By Christevie Ngoma, University of Toronto, Canada
In January, me and my best friend (Danielle) from London (who did an exchange at McGill in Montreal) decided we needed one more holiday after New York to celebrate the end of our exchange! So we picked California, I have a close uncle in San Diego and my best friend has a close Aunt in Los Angeles. This meant we had free accommodation so we were saving over £1,000 not paying for a hotel.
My flight from Toronto to San Diego with a return from LAX costs £374 with Air Canada, me and Danielle planned to meet in Chicago during a stop over! We didn’t have to pay for a ESTA since we got one in December for when we went to New York so that was sorted! All we had to do was plan our trip!
We arrived in San Diego in the evening where my Uncle picked us up! Throughout the 6 days we done Hiking on Torrey Pines to see the beautiful landscape! We also done Kayaking for £80 and the San Diego Zoo for £55. The San Diego Zoo is very famous for how they take care of animals, and I’m not really a fan of zoos but what they’re doing is amazing so I recommend! We visited La Jolla beach and ended our trip with celebrating Cinco De Mayo, it was amazing to embrace Mexican culture and food. San Diego is a 10/10 city!
We then went to Danielle’s Aunt who took us around LA for the next 6 days! We went to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, Malibu, Venice Beach and Santa Monica! We also done a whole day at Universal Studios for £95, we tried the Super Mario World and went on all the rides, it was a great experience! We ended the trip with exploring Downtown LA, going to Chinatown and Little Tokyo!
Review of California
I would 100% recommend California for anyone interested! The weather is amazing, and being 30 minutes away from a beach for 2 weeks made me so happy! It is definitely a costly trip that was only affordable because we saved a lot of money on Ubers because we had family as chauffeurs. I would advise for someone to have a license so you can use a car to explore multiple cities such as San Francisco! For any food lovers, it’s the perfect opportunity to try Latin American food especially as San Diego is right near the Mexican border! We also tried all the American food chains that aren’t in the UK or Canada such as In n Out which was 10/10 (I’d recommend their American Style Burgers).
If you are looking to do an exchange year consider budgeting for a holiday to explore the nearby countries and cities, it’s the perfect opportunity!