UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


What's it like to be a student at Stanford?

2 November 2016

This summer, I was fortunate enough to travel across the Atlantic, where Stanford University hosted me for the duration of an eight-week curriculum, in the subject of Psychology. Located in northern California, the campus itself was (and I imagine, still is) nothing short of paradisiacal. Such was the quantity of university-owned facilities that it was very difficult to know where exactly the institution ended and where the wider city of Palo Alto began. Even better than Stanford’s gorgeous estate however, were the nearby gems: San Francisco and Santa Cruz, which I had the pleasure of visiting when I wasn’t in class or inundated with coursework. In San Francisco, I crossed the golden gate bridge which constituted one of the highlights of my life. In Santa Cruz, I spent too much time on the beach and stupidly burnt my back, which by no means constituted one of the highlights of my life.
Without doubt, my favourite moment of the entire Stanford experience was observing the site where the Stanford Prison Experiment took place in 1971. Even 45 years later, the basement corridor of Jordan Hall still possesses an eerie atmosphere. Along that hallway, time has seemingly been suspended in those six infamous days, when the situational nature of evil became frighteningly apparent to researchers of the mind. If you ever get a chance to see this psychological landmark for yourself, I would certainly recommend making the trip.
The summer before I started studying in London, I spent much of my time at home, unoccupied. My nascent motivation then to discover the world overseas, I think says a lot about UCL’s ability to broaden horizons and open minds, so thank you UCL and thank you also to Stanford for its fantastic hospitality.

- Matt Smith, BA Linguistics Year 2