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‘But I don’t wanna come home!’

If you’re reading this and contemplating going on exchange, don’t think – just do it! You will not regret it. These past 5 months have been without a doubt the best months of my life. College life is like nothing you can imagine, it’s literally the closest thing to heaven. The lifestyle is something that all Australian students will be envious of for the rest of their schooling lives. University is extremely different to college in that there is a far bigger social scene in the US and that the learning environment learning is way more personal and a lot easier. A typical student’s schedule consists of waking up, go to class for 2 hours or so, go to the gym (the gym is unbelievable), grab dinner, do a little bit of homework and then head out clubbing/partying for the night. North Carolina (and the USA in general) is extremely cheap compared to back home. Beer for example is $1 in the clubs/bars and on Thursday nights they’re only 5c each. I know, heaven right. Food is also far cheaper, and everything on campus is usually already paid for, so you don’t spend much money at all.

Originally I was pretty apprehensive and nervous about coming to a school like East Carolina University (ECU) and not knowing a soul, but that all quickly disappears the second you open your mouth and someone finds out that you’re Australian. Americans really love Aussies! Everyone here is so friendly and hospitable that you’ll have friends within the first couple of minutes of being here. I’m also very lucky that I got an awesome room-mate who’s from Morocco (also on exchange) who’s one of my best mates here and we get on really well.

College is honestly like the movies makes it out to be, but better. Nights out are amazing and like nothing we have back in Sydney. There is always something going on and it’s all situated really, really close together and that’s what kind of makes a college town so amazing and so special. It’s literally a small city/suburb for just kids. 30,000 people living within a kilometer of each other. Every house around college is someone from your school, every bar is full of students from ECU. It really is an amazing environment and culture and something i’ll remember and cherish for life. Nightlife consists of either downtown or house parties. Both are within a couple of hundred meters of each other so you often go to a house party first, then end up down town. It’s all like you imagine like red cups, frat parties, keg stands, beer, beer pong, etc. Pool party season has just started since the weather is now 30 degrees every day. These parties are surreal and like nothing you can imagine. They happen everyday after class and go on into the night.

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Classes are very different to back home. It isn’t lecture styles, rather small interpersonal classes. I prefer this style of teaching as it is a more friendly atmosphere and you get to know your peers and teacher far more intimately. The difficulty of work is also a lot easier in my opinion and the workload is very manageable. I have great teachers and have a great relationship with all my classmates.

Living in the dorms is great because you get the real college experience, however, I could only do it for one semester as the rooms are pretty small and the food at the dining hall isn’t the greatest. With this said, its still been the best decision to live on campus because its such an easy way to meet friends and there is always something going on and you’re never bored.

I’d definitely recommend travelling before college or at least coming a few days in order to help you get settled and used to the American way of life. I arrived 3 weeks prior to college and traveled to Las Vegas for a week, then to Chicago and then Miami for 10 days.

I know everyone says this, but I really can’t believe how quickly the semester has gone! Time has flown by and there are only 3 more weeks left until the semester is over. I am  going to miss this place so much and am so privileged and honoured to have been given this opportunity. The memories I have had and the friends I have made is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything the world.

Hope you enjoyed reading!
Josh Grunfeld
East Carolina University (ECU)

P.S. I’m sorry my blog is a day late. I completley forgot about the difference of time zones!

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