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Living in Oakland

This summer I took on an internship in Oakland, California at AIDS Project of the East Bay. Since I didn’t have any nearby relatives to stay with, I ended up subletting a room in a nice part of the city. Even though I am not financially independent, I’ve been able to at least have the illusion of independence in just about every other way: I’ve bought my own food and planned my meals, I’ve navigated public transportation throughout the area, I’ve done a lot of cleaning and maintenance around the apartment, and I’ve certainly done my fair share of exploring. On top of that, my two roommates have been out of town for the majority of my stay, so it feels like I’ve had a full three bedroom apartment to myself! For my internship, I mostly worked in an office but have had several opportunities to do direct outreach in the community. This is me in front of our mobile testing unit during an outreach event in Oakland.

My internship has been a great learning experience, but one of my favorite things about living in Oakland has been exploring the city and developing favorite hang-out spots. This is one of my top places to relax on my ride back from work.

Since I’m living on my own and able to make my own schedule, adventures can come out of nowhere. One day I ended up in Berkeley on a casual bike ride and saw a sign pointing to “Panoramic Way”, so I checked it out. It ended up being a huge day trip involving some extremely steep walk-your-bike inclines, some beautiful spots to rest in the shade, and a prize of a view at the end.

My absolute favorite spot in Oakland, however, happens to be a 15 minute walk from my apartment. The short trek gives me a view of the entire East Bay and more; if it’s a relatively clear day I can easily see San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

I spent a long time searching for internships this summer and am so glad things ended up the way they did (thank you CCPD website for helping me find the internship)! I now feel fearless about living on my own, and I can’t wait for another opportunity to come back to the area.

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About Alexandra Smith ʼ16

Alexandra is a Junior from Corvallis, Oregon who is currently studying abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France. She is a double major in French and International Studies with a minor in Economics. Sophomore year, Alexandra led a program for the Center for Civic Engagement at K and was a Co-President of the club Zookeepers. She loves dancing, painting, writing, eating, and travelling.