The Storm Before the Calm of San Diego

And so begins another journey, welcome to the tale of my exchange at UCSD. I’m Matt Holland and am just about to start my third year of Mechanical Engineering in the new environment of San Diego.

I had always been interested in the possibility to go on an exchange should the opportunity arise, so I was very excited when the time finally came for the International fair in November. After some preliminary investigations I decided that McGill at Montreal would be a suitable place to go as it had a good engineering department, good reputation and was in Canada. This was the plan, right until the heating in our flat decided to go on strike in mid-December. After a week of living in a sleeping bag I had become slightly fed up of living in the cold weather, and Montreal gets very cold. I decided it was time to do some more investigating to ensure I would be happy in my destination, so with the promise of a warm room at the international office, I set off to have another thorough look at the questionnaires filled in by previous exchange students. After a few more visits, and some encouragement from my DoS, I chose to apply to the University of California.

After being accepted at San Diego, the next major event was the deliverance of the DS2019 at the end of May. Almost simultaneously an email came from the accommodation services department at San Diego outlining the International House application. The majority of international students go to the I-House, but I’d wanted to live amongst a large number of Americans, and thus get what I perceive to be the true American experience. I want to meet people I can go to sports games with, chat to about the sports and go down the beach with.  Living in the I-House also seemed to involve several big commitments to take part in events that I wasn’t keen to make at the time. I spent a long time on the housing website in the next few days as I deliberated the options, and in the end I plumped for accommodation in a shared room at Warren Apartments. I’m excited to see how it turns out, but also apprehensions – I’m throwing myself in the deep end somewhat.

After my Visa was accepted in July, following a morning of sitting and waiting in the US Embassy, and I had signed up for my courses, there has been there has been little else to do except look at what is available to do in the few holidays I get. I’m getting very enthusiastic about travelling to Palm Springs, and there are a number of old ghost towns in the Sierra Nevada that I look forward to visiting.  Being a huge sports fan, I’m very eager about seeing some baseball games in San Diego, and I’m hopeful of catching a football game before Christmas. I particularly want to see an Ice Hockey game in LA at some point, and am looking forward to staying on the gloriously art-deco Queen Mary in Long Beach after my 21st birthday.

After a long time of waiting, D-Day is almost here, and I’m now just counting down the last few days I can move into my new apartment for the next year.

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