Hi everyone, I’m Alicia and I am spending my year abroad at the University of San Diego (USD) in California. I arrived in San Diego at the start of August, since my first semester began in mid August, and I have been here for almost three months now. Moving to America was very scary. It didn’t become real until I collected my visa and began packing. The most stressful part of the whole moving experience was finding accommodation. USD did not provide accommodation for exchange law students so it was extremely daunting having to find my own flat in a country I had never even visited. Luckily for me, I was already friends with the other student, Remi, who was also going to USD for her year abroad so it made moving here much more easy and comfortable. I can’t take any of the credit, since it was Remi who found our lovely apartment (it even has its own pool), and after a month of thinking we may be homeless we finally moved in!
Law school here is completely different to back home. First of all, to go to law school in America you must have first completed an undergraduate degree, and so I am one of the youngest students in my classes. Secondly, USD is quite a small University and so the whole of the law school only comprises of around 500 students therefore all of my lectures and classes are fairly small. Another difference, which has been particularly difficult to get used to, is the Socratic method of teaching. Even in lectures, the professor will call you by name to ask you a question about the required reading or part of the class discussion which means you have to be thoroughly prepared for every lecture and class. Despite this, I am thoroughly enjoying all of my classes and this semester I am studying Child Rights and Remedies, Environmental law, Introduction to US law and Corporate law.
The campus here at USD is incredibly beautiful. In fact, this year it was voted the most beautiful campus in the whole of the United States! The buildings are designed in a 16th century Spanish Renaissance style, with views overlooking the bay. Although USD is quite a small campus in comparison to other American schools, there is still plenty to do. Whenever I’m not in class, I’ll be in the coffee shop with my friends, or hanging out on the hammocks around campus enjoying the sun. There are also beautiful trails around the campus, with incredible views of the city and the bay. In addition, the weather in San Diego is amazing. The sun is always shining, meaning it’s always the perfect time to go to the beach, go hiking or having a day at the pool.
Settling in and making friends was made easy by the incredible international team at USD. The international student organisation arranged so many fun events for all of the new international students, providing the perfect opportunity to meet new people and make friends. The first event of the year was a pizza night in ‘Frank’s lounge’, where what seemed like an unlimited amount of Dominos pizza was provided. This event was followed by the annual harbour cruise around the bay. The boat set off at sunset and sitting on the top deck was an incredible way to view the beautiful downtown sky line. There are also lots of fun activities to do in San Diego. The famous Balboa Park is home to numerous museums, hiking trials and San Diego Zoo, and Pacific Beach is personally my favourite place to visit ,with boutique shops and restaurants stretching along the beach front.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!