Have you ever been driven around by a stranger in a convertible whose front is held together with a massive chain? Have you ever spent the night on a citrus farm in the middle of nowhere? Have you ever slept with an infestation of spiders above your head? If you want all this and more, go to the ol’ UC Berkeley friends. I was considering writing some really soppy, meaningful ode to Berkeley but nah, here’s 13 reasons why you should do study abroad:
As an international student you get to meet a bunch of other international kids which means you can basically exploit your friendships for free accommodation anywhere in the world–– I’m looking at you Tim.
- New appreciation for travel
We’ve all been there, staring at some Instagram dickhead who is beautiful beyond words and travels the world but study abroad, especially in California, will let you pretend you’re that dickhead for a bit. I mean, look at me, I’m writing a blog… about travel… right now… You will discover a new appreciation for making the most of your travelling opportunities and you should take these in whatever form they come!
- You feel like an adult
Yeah, we all think going to uni or taking a gap year made us grow up but just wait till you’re in a queue in immigration with all your documents because you had to do adult stuff like apply for a visa. Or, when you’re arguing with sassy women in administration because your parents are an 11-hour flight away and not just can’t deal with, but have no desire to deal with your shitty problems. What I’m trying to say is, you’re on your own pal and it’s great.
- You also feel like a child
There’s something about American college life that makes you feel like you’re in school again but in a good way. Maybe it’s because my home university is in the city but even at British campuses I don’t think you get the same communal and friendly vibe. You’ll experience unbelievable friendliness and kindness from people who genuinely just want to help you.
- You’ll ‘find yourself’
In the least cringey way possible, being dumped in the middle of nowhere in completely new surroundings really makes you evaluate the kind of person you want to be, the kind of people you want to surround yourself with and what you value most in life.
- It’s basically one big holiday
Minus the academic stress of Berkeley, if you go to university in the UK, you will 100% feel as if you’re on holiday in California. I don’t even know why because I was doing twice as much work at Berkeley as I was at home but it’s just those Cali vibessss you know.
- You’ll do more spontaneous things
Given that your time abroad has a time limit on it, you’ll want to pack the most in that you can. Also, you’re in a country, thousands of miles away from anyone you know; you can do whatever you want to do without fear of being judged by those closest to you. You have the opportunity to really be yourself.
- Don’t you want to experience a frat party?
If you go to Berkeley, they’re not exactly wild like the films but you’ll still feel ‘American’ drinking shit beer out of your red solo cup while playing beer pong to the dulcet tones of trap music. Also, frats are actually as dirty as you think they are, beer all over the floor, remnants of tacos or some other savoury snack and wine in a bag. Tip: If you don’t get there too late, you wont have to pay for any alcohol for the whole night (frats have bare $$$$)
9. Academic satisfaction
At Berkeley, you really are taught by the experts in their field and yes, every university says that but at Berkeley they really mean it. I actually felt like I was being taught things. Shocking isn’t it, valid teaching at university? I was encouraged to go to office hours for help, I was given constructive feedback on work and didn’t feel intimidated to put my hand up in class. I went to the library more times in one week than I did in a year and a half at King’s.
- Gain a zest for life
Americans are 10x happier for no reason; it’s super annoying at times but if it rubs off on you a little then you’re sorted. You’ll find yourself smiling at people in the street or saying ‘for sure’ to anything anyone asks you. You will become a beacon of happiness for generations to come.
- Friendz 4 lyf
Since starting uni I’ve been rather lost with the people I want to surround myself with but on study abroad you will definitely meet people who you know you will stay in contact with for a long time to come. You have the opportunity to completely revamp the kind of people you want to spend time with and it really makes you reflect on how you treat other people.
- Less judgemental/more open minded
If you go to Berkeley you will be immersed in a liberal bubble and that’s a good thing; it was a refreshing change to the hard line conservatism that I was used to from Essex. I say Essex, I mean my dad––yeah, Big Dave. Listening to others is actually a good thing. Respecting opinions, being compassionate and just being an all round decent person is just quite nice I guess.
- Give me one reason not to.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that made my study abroad the way it was. It actually was a once in a lifetime in experience that I will never, ever forget and I am a better person because of it. So cheers fellaaaaaas. xoxo