San Francisco has been a real journey. When I got the plane out of Sydney, I was leaving behind good friends, close family and a relationship. I had been looking forward to going on exchange for many months – even years – but when the time came I did not feel ready. Now that I’m here, I still don’t feel ready. But I’m loving the experience none-the-less and it truly is life changing. In fact, I have decided to stay on at SFSU with the “Study Abroad” program and transfer my credit across to UTS to graduate from my degree!
The city has so much to offer. Great people and places. But something I’ve discovered is that exchange is one thing, but living somewhere is something else entirely. The IEEC at SF State are incredible. We have made friends from all around the world. I love my subjects. The cinema department here is very good and there is so much to learn and so many projects I want to complete! However, it hasn’t always been the easiest making American friends. Sometimes I feel like there’s no point doing just one semester, because I won’t have any more time to turn some of my scripts and smaller pieces into bigger work with the people I am collaborating with. So I’ve decided to stay. I want to feel fully immersed in the city. I want to move off-campus (I’m in Student housing now), I want to turn my short script into a thesis film shot in the city during Fall and I’d like to find a production internship or some other unique opportunity only available to me in America! It’s difficult to organise all of this with UTS. But they’ve given me the okay and so have SF State. Now it’s just a matter of finding somewhere else to live (hopefully in Lower Haight, it’s so central and beautiful) and filling out forms that have to be approved back home for subject transfers.
It’s going to be a long journey, but I know it’s worth it. I’m not sure where the road will lead, but I know I’ve taken the one less taken. And that’s all that matters.
– Benjamin Strum