The University of Texas at Austin. The Longhorns. HOOK ‘EM.
My time at UT has been an unreal experience and something that I could not recommend more to anyone. It is a college town with 50,000 students that all live in the same area and you could only imagine how different that is to Sydney. The cultural differences are vast, with everyone having their own pair of cowboy boots that they wear regularly. I have never seen such an unhealthy diet with almost everything being deep fried or Mexican. To put it in perspective I have had to buy a new set of clothes..
There is much to do during the day here when you are not in class. The facilities are second to none with 3 gyms, an indoor running track, a lap pool, a leisure pool and numerous basketball and tennis courts. If you need to study 20 different libraries exist. Any number of things can be done outside the university, such as going for a swim or jumping on a paddle-board at Barton Springs, or going to the shooting range to get a bit of Texan into you. Sports at UT are also very large and we have watched the basketball, baseball and tennis teams, as well as a football scrimmage practice as games are from August to November. Below is the ‘hook ’em’ hand pose that is quintessential for any picture taken at a sporting event, in this case the basketball.
Taking classes is extremely enjoyable and a great experience here. Texans are truly the most easy going people on Earth and absolutely love Australians – sometimes just wanting to hear us speak as they have never heard one.
The nightlife of downtown Austin is unlike any other place I have been. The drinks are cheap, the girls are cute, and it is wall to wall with 90% students. Although the drinking age is 21 it seems everyone has a fake I.D. and the bouncers are lenient so it is always busy. The main area everyone goes to is nicknamed ‘Dirty 6th’ and words do not do it justice. There are maybe 30 bars with drinks specials nightly and no more than $50 dollars needed for a big night.
We have been lucky enough to make friends with numerous Americans and find our way into frat parties almost every weekend. These are unlike anything you will ever experience back home and always have a theme, such as western, rave, disco etc. They are somewhat similar to the parties that you see in the movies but maybe even rowdier. If nightlife is a big thing for you in choosing an exchange university, then I can promise you UT will not let you down.
I have stayed mostly in Austin, but have also done weekend trips to Chicago, New York and Miami. They are all amazing cities and should be on the itinerary of anyone coming to America. That is the great thing about America – no city is too far away.
I wish this semester would never end!!!
Tristan Cooper – University of Texas at Austin