California dreamin’ -Catarina De Oliveira Grangeon Pereira

Catarina, QMUL English student, studying abroad at UCSB 2019/20

I feel super excited to have the opportunity to spend a year abroad at a top university in California, USA. I am an English major studying at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I took this year abroad as an opportunity to grow, to expand my horizons and see what else is out there, and to extend my network and contacts with people from different countries and cultures from mine. I love travelling, so being in California gives me the chance to explore other places where normally I wouldn’t go. As opposed to New York or Philadelphia, I chose California as my destination because it has an identity of its own. California is probably the most liberal state of all of the United States.

It is of course American, but during the short time I’ve been here, it has been enough to contemplate how many other cultures, especially latino, are embedded here. These other cultures are an integral part of the state of California. The Hispanic heritage in California is so strong that there are times when I don’t feel I am in America at all. You have a lot of the Hispanic and Mexican cultures concentrated in California and it is so interesting to meet people from these places, listen to their stories and perspectives of America. It feels so nice to be in a place that includes so many different cultures…it also helps that California in itself is so beautiful and sunny – it’s called the Golden State for a reason after all! It has a lot of National Parks (e.g. Yosemite and Joshua Tree) which I hope to visit during my time abroad, as well as cities such as LA and San Francisco.

Just a couple of months before my departure, I was invited by a friend to be a part of her blog. Feather Pen is a creative writing blog on fiction, poetry and lifestyle. Anyone can submit their own work for publication. Whether you are a story-teller or a poet, it doesn’t matter, there is always a spot for you at Feather Pen. Following my friend’s invitation, I decided to create SeaSalt Chronicles, a space where I can finally tell my story and how living abroad can often be daunting but so rewarding at the same time. I want to give my readers my perspective on how living abroad affects you as a person. If you are interested in reading more about living abroad in California, just go to http://featherpenblog.com/category/seasalt-chronicles. New entries will be posted on the 15th of every month – enjoy!

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