Get out of your Comfort Zone at Purdue

Wyatt W., Bachelor of Business
University of Purdue, USA (Semester 2, 2018)

I had the pleasure of attending Purdue University, a 50,000 student college in America’s Midwest, Indiana. After spending four months diving head first into the Purdue experience, I walk away from the experience with a grin on my face, knowing I had the time of my life.

Purdue is centered around a quiet farming town called West Lafayette. While there’s not a whole bunch to do in the city area, you learn to enjoy all the excitement the campus has to offer.

Purdue is a big 10 school, meaning the football games are a huge deal. We got to enjoy a few games in Purdue’s Ross Aid Stadium. A definite highlight was when Purdue beat Ohio State, ranked 3rd in America, which resulted in all the students storming the field.

The best part about exchange was making new friends. I decided to join the Purdue Water Polo team. I was instantly welcomed into a large community and made a few friends for life. We got to travel around the Midwest playing the other big 10 college teams.

Exchange is what you make of it. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, speaking to everyone, saying yes to mostly everything and taking everything in as it happens. It happens in a blink of an eye and when you leave you can’t help but shed a tear. My college experience will be something I look back on for the rest of my life.

Highlights from my exchange

Experiencing Southern charm at USC

Anna H, Bachelor of Journalism/Laws

University of South Carolina, USA (Semester 2, 2016)

Last semester I studied at the University of South Carolina in the United States. I could not recommend studying abroad more highly to students considering an exchange program.

I arrived in the state’s capital, Columbia, where the USC campus is situated. As soon as I stepped off the plane and was greeted with a Southern accent and smile, I knew I was going to fall in love with the city. The USC International Office had arranged for exchange students to be picked up by volunteer drivers who knew the city and campus. This was a great way to be introduced to Columbia, as my volunteer driver gave me a rundown of the city hotspots and was able to point me in the direction of my dorms so I wasn’t completely lost. Without this, move in day could have been a much more daunting experience with thousands of American students also moving into their dorms at the same time.

On campus at USC

The USC Columbia Campus is picturesque. As you walk in you can’t help but notice the huge Oak trees that line the iconic ‘Horseshoe’. I lived in Woodrow College which is a dormitory located just off the ‘Horseshoe’ and dates back to 1914. Woodrow has apartment-style configurations and houses both international and domestic students. I lived with two girls from Switzerland and Germany, who I now call two of my closest friends.

I had the opportunity to study subjects I wouldn’t normally take back home through my electives. These included American History, Feminist Theory, Introduction to Drawing and Criminal Law. Classes were different to QUT as attendance was compulsory and participation was strongly encouraged. The professors gave you a lot more opportunity to increase your final grade through things like ‘extra credit’ assignments.

Life in college was just like in the Hollywood movies. It was a constant stream of football games, bonfires, and sorority and fraternity parties. College football makes up a huge part of American culture. I was lucky enough to experience this because I studied in the Fall semester. The college football stadium holds 80,000 people and the spirit of USC students is second to none – making every home game an unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of my trip was definitely Thanksgiving. One of my American friends invited me to stay with him and his family at their farmhouse in West Virginia. They showed me true Southern hospitality – hosting a huge Thanksgiving dinner and not letting me lift a finger.

Experiencing an unforgettable American Thanksgiving

The hardest part of my study abroad semester was saying goodbye to all of the friends I made at USC. I have made not only lifelong American friends but also friends from all around the world. I take comfort in knowing they are all just a Facetime away, and that Columbia will still be waiting for me for when I save up enough funds to go back and visit.