Harrison – San Jose State University, United States of America
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Get social with Harrison: @Harrisonwever
I had the best experience of a lifetime participating in the student exchange program with QUT.
Initially, filling out a stack of paperwork and revisiting the same study plan repetitively over the course of months, I felt that the experience may not be worth it. Thinking back, I could not be more grateful for pushing myself through.
As I arrived in San Jose, I was full of hope and excitement that the next months were going to bring great joy, travel and individual experiences and wow, I could not believe how accurate this thought was. By making so many incredible friendships almost instantaneously, I was able to travel throughout the west coast of America, to several beautiful locations including Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and LA.
Living on campus
Living on the campus was an experience in itself; it was just like how you’d envisage college life from the movies. Everyone had such strong college pride and would be seen wearing San Jose Spartans gear all across campus and even out in the wider public areas. The facilities on campus were brilliant, including a 6-level library and significant gym, which included three basketball courts and two recreational pools outside.
Accommodation wise, I believe I made the best choice staying in the I-house. This place was home to 20+ different cultures, really developing my depth of knowledge about different cultures, whilst setting up bases for me to travel to when I continue to explore abroad. Whilst also being a two-minute walk from the pub and a 7/11 just down the road.
Living in California
Living in California was relatively expensive and the conversion rate certainly did not help but it was still manageable. The town of San Jose itself is relatively small and everything around campus is a fifteen-minute walk or five-minute Lime ride away.
A highlight from my exchange experience by far was the relationships and bonds I formed with people who I now see as some of my best friends. These relationships are ones that will last a lifetime and plans have already been made to meet up with everyone. Over my time away, I made friends, fell in love with both people and the scenery around me and really took the time to soak it all in while it lasted.
Things I didn’t expect were the Americans inability to understand the Australian accent at times. Whilst I know we have brilliant sounding voices, many people did not understand what I was saying whilst others were in bewilderment of how good the accent was, there were real mixed interpretations of things I said and in one instance where I asked for ‘a bottle of water’ this was interpreted as something about a ‘quarter’.
My tip and advice is to DEFINITELY embark on student exchange, as I’ve repeatedly been saying, it was the best experience of my life and you will not regret going. I have managed to see some beautiful landscapes, meet some of the most amazing people and create memories that will truly last a lifetime.