Accommodation Adjusting to Uni Clubs and societies Exchange Friends North Carolina United States

My exchange to North Carolina, USA

Serena – University of North Carolina – Wilmington

Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

I’m a fourth year double degree in Law and Business student. Reading philosophy has always been a hobby of mine. I therefore used my four Uni Wide electives to study Philosophy at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW).

The campus

I lived in ‘Seahawk Crossing’ which included four single bedrooms a kitchen, lounge room and two bathrooms. Seahawk Crossing cost slightly more ($3914 US) than the other option called ‘Suites’ which was dorm style living with shared bedrooms and communal bathrooms. I highly recommend apartment style living as in College you are constantly surrounded by people, so it’s nice to have one room that’s your own space. I was lucky because the roommate beside me (Savannah) and I became best friends in the first week.

Social life

The American College culture is absolutely amazing! UNCW is actually a small college so I was able to receive the college experience whilst feeling comfortable in an easy to navigate social network.

UNCW hosts an Involvement Carnival to sign up to all the social groups. Clubs, Societies, Frats and Sororities are huge in America. Joining Frats and Sororities is expensive ($600+ US per semester), I did not feel the need to join one because you can still easily socialise and be invited to their parties just by knowing people. Clubs are however essential to join! They keep your schedule busy and expand your social network. I tried a few clubs including; Plastic Ocean Project (POP), Photography Club, Gymnastics Club, Surf Club and the United Nations Association.

Food

I highly recommend purchasing a food plan. I did the math and worked out the ‘All Access 5’ food pass was the best value for me ($1,935 US). I know it’s seems like a lot of money however, time is money when you are overseas… the time I saved by not having to cook and shop was of incredible value to me.

The All Access food pass gives you unlimited access to the two dining halls on campus and five ‘Teal Meals’ each week plus $150 food dollars. The Teal Meals can be used at the retail locations on campus (Subway, Chick-fil-a, Dunkin’ Donuts, Greenspot etc). It’s also nice to always have the option to swipe into the dining hall and have dinner with friends. The food in the U.S is different, particularly the vegetables as they are always cooked in oil. Food is not something to be too worried about though as there is always plenty of healthy options at both dining halls (salad bars, pasta, fish meals, healthy sandwiches etc.).  Just be aware that there is plenty of tempting sugary food everywhere, such as the unlimited desert bar and ice cream, waffle and soft drink machines.

Food was only ever a 5 minute walk away, so I ate very well! I probably became the strongest I’ve ever been mentally and physically. I trained six days a week at the fantastic recreation centre (free for students). The Rec Centre had a huge gym and cardio area, multiple rooms for group classes, indoor lap pool, outdoor leisure pool, basketball court, running track and rock climbing wall.

Insurance

Ensure you have QUT Insurance, World Travel Protection and if possible, your own travel insurance. A Hurricane did occur whilst I was at UNCW and the campus was evacuated for one week. I traveled to a safer city called Charlotte and QUT’s World Travel Protection Insurance assisted me with accommodation.

School

Classes are similar to Highschool as it’s classroom style learning with no lectures. Instead of 1-2 large assignments/ one exam each subject has multiple smaller assessment pieces including graded homework tasks. For example, I had three exams and three written assignments for one subject.

Activities and events

UNCW has an amazing app called Corq (also available through WaveLink) which sets out all the events occurring on campus. Every Sunday I used to sit and add the events I wanted to attend to my calendar. I wasn’t joking when I said time was valuable! There was always something happening on campus so I was very busy.

To name a few random events for example – comedy nights, band nights, movies at the cinema on campus, arts & crafts, health workshops (meditation, yoga or learning about sleep). I met lifelong friends by joining clubs and attending these campus events. I also travelled with some of my college friends throughout the semester and after exchange had ended. So incredible!

Find out more about the University of North Carolina, Wilmington

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