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Living in the US

My exchange experience in the United States thus far has been incredibly unique and rewarding. I
live in San Francisco and commute to Santa Clara University two days a week on Tuesday and
Thursday. It’s not very common for people who attend Santa Clara to live this far from campus but
only having class two days a week allows a lot of flexibility. My train ride takes me two hours each
way but I enjoy studying on the train and the many things the city has to offer.
If you are planning to study in the US particularly California it’s important to understand the cost of
living when planning your trip. I was shocked to find just how high the cost of living in California
is. Due to the many start up’s and technology boom in California the cost of living in or around the
Silicon Valley is extremely expensive.
I arrived in San Francisco a week before classes started without a room or any idea of where I
would live I scoured Craigslist but was shocked to find the average rent for a room in a share house
in San Francisco or around Santa Clara University starts at around 1200 US and goes up to around
1600 US a month. A single apartment will cost you around 3000 US a month in San Francisco.
Eventually on my first day of class I was extremely lucky to find a cheap room in large share house
in San Francisco for 900 US and moved in that night.
The cost of living in San Francisco is also not cheap it averages out to be around the same price as
Australia for things like groceries and eating out. There is also no student discounts on transport.
Cost aside my experience has been truly unique, so far I’ve throughly enjoyed living in America it’s
been amazing in so many ways of ways. The classes I’ve taken and the facilities at Santa Clara are
world class. I major in communication so the classes I have been taking have been immersive and
hands on from shooting films to cultural photography class I’ve been constantly engaged and
challenged.
I’ve been in the US for around two months now and could not recommend exchange enough.
Everyone’s experience is uniquely different and rewarding in different ways. Exchange is a great
way to immerse yourself in place and cultural whilst having a routine and purpose that grounds you
but also gives you freedom. Shortly my spring quarter classes will be ending and I’ll be traveling
around America for the next month.
I would recommend studying at Santa Clara but factor into your budget the high cost of living. Also
I’d suggest not doing what I did and organising your accomodation before you arrive if possible.