Choose Wisely: Studying Abroad with Sydney Henderson


Road outside Henderson’s current residence in Finland. There is currently 6 hours of sunlight a day and it often this dark much of the day.

It certainly wasn’t on her bucket list, but Sydney Henderson, Kennedy alumna and current student at the University of Iowa, embraced as much of her nine hour trip to New York City as she could.

Studying abroad is becoming really popular among college students and even some high school students. Most probably have their ideal location in mind for where they would like to study. For Sydney Henderson, that location was Finland. What she didn’t know was that Finland would require a short, expensive, trip to New York City to retrieve her residence permit.

“When I learned I would have to travel all the way to New York to get my residence permit I was very upset,” Henderson said, “It’s really not that easy to fly there from Iowa and it definitely wasn’t cheap.” Henderson unfortunately had to spend a couple hundred dollars, which was an unforeseen cost when totaling up her savings for her travels abroad.

The Finnish Consulate wasn’t in a convenient spot for any touristy things either. While Henderson didn’t have much desire to visit New York City, she knows it would have been nice to be able to do something other than get her permit, grab some lunch and go back to the airport.

“Usually Chicago is an option for students traveling abroad that need visas or residence permits, or sometimes students are able to get those once they enter the country they are staying in,” Henderson said, “Unfortunately that just wasn’t an option for Finland.”

While many locations available for students who study abroad have options when it comes to retrieving visas or residence permits, Finland isn’t the only one that will require a short trip to New York, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C..

“Moral of the story, do your research and choose wisely,” Henderson said, “It’s really important to start the process early and be prepared.”

Henderson encourages everyone to in the least consider studying abroad and even though the process had a few obstacles, she knows it will be totally worth it and can’t wait for the next semester of her college career.

This photo was taken in Henderson’s daily route.