending (this could 100% be my personality and tendency to want to control things!)
With all this new information comes a seemingly never ending amount of paperwork. I promise you can finish it all, just section off things that have to get done in order of priority. The Spain Fulbright was extremely helpful in this area, they provide multiple different resources that layout all the deadlines and their importance.
One aspect of the whole process that is quite cumbersome is the visa application. Everyone talks about it being frustrating and it is true, there are many different aspects to the application, but I tackled the whole thing piece by piece and way ahead of time. This made the process smoother than I had anticipated.
First things first, make an appointment at the Spanish consulate that is closest to you. For me that is Chicago. The Chicago consulate (and I am pretty sure all of them do) require you to make an appointment online. This is super easy to do! Fulbright should tell you when to make your appointment, I made mine three months before I planned to leave. In regard to what to bring to your appointment, it is really contingent on the consulate. The steps are pretty easy and self-explanatory. The only part that required a few calls and a little frustration was the background check. I received my fingerprint background check from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Getting the fingerprint was not hard, but getting the Hague Apostille seal. At the MoDOT office where I was fingerprinted, they didn’t really know how to advise me to go about getting this seal except to call the Secretary of State office in Jefferson City, MO. After some looking on the internet, I found the information to get in contact with their offices. This part took the longest, trying to figure out who to talk to once I reached their offices, but the assistant at the Secretary of State office, was extremely helpful. It turns out, I had to contact the MoDOT office in the capitol building and tell them to send my fingerprints over the the Secretary of State office to get the seal. Then I had to call the SoS office and give them an address to send all this paperwork to (my house). The whole process took about an hour to do and I had to be patient. Luckily, all the people I was in contact with were incredibly helpful and sweet, so it made the process easier, but I would say, it was the most complicated part thus far.
I hope that helps a little. I have my actual appointment this upcoming week, so if there is anything strange about that process, I will be sure to post about it!