There are no words to express New York City! Everything about it is alive. My name is Matthew Tanaya, I arrived a week before I needed to start my semester at State University of New York at New Paltz (which is an hour and a half away from the city) which gave me a chance to scratch the outer layer of the big apple. I grew up in the city of Sydney but NYC takes the definition of ‘city’ to another level.
When I arrived in New Paltz, I was nervous as I was put in a bus with 50 other exchange student which 90% were from Turkey and already knew eachother. Luckily there was another guy on his own from Argentina and we spoke the whole bus ride there and untll this day is one of my best friends that I’ve made through the exchange. The other international students become your closest friends in this experience, now I have a place to stay all over the world!
The day I met my American roommate was the day I felt my real college experience started. I was anxious to meet the guy I would be living with in the same room for the next few months. His name is Joey, he’s a baseball player from long island. We bonded in the first 5 minutes and that first night he showed me the American party experience!! (Americans are crazzy)
I travel to New York City every weekend because I just can’t get enough. Theres a bus straight from New Paltz to Times Square which runs every half hour, so it is very convenient. I like to delve myself into the culture of New York. People are mean, crazy and dirty, but you get used to that. Broadway shows, sports games, jazz bars and comedy cellars will constantly amaze you. The FOOD!! The food in New York is a foodies dream. Theres this one burger, from a fast food restaurant that is exclusively in New York called ‘Shake Shack’. WOWWW! Best burger of my life! The sauce, the patty, the fries all scream America!
Classes are going great, the professors at this university is of a high standard. It was strange at first to realise that a 75 mark was not good and you were aiming for a 90 and above. This makes the exam a lot easier than back home but really tests if you understand all of the content. College life is one best experiences I’ve had so far, I’m sad we don’t have a similar structure back home. EVERYONE lives on campus, so there is something to do every night. The dining hall is the place where everyone hangs out, you see so many of your friends there, you may stay for 2-3 hours and wonder where the time went. Making friends has been so easy. Americans love Australians! I was prepared for some stupid questions like “can you see a kangaroo from your backyard?” or “Does everyone eat vegemite everyday?” but you get these on a daily basis.
I really miss home but I can’t get enough of New York. Everything is new and exciting! Going on exchange has been one of the best decisions of my life and we are only just past half way through. I’ve learn so much about myself (being completely independent will do this to you) while also exploring what I believe to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Matthew Tanaya – State University of New York at New Paltz – Exchange Student Autumn 2013