Hi Manchester on the Road! I’m Jake, a second year student studying English Literature & American Studies. I’m spending my second semester studying English Literature and Political Science at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh.
Now that I’ve been at NCSU for a while I thought it’d be a good idea to do a blog post on my first impressions of the university and the city.
The first thing to overcome was the flights – I looked around for the cheapest option but that meant flying from Newcastle to London, London to Miami, and Miami to Raleigh – which took over 24 hours. I got to my dorm room at about 1am U.S. time and don’t think I’ve felt that tired before!
The weather on the first weekend I arrived was freezing – not something that the south is always used to! We were given snow warnings and on a trip to Walmart all of the bread and eggs had sold out. Apparently when there’s even a slight chance of snow in North Carolina people stock up for the winter. Luckily everything you need as a student is on campus, so even when it dropped to -12c it was bearable. We even managed to get a snow day on the first day of term!
One great thing about NCSU is the meal plans they offer. They can be quite expensive, but are much more practical than having to buy cutlery and cooking equipment, especially if you’re only here for one semester. You need a car to get to supermarkets in Raleigh, which makes buying food a little harder than nipping to Sainsbury’s in Fallowfield. There are per-week options of 10, 12 and 14 meals, per semester options of 130 or 180 meals, and of course unlimited meal plans. I got the 130 meals, simply because it was the cheapest. Also I plan on travelling some weekends so didn’t want to miss out on any meal swipes.
Most exchange students here live in Alexander Hall in the Global Village. You’re paired with an American roommate, and it’s one of the most social halls on campus. It also means there’s normally someone with a car, so trips are made a lot easier!
There’s a huge emphasis on college pride at NC State which takes a bit of getting used to. On the first day of classes you would see at least half of your classmates wearing NC State branded clothing to support the Wolfpack. Sporting events, such as the basketball and baseball, are not to be missed. NC State haven’t been in the best form recently – in our first game we got thumped by our rivals University of North Carolina and in the game I went to we lost to Georgia Tech. The games come thick and fast though, and tickets are free to students which means it’s a great time to chill out after classes.
Spring Break planning, even in January, is huge here too. To get the best deal on flights and accommodation you need to book early with so many students going! Our current plan is to fly out to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Hopefully this has covered most of the things you’ll experience settling in to NC State, but if you have any questions feel free to ask!