Kansas City – Well, it’s that time. With less than one week left in the home of the corn dog and the land of the funnel cake, I am in a position of needing to begin the final stages of planning and preparation to depart from Kansas City for London this coming Friday. Of course, this doesn’t come without a little bit of pain. After all, my cat and dog are rather not happy at the prospect of me leaving them for a few weeks, but they’ll just have to deal with it. The cat sure has found a way.
However much grief may come to the family fuzzies, there’s always some trouble with either homesickness on my part or worry on my parents’ parts while I’m away. Luckily though, we live in 2013, and happen to have a little technology called Skype (Buíchos le Dia!) With a good internet connection on both ends, one can see and speak to another on the other side of the globe!
Another thing to prepare for is to figure out what I need to get through British Customs. Now, normally as an American citizen, all I would need is my passport. But because I’m staying for three weeks, and will be studying at a British university, I am required to get a student visa upon arrival at Heathrow one week from today. All I need to present is my passport, an acceptance letter from the University of Westminster (where I’ll be studying), and some bank documents showing I have enough money to live on.
One other sort of “pass” that I invested in this past week, to become official on the 15th, is an English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass. They cost around £28 and can be picked up and activated at any English Heritage location. All you need to activate the pass is, as the English Heritage website reads,
“…print out your booking confirmation (voucher), and take this with the credit card used to make the booking. You must also have proof of identity with you in the form of a passport, identity card or driver’s license to authenticate that you are the rightful owner of the voucher and as proof of overseas residency. This can be a photocopy.”
English Heritage is similar to our National Historic Sites in the United States. It is a nonprofit organisation that maintains many of the historical places, buildings, battlefields, ruins, etc. throughout England. There are similar organisation in Scotland called Historic Scotland, in Wales called Cadw, in the North of Ireland the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Manx National Heritage on the Isle of Man. During my 2002 trip over to England, I got the opportunity to visit a good number of English Heritage sites, including Battle Abbey (the site of the Battle of Hastings of 1066), Dover Castle, and St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury. I would highly recommend getting this pass for your trip.
So, until next Friday…