I’m home!

Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

Well, it’s time for the blog I couldn’t even imagine writing when I started applying for the Go Abroad process TWO YEARS ago! As a Global Ambassador, I have been helping out at UoM’s Go Abroad fair, as well as information sessions for prospective students, and it’s great to see everyone so excited about applying and going on their year abroad! I remember sitting there, desperately wanting to get into California but trying to be realistic and telling myself it probably wouldn’t happen! Don’t be put off, APPLY!!!

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Graduation photoshoot for the Class of 2017 members of Phi Sigma Pi (they let me join in even though I wasn’t technically graduating!)

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My favourite places in LA!

Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

If you’re coming to UCLA, California or just the USA in general, it’s likely you’ll head to LA to do some touristy things. I’ve lived here  for 8 months and I’m so happy to call this place home (at least for a little while)!

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I joined a frat!

Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

Firstly yes, I’m a girl.

Greek life is infamous in American college movies and in real life it’s pretty much like one expects. Girls are split into sororities and guys are in fraternities, all named after Greek letters, living in beautiful mansions on ‘Frat Row’, and holding huge weekly parties. But what I wasn’t aware of were co-ed fraternities, which usually have a specific theme – such as an academic fraternity, volunteering fraternity, or honours student fraternity.

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Phi Sigma Pi volunteering for a homeless charity!

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A tour of UCLA!

Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

If you’ve ever wondered what going to college in America is like here’s a brief tour to explain! UCLA originally started life as the southern branch of UC Berkeley, before being renamed to the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA now receives 120,000 applications a year (the most of any US university) and currently has 45,000 students!

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Californian Christmas Roadtrip

Lottie Harold – Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

I decided before leaving for UCLA that I wanted to spend the whole year abroad to get the most out of my experience, so instead of going home for Christmas my boyfriend came to me!

We hired a car with a fold-out bed in the back and set out on our two-week 1500 mile journey around California. Here are some of the highlights:

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The best year of your life?

Lottie Harold –  Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

Everyone says your year abroad will be the greatest year of your life. That in mind, I went to UCLA with the expectation that every moment would be pure bliss, I’d be constantly happy, and I’d have made new best friends for life instantly. Of course this didn’t happen. And when it didn’t, a million questions started circling my head: Have I made the right decision? Have I just wasted all this time and money to come here and not be happy? Why does everyone seemed to have settled in so much better than I have?

It has been my dream to come to UCLA and live in Los Angeles for about 10 years now, the sun, the glam, the California lifestyle, and I was over the moon to receive a place here. The first week of welcome events was great, it felt like I was on a permanent holiday. But as I went to my first class the next day I absolutely hated it, and trying to swap to a different class was a nightmare: clashing timetables, clashing exams, not enough places. I quickly became very anxious and down, believing I was going to fail the year, that I was letting my parents down, that I’d never make it through the next 9 months, and mostly that I was going to have a miserable year when I had looked forward to it so much, and put so much effort into getting here.

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I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my over packed suitcase.

Lottie Harold –  Geography – University of California, Los Angeles – United States

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First glimpse of LA!

Having spent all of the previous day hysterically clinging onto my boyfriend and telling myself I didn’t want to go, when the plane touched down on Saturday I knew I was going to have a fantastic year. Saturday was a mad rush, after leaving the airport at 3pm, Josh, another UoM student, and I waited for a SuperShuttle to UCLA. With 7 different stop offs before ours we ended up getting a tour of LA by taxi and talking to the guy sat next to us about the Roast of Rob Lowe – turns out he wrote the sketch! When we finally arrived at UCLA I checked into my bedroom – a triple room, so shared with two strangers!! I was expecting this to be awful, and after living in OP Tower I feel I’m an expert on horrendous living conditions, but the place is like a 5-star hotel, and the catered food is like dining in a restaurant! After a quick trip to Target to get bedding (they use comforters instead of duvets, and a single in the UK is a twin here, which made shopping very confusing) I finally met my roommates and floor, they’re all so nice!

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