Hello! We are Group 3 in the Stanford IHP!
Introducing to you our team:
De Rong (group leader)
The first week has been a busy and tiring week, having to adapt to the environment and finding our way around. When we first moved in to Stanford, we were greeted by the beautiful Stanford architecture and environment. There were even cheerleaders from Stanford welcoming us into the campus!
Stunning Architecture in the Oval
Our group stayed in Branner Hall. The IHP students who stayed with us are generally very friendly over here. A passionate “Hello!” and a bright smile is what you will expect to see when you walk past people. The “house guardians” are very helpful and caring, holding events to bond the community and attending to our needs.
Roble Gym – where we first checked in
Branner Hall Lounge
Trouble getting around
The first 3 days were more administrative in the sense that we had to open a bank account, buy things for our rooms (and a bicycle) and a SIM card from T-mobile, and go for our lessons.
After fumbling about for the first 3 days, we finally rented a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and got to practice with it.
Our group carrying groceries home from Walmart!
Classrooms are about 10-minutes walk away, but with our bicycles, the travel time is cut short to about 5 minutes. I took a Introduction to Cosmology course which is very interesting!
The food provided by Stanford was really fit for the king. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were buffet-style. I didn’t get to eat scrambled eggs, pasta and burgers everyday in Singapore but over here it’s different – you eat it everyday.
Dinner Course: Pasta Grande Foie Gras – no lah… its just pasta with fish and random stuff you took from the counter
San Francisco tour
Three of us, together with some friends from Singapore went on a day trip to San Francisco. We visited Pier 39, had clam chowder (USD $7.20 for large incl. tax) in one of the stores and In-N-Out Burger for lunch. Afterwards, we walked down the coast to enjoy the spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. At night, we had dinner at a diner. (Please tip the waiter at least 15%)
Pier 39 is a 4 km walk down the San Francisco Caltrain station!
Recharge with plain water
Our nice house guardians have even planned a trip to Alcatraz (but fastest fingers first). Unfortunately, not all of us managed to get in, but five of us went. I enjoyed the exhibits, especially the audio tour. After that we went to Pier 39 again to chow down another bowl of clam chowder.
Jail cells in Alcatraz Island
4 of us attended the Pride Parade. To prepare for this event, we even bought white shirts and paints from an art store called Michael’s beforehand. After spending 2 hours on the night before sketching, outlining and painting, we finally designed our shirts! Donning them on, we rented a car and drove to the parade. The traffic was crazy. One hour was the time needed to get to our parking lot.
The Pride Parade was really packed with people. On that day, thousands of people pulled down their masks to reveal who they really are. Passionate colours could be seen on the attendees’ faces and fashion. I do not know the level of societal acceptance with regards to the LGBTQIA+ people in the US before this, but it seems to me that all the chains were released on the Pride Parade and all the societal expectations exploded into spectacular expressions of love. I did not attend such events before (not Pink Dot either) but it was really fascinating to see expressions of love wafting through the air – people giving warm hugs to the public, couples dancing to music and enthusiastic cheering of the crowd when the parade was going on. I have seen how locals embraced sexuality, being proud of being a LGBT and yea, it was unforgettable.
Free mom and dad hugs are given to support LGBT
We finished the day by visiting Land’s End, a coast with naturally-occurring geological structures.
Yep that was the eventful week we had, and so far we have adapted to the new way of life over here. We will be going for a 5-day 4-night road trip soon around the Pacific Coastal Highway, so stay tuned for more updates 🙂