I’ve been in San Diego for six weeks now and I still constantly pinch myself to see if this is all real. How can this place be so perfect and I’m here for a whole year.

This weekend a few friends and I headed down to Los Angeles, and what a weekend it was. We spent the first night walking down Hollywood Blvd. As I study Television and Film and aim to be a success in the industry, this was a very surreal moment.

Billie-5Seeing the Walk of Fame and the stars in the floor was a sweet reminder that anything is possible. No dream is too big—aim for the stars and you will get there. Every single name on the floor, whether I recognized them or not, was a reminder that everyone starts somewhere. Majority of the people’s names there started from the bottom and are where they are now through hard work and success. Whether they are alive or dead, their legacy will continue or live on through generations. That’s something that I aim towards, creating a legacy for myself, really making a difference and achieving success. The journey will not be easy and it will not be quick, but I am ready to fight, ready to start my never-ending journey to success.

Billie-1Being the active person that I am, I couldn’t go to LA without going on a hike. Before coming to America, I would research lots of different trails that I could go on. Hiking and seeing the incredible views at the top was something I had been dreaming about before arriving here. So to my delight, on Saturday morning we went on a hike at Hollywood Hill. We didn’t do the Hollywood sign hike this time! We weren’t prepared for the Hollywood sign hike, as it is an 8-mile hike and we didn’t have nearly enough water. Instead we did a 3-mile uphill hike. Three miles doesn’t sound like a lot, but when it was completely uphill and in the blazing sun, it can be quite challenging.

As we got higher, the view became more and more spectacular, and when we reached the top, I was blown away. The view looked out on the whole of Los Angeles and I was in complete awe. I sat at the top and reflected on my life and how happy I feel to have been given this opportunity. It’s an opportunity that I worked hard for, but the real work starts now. I really am in a place where dreams come true, I’m ready to work and make sure that my dreams come true and more.

Billie-3We ended the trip with a visit to Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Again, this was such a surreal moment. These are places that I’ve only ever seen in music videos or pictures; to actually be there in the flesh felt dreamlike.

The weekend was truly an unforgettable one. I have only ever dreamed about visiting these places. Now having been there, I love it. It forever will remind me that making the choice to study abroad was the best decision I ever made. It’s something that has only benefited me and will continue to benefit me for the rest of my time here and in my life.

Studying abroad isn’t an easy thing to do. It tests you in so many ways. You are completely taken out of your comfort zone and experience life in a completely different way in a completely different culture. But that is the beauty of it—being taken out of your comfort zone and studying in a new county opens your mind to a more complex world.

Billie-2Since being here and experiencing a new education system, I have learned so much. By the time I go home, I know I will have such a higher, more complex level of knowledge than when I started. This knowledge isn’t just in education, but about the world and myself.

Everyday I see myself morph more and more into the person I have always wanted to be, the best version of myself there is. I’m happy, I’m learning and I’m growing up all at the same time. In a world where everyone strives to be different, I’m being myself and I couldn’t be happier. Study abroad has allowed me to start living, to start learning and to start being myself. I can’t wait to see where this crazy ride takes me next.

Billie  x x x


Billie ForbesBillie Forbes is an exchange student from the University of Hertfordshire in England. The film, television and new media major is studying at San Diego State University this fall.

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