Student exchange Study Travel USA

Cramming in Columbia

Jemima – University of South Carolina – USA

Semester 2, 2022

Bachelor of Business

In the second semester of my second year of university, I was fortunate enough to travel to the United States to study at the University of South Carolina in the state’s capital, Columbia.



When I arrived in Columbia on August 7th, 2022, I was filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness about what was to come. Upon arrival, I was told that I would be staying at the Courtyard Marriot hotel for the first few weeks with 100 other exchange students from all over the world. This was a lavish experience, and I was able to get to know some of my fellow exchange students during my time there.

After a few weeks, I was assigned to live in South Quad, where I was sharing an apartment with four American freshman students, however I was placed in the bunk bed room with my roommate. At first, I was a little apprehensive about sharing a room, but I soon realised how fantastic the quads were and became great friends with my roommates.

Student Life

I was able to fully immerse myself in the unique American college experience, including the vibrant student life and cultural events. I made friends with other exchange students from Ireland, England, and Australia, who are now some of my closest friends. The highlight of my experience was attending USC’s football games during the fall semester, known as the football season. The games were nothing short of exciting, and I was so proud to be part of the proud USC Gamecocks student body. I also experienced the American college tradition of Greek life, which was a huge part of student life at USC. The fraternities hosted tailgate parties before every football game, which were lots of fun.

I was also able to use my electives while on exchange, studying subjects such as Principles of Retailing, Principles of Fashion Merchandising, Principles of Visual Communications, and Advertising & Brand Communications. I really enjoyed my classes as they were all very relevant to my future career aspirations and were taught in a laid-back, engaging environment. Through my classes, I was able to network with like-minded individuals and make new American friends, some of which I got to travel to North Carolina and Charleston with. I studied within the college of Hospitality, Retailing and Sport Management which provided me with some amazing opportunities including visiting the highly prestigious Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, for a behind-the-scenes look at the retail and merchandising operations behind the annual Masters Tournament. I also joined the National Retailing Federation, Fashion Board, and South Carolina Women’s Club Golf (SCWCG).


Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, feels like a college town, with the USC campus taking up much of the downtown area. Although there wasn’t a lot to do, my friends and I loved visiting the Soda City Markets on Main Street, Cantina 76 for Mexican food, and grocery shopping and Trader Joe’s. The South Carolinian summers were hot and sunny, similar to summers in Australia. On our weekends or days off, we would often make use of the Strom Health & Wellness Centre’s outdoor pool to beat the heat. The winters were cold, with some days reaching 1 degree, but the walk to class usually kept us warm.

My exchange experience was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I was sad to leave when the time came. I feel grateful to have made friends from all over the world and to have memories that will last a lifetime.

Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.

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