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“The U”

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When I first arrived at the University of Miami I was a little anxious and apprehensive. However, these feelings were quickly sedated on Orientation Day. I met a lot of other international students, primarily from Australia, who were in exactly the same boat. Within the first few weeks, I was keen to tick a few stereotypical American experiences off the list, such as drinking from the famous red cups, attending a frat party and playing beer pong. I managed to do all of these things. I attended a Lacrosse party that seemed like it had been taken straight out of a film. There were people doing keg stands, jumping of the roof into the pool and playing beer pong. The party was unreal and exactly what I had hoped for. I also got invited to a frat party called “Fight Night”, where the brothers fought each other to demonstrate their strength and commitment to the fraternity. This was certainly an experience and confirmation of all of the American stereotypes.

As the semester has matured, I have grown to love the lifestyle at “The U”. The weather is fantastic and the classes are not too demanding. I was fortunate to watch the Hurricanes basketball team win the ACC and the ACC tournament. The game against Duke was definitely a highlight. We smashed them 90-63 and the students stormed the court to show their support.

Miami has also acted as a sound platform for travel. The first trip was extremely spontaneous. The decision to go was made over some dollar beers on a Wednesday night. The following day we hired a car, booked a hotel and were on our way to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras. This was a crazy experience. The parades were extremely elaborate and the nightlife was simply insane. The next trip was to Orlando to see the theme parks. We visited Wet n Wild, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Less alcohol was consumed on this trip; the focus was placed on conquering the various rollercoasters. A handful of us were even selected for Fear Factor Live whilst we were in Universal Studios. We had to hang 40 feet in the air, put our hands in eel tanks and attempt to catch squid with small buckets. It was a lot of fun.

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Next came Spring Break. We headed across the boarder to Cancun, Mexico. During the day we would wander down to the beach parties and indulge in a few beers. As the night approached, we would pick up our pregaming at the hotel bar and go to a few clubs along the strip. The nightlife was pretty crazy. We were fortunate enough to see Alesso and Tiesto play on two separate nights.

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I have also done a couple of weekend trips to the Everglades and the Bahamas. We took an airboat ride through the Everglades like the “Swamp People” and held an alligator. The Bahamas was very different to this. In the Bahamas we spent most of our time on the beach and snorkelling the Rainbow Reef. The water was crystal clear and the various fish were extremely colourful.

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I have many more weekend trips planned and would strongly recommend “The U” to anyone. It is peppered with culture and allows you to travel to many wonderful locations.

Joel Wakefield

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