Blog hiatus OVER. YEAR ABROAD TAKING SHAPE!

So, it’s been a fair while since I last posted to my blog, but I thought it was about time to get my butt into gear and write something. It’s essay and exam season, and I’ve always thought that a little creative writing helps you let off steam, whilst also improving your fluidity for exams and literary capacity. Or. You could just say I’m absolutely fed up with researching religion within the Civil rights Movement for my last assessed essay, and I HAVE to get away from it… Both are true, if I’m honest.

These last few weeks have been very busy, but finally there is something to get excited about… progress with my year abroad!! Over the Easter holidays I received confirmation that I would be attending the University of California Santa Barbara campus, my top choice. Moreover, the BOTH universities have actually made contact with me and given me SOME idea of the next steps. HALLELUJAH PRAISE BE. Sorry… don’t know what came over me there… must be that damned essay.

Anyway. The process is, unsurprisingly, complex. Here’s the sum of my to-do list, outside of all the academic work I have to do at the moment:

  1. Sort out student finance, and HOPEFULLY a travel grant
  2. Fill in more forms than a US visa application… oh, wait a second…
  3. Book in for a meeting in the American embassy to finalise a student visa.
  4. Book flights
  5. Apply for accommodation
  6. Sort out medical insurance
  7. Speak to my bank and mobile phone provider to sort out those essentials for next year.

It’s stressing me out just listing them. But sometimes it’s good to have the priorities set out in front of you, makes them more real and organises them a bit more, rather than having them ping around inside your head. I’m a big fan of lists. Obsessively so.

Nevertheless, not all is doom and gloom.

Getting to this stage of the game is exciting. I’m just that little bit closer to actually being in the beautiful Santa Barbara for A WHOLE YEAR (almost).Somewhat typically, this excitement got me looking around other blogs, youtube videos and photographs. I wanted to get a better idea of where I’d be staying. I was not disappointed.

I feel I should mention who I’ll be going with from Warwick too, as it’s potentially quite an important factor in the year. Fortunately, a friend of mine called Giles from my course is also going to UCSB. Having someone else I know, and more importantly, get on with, is brilliant. We’ve played football together, gotten WAY too drunk together (incredibly drunk, past-the-point-of-being-funny drunk, actually) and I’m pleased he’ll be along for the ride. Essentially, he’ll want to make the most of it as much as I will, which is great by all accounts.

Anyway, the beaches and scenery look absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Take a look at the campus for example (my mates must be fed up of me sharing this photo, but look at it for chrissakes, just look at it!)

Source: http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~dsl/sites/default/files/ucsb.jpg

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a fitness freak. More gym-based than anything else, but I do enjoy jogging and cycling, for enjoyment more than sweat-inducing mega marathons. So I can’t wait to head out and explore the surrounding area, particularly with scenery like this:

Source: http://www.sbhostel.com/images/ButterflyBeach_01_600x450.jpg

Or this…

Source: http://www.lopsidedfroggy.com/santa_barbara/santa_barbara_city_college_08.jpg

I’m so glad I’ll be living in such a beautiful setting. But of course, I’ll be there to study….

….or:

I’ll be perfectly frank with you here… I’m COMPLETELY PSYCHED for the party life at UCSB. The beach, the booze, the music, the whole prospect of those proper All-American parties makes me a little bit dizzy if I’m honest. Giles and I will be like young children on Christmas eve… pretty much constantly… if the night-life lives up to anything half as good as suggested in that video. And as the Beach Boys reliably inform me, the California girls are the cutest in the world. So no complaints there.

So as far as things go at the moment, I’m torn between impending essays and exams… and what looks set to be an incredible few months. If anything, the whole year abroad thing is becoming more and more like the light at the end of the tunnel for me. In fact… I think I might just head back to that essay of mine…

Finally. There is a cure for procrastination!