The Lone Star State

On the 5th of January I stood in Sydney airport quickly saying goodbye to my family as to avoid anymore-unnecessary tears before I walked through the tunnel to jet off on my exchange adventure. After a year of planning everything down to the final detail it is crazy to think I am over half way through my semester exchange in the Lone Star State. Yes TEXAS. I would be lying if I told you the majority of people I told weren’t shocked with my destination of choice all posing the question “why Texas?” And my answer is not because as they say “everything is bigger and better in Texas”. Continue reading “The Lone Star State”

Beautiful Boone

After spending a week in San Fransisco – A truly awesome city, I arrived in Charlotte NC. There were students waiting to pick me up even though my flight had been delayed by hours and take me back to a hotel where we would spend the night. When I woke up in the morning I was surprised to find 100+ exchange students from all over the world slowly filling the breakfast room in the hotel. Continue reading “Beautiful Boone”

Southwestern University: The littlest place, in the biggest state.

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. Continue reading “Southwestern University: The littlest place, in the biggest state.”

Miami University – Not the Miami you’re thinking of

To celebrate my 52nd day in America, I decided I would quickly write a blog post about my experiences so far. So as the title goes, I am currently studying at Miami University located in Ohio, NOT University of Miami, Florida. It’s a long story, so I recommend you googling it. I will be honest and say this school was placed on my preference list because it was ranked as one of the top party schools in America, (#19 on the Princeton Review list) which was my sole purpose of studying in the States.

So Ohio is pretty much cold all the damn time. Arriving here on my first day, it was -14 degrees celsius, and I nearly froze to death. Miami University, located in Oxford, Ohio is about 2 hours away from Columbus, Ohio. It’s basically a small college town where the majority of the population is made up students. As you would picture a small, college town, everything is accessible by foot which is extremely convenient. All the bars and restaurants uptown are a 10 minute walk away, while classes on campus are a 10 minute walk the other way. There is always a reason to drink every night except on Sundays because most bars are closed then, but even so, no one wants to drink 7 days a week. The party scene here is definitely a lot more fun (and cheaper) than it is in Sydney. Obviously with local bars come specials, happy hour, etc. The Greek life here is also quite big (or it just has a heavy presence) and I have so far experienced a few frat parties and normal house parties, just by putting myself out there and befriending the local students.

I live in a sorority dorm (this college is a bit weird because they force the sorority girls to live in dorms rather than allow them to have houses like the frats do) but it’s still a lot of fun, and majority of the girls are quite nice. The convenience of the location is my favorite thing about the dorms though.

In saying all of this, I haven’t JUST been partying. Even though Oxford is in the middle of nowhere, I have done a few weekend trips to Columbus, Chicago and Indiana (where I went skiing for the first time ever)!

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Skiing at Perfect North Slopes in Indiana

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Chicago with my roommate!

Coming to such a small town, after living in Sydney was a slight adjustment, but I honestly love it. I love that you can walk everywhere, and how all your friends are just around the corner from you. I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by and wish I had applied to study for the whole year rather than just 1 semester. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and everyday I am here I try to make the most of it because I know it’ll end very soon.

In 2 weeks we have Spring Break to which I will be soaking up the sun in Miami, Florida (I really need it- I am so pasty right now), and 2 weeks after that I will be back in California for COACHELLA!!!

If you’re considering going on exchange, don’t even think twice! Best decision I’ve ever made!!!

– Karen Nguyen 11747185

Exchange in the deep south, Louisiana State University

When I first arrived in Louisiana I a little shocked. I had been told that LSU was a huge college that was always bustling with life! I was hoping to arrive and jump right into class and meeting new people. However upon my arrival the campus was a ghost town which instilled some doubt that my exchange might not be what it’s all cracked up to be. Over the next week before class began, students slowly started to trickle in until there were more people on campus than I could ever imagine! I later realized this was because all the students had gone home to visit their families and no one wanted to return to school from their holidays until as late as possible.

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I am just under 4 months into my exchange here and am absolutely loving my time here. I have never been travelling before so everything is new and exciting. There are so many things to do and see that every weekend is packed full of adventure. Some of these adventures include hiking at Tunica Falls, competing in a wake boarding tournament in Munroe with the LSU wake boarding team, staying in a beach house in Bay St Louis Mississippi and attending Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans.

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American colleges are completely different to back home. Sports are a huge deal! Athletes are trained like Olympians with strict training schedules and drinking rules. Each game is shown on ESPN and the college has enormous sporting facilities. Colleges also have a cultural feel here. Not only is there societies like back home, they also have Sororities and Fraternities which has a multitude of events and traditions throughout the year.

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I highly recommended for anyone going on exchange to join as many societies and sporting teams as you can whilst on exchange; you never know who you will meet or where it could take you!

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Trent Pickup 11305570

Posted in US

USA Exchange Morgantown West Virginia

I am on exchange in Morgantown West Virginia!

I am absolutely loving it here, everyone has been very welcoming and I am living in the International house, so I have met people from all across the world. My close friends are from Denmark, Turkey and Canada.

We celebrated St Patricks day this week and it was the biggest day of the year here in Morgantown, with lots of celebrations throughout the whole day and night.

I am about to head off to Miami on Spring Break for 9 nights so it will be nice to have some sun and heat as it has been minus temperatures!IMG_9709 IMG_9690 IMG_9599

Posted in US

An Aussie Abroad: Party in the USA

It’s been two months since I first set foot on United States soil, and what a two months it has been. The beautiful San Diego provides much more than an amazing coastline and a buzzing community. The downtown and Gaslamp Quarter is home to a thriving nightlife and a litany of awesome events and concerts… I managed to see Snoop Dogg live at a venue for a piddly $10, the Australian equivalent would cost at least $80 if not more! Obviously, the beaches are stunning. Each one has a pier that stretches out at least 100m. And every beach has something particular about it; Pacific Beach is home to the bars and pubs that students frequent during the week, Mission Beach has a popular theme park for younger kids, Ocean Beach is very bohemian and offers a Byron Bay-feel to it, and La Jolla provides the high-end style of living where the streets are immaculate and the shores and caves are populated by very cute Sea Lions.

I am quite an outgoing person and so I didn’t have any trouble in meeting new people and making friends. The trick for anyone thinking of studying abroad and considers themselves shy is that because you’re foreign you are instantly more interesting. You have lived halfway around the world your entire life and your customs and way of life are usually very different. This is interesting. This makes people want to talk to YOU! However, if you never go out of your way and talk to people, you never give yourself the opportunity to be well received. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you owe it to yourself and all the others that would love to be in your shoes to make the most of every opportunity that is presented to you.

I regularly party at fraternities that are very exclusive because I managed to meet people who were in that frat and who loved the fact that I was Australian. They have been very accommodating and ensured I experienced the true college life. What that pertains to I will leave to your imagination. Once again, I wouldn’t have experienced these opportunities if I hadn’t gone out of my way to meet the locals. Beyond the partying, the friends I have made have shown me all of the best spots around San Diego as well as a lot of locals spots that tourists just don’t know about. The walks and hikes are beautiful and the destination is usually either an incredible beach that is surrounded by canyons and cliff faces that simply don’t form on the Australian coastline. For anybody travelling to San Diego in the future I highly recommend Torrey Pines, Potato Chip Rock, and Sunset Cliffs; all are absolutely breathtaking and well worth the hike.

We did a trip to LA last weekend which was incredible. We did everything from exploring the magnitude of wealth held within the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills, to driving through South-Central LA stopping to look around Compton and Watts Towers, which is considered to be the most dangerous projects in all of America. It was an eye opening experience to witness the level of poverty contained by these areas and yet less than 45 minutes away there is such excessive wealth that could be donated to these areas to truly improve the quality of life. We visited Venice Beach also, which was absolutely riveting. The people were so eccentric and outgoing that nothing seemed out of the ordinary. People would hear a song they liked in a store and immediately start dancing and singing in the street and nobody batted an eyelid. We watched street ball on the famous courts and saw bodybuilders in the muscle beach gym which is literally on the sand. At night we either went out in Venice or Hollywood and both nights were very large and great fun, we were a little worse for wear in the mornings but the adrenaline of being in LA kept us going. All in all it was an incredible trip.

We have Cabo for Spring Break in a couple of weeks and Coachella a couple of weeks after that so will definitely be providing an update after those but for now I have to leave and continue to live the good life. Until next time.

Kieran Glynn

Posted in US