Whilst most in the Marlborough family were enjoying a well-deserved rest after a long first half of the Michaelmas term, 39 students and 4 members of Common Room made their way to the West Coast of the United States to visit a few Universities and soak up the sights of California.
Despite Typhoon Haima setting the group back by about 9 hours, we managed to get to San Francisco in time to get some rest on the first night before the full programme of 8 days, 9 nights could begin. Staying in downtown San Fran was eye opening for many, and the local diner next door quickly became a frequent hangout in the mornings before the activities began. We had tours of both Stanford University as well as UC Berkeley – both known for their excellent academic prowess as well as their stunning architecture. We visited Stanford on a Sunday so managed to get a behind the scenes tour of the campus whereas at UCB we had a student-led tour in the middle of a working day. In addition to the college visits we managed to find time to see the sights of San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and the historic cable car system). We also had a half-day tour of Alcatraz. Another day we ventured into the Silicon Valley where we rode around on ‘Google Bikes’ at GooglePlex, the Google HQ, we stopped outside of the famous Facebook Like sign and we had a very interesting stop at the Computer History museum.
Another highlight of San Fran was the visit to SF Giants Baseball stadium. We were all treated to a behind the scene tour of the stadium and a talk by recent graduates in the legal and enterprise team about their role in this massive franchise. Some pupils also managed to meet Golden State Warriors Basketball legend, Steph Curry, who was promoting his new brand of shoes!
After four nights we moved onto Yosemite National Park for a half-day guided tour with two expert park rangers. We were stunned at the awesome beauty of the place and the incredible Autumnal colours. One night was spent in an American-style motel in a place called Tulare before making our way to Santa Monica on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
University tours here included the University of Southern California (USC) and UCLA. At the former we had a student-led tour and the campus was a hubbub of excitement as a crucial American football game was being prepared for. At UCLA we were lucky enough to have a student-led tour and also a private talk by the Head of International Admissions, Connie Wu. She gave a very informative presentation about how to make your application to university as competitive as possible and our pupils asked lots of interesting questions. In addition to these tours we managed to find time to visit the Hollywood walk of fame, get an exclusive tour of the Warner Brothers studios, see the Anaheim Ducks play ice hockey as well as spend a full day enjoying the rollercoasters and rides at Universal Studios.
One of the things that sets Marlborough College Malaysia apart from many international schools in the region is that we run our own ‘in-house’ university visits. Many other schools rely on sending their pupils with private providers but we manage to incorporate this into what we offer as a College. Without doubt, the pupils had a superb time, learnt lots and enjoyed all that California had to offer. I’d like to thank my three colleagues for accompanying me on the trip and also Mr McNaught for being an excellent ‘back at base’ contact.
Head of University Guidance