I didn’t know what to expect. You hear about it from Hollywood, people tell stories about it, but you just don’t know it until you’ve experienced it. Texas, the home of BBQ, Chuck Norris, and Cowboys. As well as, Texas, the home of Beyoncé, great Mexican food and the weirdest place in America, Austin.
Southwestern University is about a 30mins drive (and I mean only driving) from Downtown Austin. It is a part of the ISEP program and to come here you must enroll with ISEP. The city is unbelievable, literally, you do not believe that it can exist, in Texas of all places! It’s the home of hipsters, live music (from three-day festivals to Saturday nights at any bar) and the best food trucks. It would be as if Byron and Melbourne had a child, but it was in the middle of outback Queensland. Georgetown (where Southwestern is) is the polar opposite. So what that means is I get the best of both worlds. When we want to go enjoy the nightlife and culture, we can drive over to Austin. When we want to stay and get that full American, college experience, we can.
College life itself here is exactly what you expect. People are crazy for their sports, everyone here is super friendly (students, professors, the catering people, frat guys). Just as an example, the first day I had breakfast here, I accidentally burnt the toast. My fault; didn’t understand the knob was turned the wrong way around. But, the catering staff and two students who I had never met before all came up to me to help with my mess. And that’s been my experience so far here at Southwestern.
The title says that this place is small. It’s not just the physical size of the campus, though, it’s everything. For one thing, there are NO lectures. Instead, we have a class with the professor, twice a week, and every class has between 20-25 people only. Everyone knows everyone here. So many people here, who I hadn’t met, have come up to me and said hey. Pretty soon people found out I was the guy from Australia and now most people know.
So yeah, you do miss some things when you’re on exchange, family, friends, public transportation (yep, even the bus) but if you’re lucky enough to come to a place like Southwestern University, it’s a lot easier. Plus, it’s summer here!
Marc-Daniel Sidarous, 12077564, Business