…what “big freeze”?

By Elizabeth Hardy (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA).

Needless to say, the cold weather has not hit Santa Barbara. In fact, most people were celebrating when it rained this past weekend – it has been the first big rainfall I have seen in the five months I have been here.

Life here has recently been very, VERY busy. It seems Study Abroad is an opportunity to get involved in just about everything…. so that is just what I’ve been doing. Since I arrived back in January I’ve volunteered at Santa Barbara Film Festival, signed up to run my first 5K, started life drawing classes, got an internship and been getting a bit more involved with my co-operative house as the social chair.

My classes this quarter have been really interesting. Whilst my Anthropology classes at Manchester are often theoretical, there is a much larger focus here on a more practical approach to Anthropology. This means sometimes I will have a class where my professor will talk us through their fieldwork photos, or ask questions about we would like to learn about in the syllabus. This different academic system takes a lot of getting used to, but it is refreshing.

My love for the co-operative houses is growing the longer I stay in California. They are an entirely different, (and sometimes challenging) way of living, but I now cannot imagine returning to living with the average 4 or 5 people that is so common in Manchester. After learning how to share my space, chores and responsibilities with 30 other people, there will certainly be a readjustment period.

Time seems to go far quicker whilst operating on a term, and not a semester, system. My second quarter here at UCSB is nearly done and finals are once again looming. I am however looking to my holiday, the well-known ‘Spring Break’.  My parents are joining me for a road trip around the main sites in California, and it will be a great opportunity to see some great landscapes, such as Big Sur, Lake Tahoe and Death Valley. Photos to follow.

That’s all for now.

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