Being on exchange is like playing musical chairs- you hop out of a country into the next. You jump into a hostel, then move into a room you found on Craigslist. You then dance circles around new friends, finding some that are on the same wavelength as you. In SF, you’ll definitely also find some people that are on a wavelength just of their own.
Choose to come to SF carefully; you’ll fall in love and might not want to go home!
When you travel around this city, don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with the locals. Mirror their warmth and friendliness and trust me, your day will be made.
For all the foodies, SF will definitely keep your belly (and your wallet) happy. Have a sushirrito, a burrito sized sushi roll or grab a duck and fig pork sausage at Fort Mason on a Friday night. If you’re into beer, this is the city to be in, microbrews are popular, a 6 pack is cheap and on a night out, a can of beer the size of a Pringles can be found at seven-eleven. You could even find quality beer at Trader Joes (more organic and local version of Woolies); beer so good its ‘hipster good’.
Coffee lovers are welcome, but be warned that there are still Starbucks lurking around. There are also a great number of cafes to try for brunch. Make a day of it and get yourself to Haight; have brunch then wander around. Stop in a couple of vintage stores. You never know, you may just run into a group of nudists casually walking around, with nothing on but a long rainbow sock dangling carelessly between their legs.
Just a normal street walking down Haight
As an international student, you get the opportunity to live and breathe like a local and still be a tourist too! Like many others have already said, GET OUT AND EXPLORE!
See the rest of California, meet the locals and mingle with other backpackers.
But back to reality:
Being at San Francisco State University in some respects is like being at UTS-there’s a commute to get there if you don’t live on campus and people are always rushing around, trying to get to the next class. But there are lush green lawns here to lounge on and places to grab a burrito for lunch. We have Ike’s Sandwiches- if you don’t know how great this is, watch the SF episode of Man vs Food. Grabbing a healthy meal on campus is cheaper here than what you’ll pay back home and the portions are generally more than fair.
So when you get here, open your mind and your eyes, gather the troops and get ready to all fall in love with Cali.