I’ve been in San Diego for two weeks and the first thing one notices on the West Coast of America is how tanned everyone is. It’s not your accent that stands out; it’s sitting on the beach looking like a ghost (humble brag, humble brag, I’ve already lost count of how many times I’ve been to the beach). The weather here is amazing; holding back the urge to Snapchat every sunset has become a daily struggle. And in true English spirit I have also managed to complain about being too hot on almost every occasion.
Lesson-wise, classes are not only different from the UK, but they also vary subject to subject. With mine I’ve found that this term I have no discussion/seminar classes, which means: a) participation in lectures is important, and b) so is attending them. I’ve also found different lecturers have different rules, some don’t allow laptops, which meant actually handwriting, and some like to make their lectures 3 hours long (3 hours long?!). You can also bring dogs in to lectures here, so if you can’t find a sitter for Fluffy, he’s always welcome in Poli Sci 104. As I’ve only been here a couple of weeks, it’s hard to gauge how heavy the workload is. One bonus to being an exchange student is that we only have to take 12 credits, unlike American students who are doing at least 16, so there’s more time to revise. That said, there’s definitely a lot of reading to do, and depending on your subject, weekly assignments and midterms. Luckily, the library at UCSD is a spaceship in which I will gladly spend much of my time.
I have already learnt that getting work done before the weekend is a must in order to explore everything amazing there is to see. So far I have discovered In N’ Out is heaven on earth. The animal style fries on their secret menu have definitely increased my risk of heart disease, but it was so worth it. When feeling healthy, being in California (home to the super-vegans) is perfect, as there are loads of really nice café’s to go to with the best selection of Acai bowls. If I gain nothing else from being here, at least I’ll leave being able to pronounce Acai. Whole Foods is also probably (most definitely) the best supermarket in the world, it’s like a day trip in itself. I’ve also been lucky enough to be invited by one of my new friends to stay with her family in LA for the weekend. Her family, much like everyone else here, were super friendly, and getting to be in a home rather than halls was a nice break. With San Diego so close to LA it made me realise how much I have to see in my year and that I want to spend more time exploring LA as well. As far as discovering La Jolla and the rest of San Diego, I still have a lot more to find, my list of things I want to do is ever growing and I just hope to get them all done!