Having been at Cal Poly for four weeks I can safely say that doing the exchange from MIP was one of the best decision I have ever made! Cal Poly is a campus-based university based in San Luis Obispo (or “SLO” as it is more commonly known by the locals). SLO is a small town about 10 minutes inland from the west coast of California and is almost exactly half way between LA and San Francisco. The area is absolutely stunning with rolling hills to one side and beaches and the sea to the other.

The town of SLO itself is a lovely place with many popular shops and restaurants but with a very friendly, small town feel, with wide streets and I am yet to see a building with more than two or three floors! Despite being winter the average temperatures have been between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius, with sunshine and clear, bright blue skies almost every day! Everyone here is so friendly and SLO has actually been voted as one of the happiest places to live, with many people coming here to work or study and never wanting to leave! And I already understand why!

The university itself is very well respected and is particularly renowned for its engineering department and is also very strong on entrepreneurship. Many of its alumni work for the top tech companies in Silicon Valley or have become successful entrepreneurs in their own right.

The courses are in general quite challenging and you really need to keep up with things and do a lot of work outside of class, however this makes for a very stimulating environment and I have already learnt so much to date, not only in the classes themselves but also about the US, and particularly the Californian, culture and way of thinking.

Having finally adjusted to the new system and area, and settled in to my new, albeit temporary, home, it is time to start using the weekends to explore some more of this beautiful state. This weekend… Santa Barbara!


Holly Sloan, former MBA