Mr Bill Strassberger, Cultural Affairs Officer of U.S. Embassy in Abuja, has advised students applying for study visas to the U.S. to seek accurate information on such applications.
Strassberger, who gave the advice at the embassy’s weekly students' visa orientation on Wednesday, cautioned such applicants to be wary of ``touts” who present them with wrong information.
He said wrong information was a major challenge faced by the embassy but noted that it was the responsibility of the embassy to help such applicants with the right information.
`` There are people who are trying to take advantage of those who do not know.
``They might listen to touts on the street; they might listen to a so-called adviser who does not really know much of what they are talking about, they get bad information.
``But by having a consular officer, somebody that they will face in the interview as well as our education advisers to explain the process of studying in the states is a great opportunity to understand that it is not that hard to go to the United States to study if they are qualified.
`` The real challenge for us is there is a lot of bad information out there and we take it as a responsibility at the United States Embassy to make sure that accurate information is available to those who desire to go to the United States as a or even as a visitor.’’
The Cultural Affairs officer said the orientation would help to enlighten the applicants on processes involved in securing US student visa.
Also speaking, Mr Jerrod Hansen, Vice Consul of the embassy, advised such applicants to be directly involved in the processes of visa acquisition.
Hansen said this would help them to understand the processes and have confidence in their responses at interviews.
``The more you get involved yourself, the more eligible you will be when the time comes and all the information you need we make available online.
``There is no need to pay anyone else for it; there is no need to think of what the right answers are.
``Do the work yourself and as long as you know what you want to do and why you want to do it, you are going to be just fine.’’
On her part, Mrs Jennifer Onyukwu, Director Education Advising Centre of the embassy, said that the visa orientation was to specifically address grey areas in the processes of student visa interview.
Some of the participants, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said they hitherto had no knowledge of how to go about approaching the right sources of information, but noted they were now better informed.
``Basically, I ask from some people who have gone through the process.
``I never knew about this programme and I did not even know how to get clarifications on some parts of the form I am even filling but this has really helped and I was able to ask direct questions and get answers,” said one of the participants.