Kate W., Bachelor of Creative Industries/Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
University of Florida, United States (Semester 1, 2017)
Exchange was the best thing I have ever done. I can’t advocate for any experience more than a university exchange for both personal and educational reasons. I travelled to the University of Florida in Gainesville, the land of the Gators. It is a small university town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by swampy, but beautiful landscape.
Life on campus was incredible. Everyone that goes to UF either lives on, or within 5 minutes of campus which leads to an incredibly immersive environment. Game days especially, where the university is the hub for all things gator. There are barbeques and cornhole (I still don’t know what this is) all over the university with people dawned in blue and orange screaming.
I lived in the international dorm at UF which was a mix of international and American students. This was such a great place to live as I was right in the middle of campus with other international students looking to experience the same things as I was. We were able to travel together to Miami and New Orleans and experience university life together like football and basketball games every Saturday.
At the dorm we had the option of a meal plan or we could cook for ourselves in our floor kitchen. I chose to cook for myself which led to many amazing nights chatting and cooking with the other people on my floor.
I found the academics at UF a very different experience to QUT. While the work wasn’t as challenging, there was a lot more of it. I had weekly assignment and projects that were a lot more hands on. It lead me to change my study habits for the better to accommodate a bigger work load as well as making sure I engaged myself in as many social and travel activities at the same time.
One of the highlights of my trip was travelling to New Orleans. I took an 11 hour bus ride from Gainesville, Florida to New Orleans, Louisiana with another international student and the music, history and culture in New Orleans was unlike anywhere I have ever been.
After the weekend in New Orleans I travelled to Boca Raton in Florida for thanksgiving with an American friend as his home. It was awesome to experience a traditional American thanksgiving as we don’t have anything like it at home.
I would recommend exchange and the University of Florida to anyone considering it. UF is an immersive environment with so much happening both academically and socially. I have learnt so much about myself and met amazing people along the way who I hope will remain lifelong friends. Go Gators!