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University of Mississippi, United States

After a year of detailed planning, filling out several applications, budgeting and stressing, I have finally made it to Oxford Mississippi, the home of The University of Mississippi, otherwise known as Ole Miss. About two weeks ago I flew into Memphis Tennessee and my future roommates picked me up from the airport, we then made the hour and a half commute into the town of Oxford. This gesture from my American roommates was my first taste of ‘Southern Hospitality’, it was a humbling experience. Oxford is a small town focused around one large thing; Ole Miss. It is extremely clear the second you drive into the town that every person has a passion for Ole Miss, not only the students and teachers but the townspeople too! The school year had not even started yet and I could see the school spirit was engrained in each and every person; just about every second car that drove past had a decorative Ole Miss number plate or sticker, most students were walking around in some form of Ole Miss apparel and every shop had some type of homage to the school inside. Seeing all of this lit a fire of excitement within me; for the year ahead and all the amazing experiences that would come with it.

During my first drive into Oxford I was taken on a speedy tour of the main sights of the town; first the famous Square, the hub of nightlife for Ole Miss, then onto the famous parts of campus including The Grove, which is well known for the tailgating that it houses during Football season and the ‘Walk of Champions’ arch. I am confident that all these sights will become more familiar to me during my year here! Last Monday we had our Orientation day in which my favourite segment was the ‘campus culture’ talk. This was to help acclimatise us to life at Ole Miss and teach us the traditions that we as students should help uphold. We learned the school saying which is ‘Hotty Totty’, according to the advisor it is not known where this saying came from, but it’s said as a form of greeting from one Ole Miss student/ supporter to another. Along with Hotty Totty we were introduced to our mascot the friendly  ‘Land Shark’, not to be confused with the scary Great White sharks we have at home!

For accommodation I chose to live in off campus housing to allow myself to be integrated with the American students, as opposed to living with international students on campus. Honestly my little community off campus reminds me of a resort; with amenities like a pool, gym and volleyball court, coupled with the humidity of Oxford, walking outside at night feels a little like being in Fiji! The townhouse I live in is almost brand new but came very empty, it was very overwhelming going to Walmart my first day in Oxford and trying to buy every little thing one needs to live. Coupled with the fact that Walmart was about the size of three Bunnings stores, I’m sure you can imagine how easy it was to get carried away in a store that literally sells anything you could ever need.

Classes have only just started this week so I haven’t experienced a great deal of learning in the US yet. However it was very surprising to me that in one of my classes the professor explained we don’t need to take the final exam of the class if we have achieved a mark we are happy with in our other assessments. This is a very foreign concept to me, I am eager to continue to discover the differences between tertiary education in the USA versus Australia!

Bianca Corallo
Bachelor of Management in Tourism
University of Mississippi
United States

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au

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