After returning to the UK after my semester abroad in California, studying at Humboldt State University, I wanted to summarize my time there and encourage everyone considering studying abroad to just take the opportunity and go!
After my first lectures, I quickly realized how much the teachers are involved in their students’ degrees. The small class sizes mean that everyone is known by name, that participants spontaneously take part in class discussions and work together on assignments – and this was in line with all departments with which I took lessons, especially fishing, environmental science, and oceanography. However, speaking to friends in the humanities subjects is uninterrupted throughout the university. I found it much easier at HSU to meet people and make close friends in class than in Southampton – the culture in Humboldt is so much more open and friendly, and people are much more willing to chat with the new students and them to steer in the right direction. whether it’s a piece of coursework or the best coffee on campus.
The practical nature of the HSU is well known, and even my more theoretical classes include tasks that require a walk in a redwood forest or a trip to the dunes. All of my lecturers had a broad practical background in their field and never failed to explain a point with a personal anecdote or experience. An absolute highlight was the nocturnal fishing excursion, where we camped at Grizzly Creek and worked in groups on projects of our choice. We spent an evening by the fire to disassemble the fish caught during the day and chat about the water quality measurements we collected.
The other international students I met during the international orientation introductory week have become friends for life after traveling together during Thanksgiving week and visiting Mt.Diablo, LA, the Grand Canyon, Coachella, and Santa Cruz (including beautiful ones Destinations) later went to Oregon. But what taught me to travel on the west coast of America was how beautiful the Humboldt landscape really is. If you can walk in a redwood forest or walk the Arcata swamp, you can watch the sunset from the top of the world on Fickle Hill or along the Trinidad coast. cycle on the Hammond Trail and learn to surf at Moonstone Beach. Fern Gorge and Giant Tree are only a short drive away and both can be reached by bus. But an amazing variety of landscapes and wildlife is right on your doorstep.
During my time at HSU, I joined the women’s intercollegiate rowing team. Having never rowed, I shouldn’t have had to worry – the team was so fun and supportive that everyone learned and encouraged each other. Getting up five times a week at 5 a.m., with weights and exercises in the afternoon, besides working at the university and trying to travel to every destination in Humboldt County, was a lot – but I watched myself mentally and physically was strengthened and never forgot the amazing women I rowed when the sun rose in Humboldt Bay.
In summary, I chose to study at HSU abroad to take courses in areas that are not taught in Southampton and to gain a better understanding of the academic field that I want to pursue. I achieved that and much more – Humboldt taught me how to love your subject and how to really learn and practice it, but he also taught me how to live. Pushing yourself every day to meet people you never thought could exist and to be truly happy every minute you live.
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