Okay, so admittedly I seem to have taken an inadvertent hiatus from this blog, mainly due to a pile up of work and midterm exams and more recently, because of spending Spring Break in Arizona. Since the latter of these two things is certainly the most interesting, I’ll make that the focus of this post.
There is a large international student body here at Cal State University, Long Beach and thus when Spring Break comes along, the majority of those students (alongside a whole host of Americans) band together to head to the party resort of Lake Havasu for Spring Break.
Spring Break is the American equivalent of our Easter holidays, though with some slight differences. Firstly in America, this holiday is only a week long as opposed to our much longer month-long break at Leicester. Furthermore, since the English University system has us taking exams relatively soon after the Easter break finishes, many students are forced to spend most of their Easter break hard at work in preparation for these exams. From personal experience, myself and the majority of my friends back in England therefore tend to postpone any holiday plans for the Summer holidays, once exams and coursework assignments are thankfully out of the way.
However here in America, since exams are taken before the break and finals don’t take place until mid-May, Spring Break is seen as an opportunity for students to jump in their cars and take a road trip to the nearest party. Students at CSULB have a tradition of organising Spring Break trips to Lake Havasu (on the border between California and Arizona) and so that’s where I headed, expecting four days of MTV-esque American partying. It didn’t disappoint.
Over the last few days, I have witnessed the most stereotypically American scenes I could ever have imagined. Beer pong tournaments in hotel hallways, late-night beach bonfires, and EDM-infused pool parties. Now, I’m not saying this scene is completely my cup of tea – in fact, I much prefer a more European take to nightlife and music – but I felt that Spring Break was perhaps the quintessential American experience and therefore, it had to be…experienced.
This brings me back to what has transpired as an overarching theme of my experiences here, and consequently these blog posts – the difference between England (or even, in a broader sense, Europe) and America. Obviously students in all countries have a tendency to make the most of this period of indulgence and freedom that University enables. However, I feel as if those of us in England, and indeed across Europe, are somewhat more subtle about it. Whilst this may sound incongruous having been somewhat indoctrinated by the “lad culture” and “binge drinking” headlines that our tabloids throw at us on a weekly basis, in my opinion, this is simply not the case. Although England is arguably more European in name than in culture, as a continent Europe definitely seems somewhat more advanced in terms of nightlife – whether this is exhibited in the fashion, music or simply the atmosphere that their club nights seem to engender.
Obviously to an extent this is conjecture simply based on my own personal experiences and I in no way have the authority to condemn or instil a hierarchy among different cultures. Nevertheless, these are certainly my preferences and whilst I have enjoyed having a very American experience, I definitely can’t wait to get home for more of a European night out. For the time being however, I’m definitely making the most of honing my beer-pong skills.