When I was preparing to leave the United Kingdom for the Golden State seven weeks ago, I was bombarded with stereotypical conceptions of California.
The beaches, the boards, the films and the stars, all seemed to make me think that it was every inch of California that oozed those connotations.
While half of this is true the other half is somewhat fiction.
After stepping out of the airport the only things that grasped me were the sun and the characters of popular cartoons walking around the streets of Downtown Los Angeles with their tricks and imitations. (But of course everyone has to earn a living.)
The arrival and delving into school life at Cal State Fullerton are definitely a world away from those stereotypes that shadow the international view of California as a whole.
One of the few observations I have picked up on in regards to independent living in California is how different apartment layouts are. Most apartments are occupied by fewer people and the best part is I only have to share a bathroom with one person. This is a stark contrast from the six people that I shared with back home.
The amount of friendly people at the university village where I live is a great medicine for homesickness. I would recommend to any international student coming to CSUF in the future to invest on a car. If they want to see places on their own watch, it is the only way.
However, the times I have managed to sightsee have not left me disappointed–the coastal beaches are beautiful and packed even during the worst weather, which in California is just a slight breeze or light rain for an hour. It makes a change from the substantial cold and wind that deter people from using beaches in the U.K.
Hollywood was also another “wow” moment of my time here, although the four-hour walk from the train station to Hollywood highlighted the naivety and stupidity of me. To be honest, taking a stroll down Rodeo Drive and seeing the Walk of Fame, Chinese theatre and the Hollywood sign more than compensated for my idiocy.
Once school started, parties and gatherings were heard in mass and the sorority girls flocked to the walkways of campus. It was then that I knew I was in an American college.
The outstanding stadiums, which mirror the importance of sports in this collegiate society, the bands playing outside in the scorching, late-summer sun, and not to mention the sea of people signing up for every society I could ever think of, all of this before I have even set foot in my first class.
I would be lying if I declared that the levels of work required from students here was easy, because it’s not.
The dedication and work load students at CSUF have to tolerate puts my old efforts back in Swansea University to shame.
The levels of discussion and interaction in each class are a great way to keep attendance high; the numbers in each class compared to classes back home also make it seem more intimate. This gives me a sense of value.
To summarize on my time, so far, at CSUF is to say that it has been an absolute pleasure. It only solidifies my desire to stay here, to immerse myself in red-cup parties, as well as the debating society, charity work, and writing for The Daily Titan.
For this really is the Golden State.