Having spent the past academic year studying at UC Berkeley, California, it’s fair to say that I am still settling back into the hustle and bustle of London life and coming to the realisation that my favourably named ‘Berkeley Bubble’ has well and truly been popped. Having said that, I find myself looking back at the year I spent in the wonderfully bizarre, alternative and glorious place of Berkeley with very fond memories indeed.
Deciding to studying abroad was definitely one of my most zealous decisions, it was daunting to be leaving my friends and family for a year and everything my beloved Blighty had provided me with for nineteen years – but, in a nutshell: it was worth it.
My year abroad was filled with taking an obscene amount of photos, experiencing the true meaning of ‘school spirit’, forming friendships that can endure an eight-hour time difference, learning all about the notoriously American ‘Greek’ system, going on a Spring Break trip with my floormates, using my ‘cute British’ accent to my advantage in and out of class, and living by the Berkeley motto, ‘Work Hard, Play Harder’.
From attending every home [American] football game, rubbing shoulders with Nobel Laureates in class to spending my weekends at frat parties, my student experience in the States could not be more different to London. Sure, I missed Cheap$kates £1.50 drinks and their classy decor (carpet on walls, anyone?), but in a state of culture shock who was I to turn down a red solo cup full of ‘jungle juice’ and branch out to trying a game of ‘Beer Pong’?
All in all, spending a year at my beloved Berks has changed me – embracing the California lifestyle, my self-confidence and confidence in my academic abilities has been boosted, I am now more independent than I have ever been (much to my Mum’s despair; she can no longer wrap me up in cotton wool), and I have made the best pals at Cal.
In the words of Wicked’s Glinda, I have be changed ‘for good’ and I cannot wait to graduate from QMUL and return to my second home!