Hello from Humboldt State University, California! I’ve been living in the US for a few weeks now and have finally found a moment to stop and update my blog!
First, a quick overview of how I got to this point. I found the organisation and lead up period quite stressful. On top of getting through the second year of university, the lecturer strikes, and taking an active role in societies on campus, getting ready for my year abroad took a lot of work. Although I am so glad that I have gone through with this opportunity, those who may be considering a year abroad might want to consider how much needs to be done beforehand, and the (sometimes unexpected) expenses that come with it.
Soon, however, leaving day came around and after saying goodbye to my cats, family, and boyfriend, I was on a plane to Oakland. Having my cousins meet me at the airport helped me from getting too nervous, and I was able to really enjoy my first couple of days in San Francisco with family! (Thank you Paul and Dave!)
After a beautiful drive up from San Francisco to Arcata I was left alone in my dorm room for the first time. This is probably the first moment where I felt homesick and worried about the year. I suddenly realised how far away I was from home and my friends and family. But I soon felt a lot more relaxed and comfortable once a couple of my flatmates turned up at the flat. It was like the first year of uni again and I think we were all grateful for someone to talk to. Although I do still miss home and get pangs of homesickness, the realisation that I can make new friends anywhere in the world and the amount of exciting opportunities I’ve got here keeps me from missing home too much.
I’ve been taking every opportunity I can to explore the beaches and trails around the university and I’ve started playing in the orchestra. As well as lots of opportunities to hike (see photos) and play music, my classes have been keeping me busy! So far I’ve found the work load easier than in Southampton and the U.S. format, with more classes but less work for each one, really works well for me. I’ve jumped right in to my work and have been surprisingly productive, partly so that all my work is out of the way and I can enjoy exploring the area! Although the year abroad is about travelling and having a great time, I’d also really recommend choosing somewhere that has interesting modules so that the whole experience is enjoyable. I found my modules very interesting, especially the new perspective I’m getting on my subject (Film and English). All of the people in my classes have very different backgrounds to me and the American perspective, particularly in regards to American film and literature, is really fascinating.
I’m loving the atmosphere here and I’m really enjoying every aspect of my year abroad so far. I’m trying to say yes to as many new opportunities as possible and look forward to keeping you all up to date on what I’m up to!