So after a long summer break, I'm almost ready to begin my final (Fall) quarter at UC Davis. Davis is a smaller town in the Californian Central Valley, located about a half hour from Sacramento and a little over an hour from San Francisco. It's not what you would consider to be "typical" California by any means - no picturesque beaches, and the weather is definitely less than perfect (it seemed to go from rainy days to 35 degree heat in a matter of weeks!) - but over the last nine months of my exchange I've come to really love it here.
The summer break in Davis has been INCREDIBLY hot. When I arrived in winter to cloudy skies, I didn't believe anyone that told me I'd be wishing for the rain in a few months time. A lesson in listening to local knowledge! Admittedly, I haven't spent a whole lot of time in Davis over the summer - I made a short trip back to Australia and a couple of road trips with friends down to lovely Southern California (or "So-Cal" as it's known by the locals). As much as I love Davis, it was a relief to not have to spend the entire summer here since after the spring quarter ended many students left for their home towns or for a summer internship. Since Davis is very much a college town, this left it very, very, very empty (Apparently the population of Davis almost halves over summer break - from about 60 000 people to only about 30 000!). Now, as summer break draws to a close, I'm watching everyone slowly return for the new school year.
In many ways, the final quarter of my exchange feels almost like I'm starting all over again. Fall is the beginning of the American academic year, so I've been watching the new freshmen (first years) move into the campus dormitories, and I've even just finished moving apartments myself (most leases in Davis end on August 31 to coincide with the academic year). New school year, new room mates - and another new batch of exchange students. The end of spring quarter saw many of the northern hemisphere exchange students leave Davis for their respective homes, which for me was quite a sad experience since we'd formed a pretty tight-knit group. We had all bonded over being away from home, the things we missed and the things we were dreading going back to! Nonetheless I'm excited for this quarter, though I'm still in disbelief as to how quickly the year so far has been.
Another post to come on classes here when I start back in two weeks, this break has been so long I've almost forgotten what they're like!