Kapileshwar - University of California (LA)

B Biomedical Science
Semester 1, 2019
Imagine watching the sunset at Santa Monica Pier after any ordinary day at university, what more could you ask for?

Academic experience

I mainly studied courses outside of my field, which was exciting. I studied philosophy, history, and anthropology to name a few. I also did biology based courses. Challenges included learning to balance personal life and meeting new people and cooking for myself while adjusting to the new academic environment, but as usual, time and throwing oneself at as many opportunities helped overcome this problem. Enrolment was a little messy as sign-ons for the first quarter took place before I left for exchange so I was completely unaware, but once I made friends to help me things became clearer.

Personal experience

I gained long term contacts in California and all over other parts of the US too, which means people to meet up with and places to stay! I gained a lot of independence by doing this and I think I have reassured myself in knowing I can fend for myself in terms of food and planning.


I lived off campus, with 3 new housemates. It was great to force myself into cooking for myself and learning to become more independent in this way. I’d definitely recommend it to future students, though on campus living seemed great too. I didn’t receive assistance for this process.


LA was a very expensive place to live! Rent cost me 1130USD per month (about the average price), and I travelled quite a bit while there. Flights there and back cost about 1200USD in total, and I also flew to Vancouver for a bit and travelled around California too. I cooked most of my food, so costs were cut there. In total, I spent about 9000 USD on everything outside of flights there and back and rent. To be safe, I'd recommend bringing at least 16000 - 20000 USD for a 7 month exchange like I did.


The biggest challenge was probably learning to balance my home cooking, gym, uni commitments, and social life. Simply being forced to better ration my time over the two quarters was enough of an impetus to ensure that I got better at it, and I'm grateful I received the opportunity to sample this sort of independent living. Although I don't typically get too homesick, this trip did show me many of the luxuries of living at home with family, so hopefully I won't take that for granted in future!

Professional Development

I was able to take courses in neuroscience and animal behaviour during exchange from top professors in the field, and I really think this will help me approach medical issues I encounter in medicine with more lateral thinking. It seems the field is transitioning towards a more integrated style of problem solving in this way. This will really help my professional development. In terms of personal development, I'm glad to have received this experience of independent living, and it has assured me that I can pursue both social and academic pathways by myself without too much outside assistance.


After the study period had ended, I was lucky enough to get to go on a two week road trip to Yosemite and San Francisco with friends that I had made during my studies. I'd never before tried wild camping in places like those, and the views were really breathtaking!

Top tips

Don't be afraid to apply to universities which only take one or two students per campus, because if you do get in, you get the chance to start afresh and maximise your networking potential!