Date: June 2017
Counter No: 23
Visa Interview Experience:
I reached consulate around 9 AM. Had to wait till 10.05 to go inside. Once inside, was made to sit in the waiting hall. And my turn to go inside the interview room came at about 11 AM.
Once inside, went for the biometric and then joined the queue for interview. There were a total of 5 ladies in 5 counters, 1 was for Referral, 1 for Biometric, and 3 out of them were taking the interviews.
The counter I went to had a really pretty African American lady.
VO: Good morning!
Me: Good morning, ma'am! How are you?
VO: I am fine. Please pass me your passport and i20. So why are you going to US?
Me: To pursue my Masters in Civil Engineering with specialization in Environmental Engineering.
VO: How many places did you apply to? And in how many you got admitted?
Me: 3. And I got admitted in 2..
VO: So when did you pass out?
VO: What have you been doing since?
Me: To hone my technical skills, I took few courses, some of them included civil software courses like AutoCad, Revit, StadPro. Then I also did work for Wikimedia. Then got busy with GRE, TOEFL and master's application. In the meanwhile, I also did start my own food blog.
VO: (Gave a little weird look) Wikimedia? What exactly you did there?
Me: I managed and monitored pages, edited articles, approved changes and newly added contents. Also conducted various workshops and meetings for it in different cities. And was invited by CIS often, on a full scholarship. They used to pay for my flight and hotel.
VO: So why now Masters in it suddenly? You seem to have little experience in Civil Engineering.
Me: (Got nervous by now! And fumbled..) Told her why I want to specialize in Environmental Engineering and the current need of it in India.
VO: Okay. But that wasn't my question. I did ask you why now, Masters, suddenly?
Me: (Still fumbling, but my pitch of voice had increased) No ma'am, that wasn't a sudden decision. I had been preparing for this for last 2 years. Whatever courses I took, however I did work with Wiki, and started my own foodblog, they all helped me in getting admission. I am sure they did.
She looked confused for a second, glanced sideways. Then started typing.
VO: Do you have any relative in US?
VO: Who is funding you?
Me: My family. My father has XX lakhs in his account as his savings, and I have also have taken an education loan.
I hung my head down, thinking that this is it, I am done! While getting inside, I had pulled a joke on my Dad that if my Visa gets rejected today, I am not going to be apply for a second time. You will have to get me a job in your office! He had laughed, while saying, "Don't worry. You won't require it."
I was thinking that now the joke is going to become my reality. She seems confused and I am done for good.Just then,
VO: Alright, your visa is approved. Next?
Me: Ma'am, approved? Did you say approved?
VO: Nodded in yes!
Me: Thank you so much! Have a great day! You are the best, ma'am. (I actually jumped while saying all these)
VO slightly smiled and continued on her work.
I tried running out, but in my excitement I didn't notice that I was trying to Exit from all those gates which did say Enter. I was stopped twice then, and was made to change tracks. Once out of the interview room, I stood there for a minute and actually cried. Tears had been welling up in my eyes since long, and I couldn't control them right now. Past 2 months had been plain torture for me, from getting late admit, to my i20 getting delivered to some other guy's home in Delhi who later contacted me and sent me my docs, to SBI rejecting my collateral over non-existent issues after keeping me in loop for about 1 month, to other personal issues. I was actually thinking that I wouldn't be able to make it now. I actually thought that, and was this disheartened.
I went out. My dad was standing far away. I looked at him and smiled. Dad thought, "Ho gaya!" Then I started crying, and he was like, "Ye kya ho gaya?"
He asked, and I told him my visa was approved! It's a little personal to share, but since this moment was very special and is about to be locked down in Calendar, I am sharing, my dad cried. He actually cried. And I had never seen him cry. Never once in my life, yet!
For all I know, the lady would have rejected me outright had I not answered her question that you have no experience in Civil still you are going for it. I fumbled, got nervous, kinda lost confidence, but still managed to answer her.
There are many a moment in VI when VO might ask you something out of context, or something unexpected, DON'T STAY SILENT THERE. ANSWER SOMETHING. As long as it's close to the relevant answer, you are good! Just be sure of whatever you say, and YOURSELF!
She saw the fact that I was sure of what I did, I was sure that it contributed to my profile, even though my work wasn't relevant to Civil, but I still was sure and confident about my decision, and that I guess convinced her up!
I saw many guys in formals, and many in casuals too. I myself was in jeans and a checkered shirt. And going by the approval/rejection rates, as long as you are dressed DECENTLY and MODESTLY, you are okay, be it formals or casuals.
All the best to those, who are yet to give their Visa Interview.
Note: Content in this article is taken from a public forum moderated by Yocket. Personal details which may reveal the identity have been removed in order to maintain annonimity.