Upon first arrival, Sacramento left me little to be excited about. Coming from the buzzing city of Sydney, to what gave me the first impression of a fairly bare and uninteresting town, was a huge culture shock and I really questioned my decision to come here. But it wasn’t long until the quaint capital of California stole my heart and became somewhat of a second home.
Known as the city of trees, Sacramento definitely comes into its element in the Spring time. Watching winter disappear was much more dramatic than in anywhere in Australia – with flowers blossoming, growing noticeably on a daily basis. And as the sun has begun to set later and later so have the actions of students around campus. Lying on the grass and soaking up the sun, skateboarding and just hanging out in the courtyard outside college until late hours talking and laughing like before televisions existed. I don’t think I’ve actually watched a proper full-length program since I’ve been here and I couldn’t miss it less.
There’s a strong student atmosphere here. I love living on campus, getting to know so many different, interesting people a mix of international students and people that have lived within a half an hour radius all their lives.
One of the better decisions I’ve made within the school is joining a sorority. Now I wouldn’t call myself a sorority girl in the slightest, if they existed in Sydney, I have to say its not something I’d be involved in, I don’t wear pink or enjoy numerous crafty items with rhinestones taking over my entire room – but it truly has added to the uniqueness of my experience. Being a part of Phi Sigma Sigma, I’ve developed strong friendships with amazing girls I else would never have met, one of these amazing girls, my ‘big sister’, has already made plans to take her first international trip all the way to Australia to see me in the summer. We wear pins, matching tank tops with Greek letters on them, and we ‘Woo’ and we click, but it’s fun – and being part of the Greek life has definitely helped to epitomize the American college experience for me.
The great part about California is just how diverse the landscape is, being based in Sacramento offers so much opportunity for travel. If you drive an hour in one direction you find yourself in one of the best skiing locations in the country, an hour in the other – you’ll find yourself in what is among the most iconic cities in the world. Having only been here less than three months, I have already been on three trips to San Francisco, a trip to the Nappa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Hollywood, Santa Monica and other famous and exciting places like Venice beach – all less than a six hour drive away.
Having just spent my spring break in Cancun, Mexico, in the next month alone I’m going to Cochella (one of the most amazing festivals in the world my friends couldn’t be more jealous), Las Vegas for my birthday and Yosemite, described as ‘a shrine to human foresight’ – a national park infused with enchanting waterfalls only a four hour drive from campus.
I become more and more sure of my decision to come to Sacramento every day. I feel myself learning so much about the world and about myself as my eyes are opened through the multitude of different perspectives, experiences and personalities I have come across. This exchange, for me, is such an amazing adventure, I’m so happy to be here.
I don’t want to open my eyes in fear that my Californian Dreaming will come to an end.
Michaela Greathead – California State University, Sacramento Autumn 2013.