“Why Mizzou?” “How did you end up in Missouri?!?” I get these questions all the time. It seems that my fellow Mizzou students are astounded that I could have possibly chosen to come to Missouri, but I love it here and wouldn’t be anywhere else.
Deciding where to study abroad is a big deal, you are committing to living somewhere for a year and it was not a decision that I was going to take lightly. I did my research looking at the various universities, looking up the courses that I could take and basically seeing if it would be a good fit for me.
I knew that I was looking for a campus that had a lot of school spirt and Mizzou for sure has that! In the fall, almost every weekend is centred around American Football. The whole campus turns into a sea of black and gold and people set up tailgates wherever there is space. At tailgates Mizzou Alumni and student organisations will usually have a barbeque, music and outdoor games, it’s a way that people get hyped up before the game and is altogether an amazing experience.
Missouri is also right in the middle of the country, this may mean that it is not the easiest place to get to, but you have a lot of options to go on road trips, and I have managed to go on quite a few so far and have a couple more planned for later on in the semester. The geographical location of Missouri also gives it a unique culture. When you ask people about Missouri there is a strong divide of people who consider it to be The South or not. From what I have seen it is a blend of Southern and Midwestern cultures, with this being reflected in the food, the accent and many other small details. It is also a widely republican state, with strong roots in religion which is reflected on campus, although Columbia was one of the three areas in Missouri that voted Democrat in the Presidential election in Missouri.
Having grown up in a city and now studying at Manchester, I have never really had an experience of living in a small town and Columbia is an amazing college town. The Campus is beautiful and it is only a short walk downtown where there are a variety of small boutiques, bars and restaurants catering so well to students that I sometimes forget that there is a large population in Columbia who are not students. The campus is also very green, there are trees and grass areas all over campus, in fact there are 40000 plants across the campus in a unique botanical garden, and it is not unusual to see bunnies hopping around campus as you walk to class.
The flexibility of courses that I have been able to study has been incredible. I am a Geography student and the number of Geography courses at Mizzou is limited, but that has allowed me to pursue related subjects that I would not have been able to take at Manchester, which have helped me to shape my topic for my dissertation. I am so grateful that I have been given this fantastic opportunity to be here and am excited to see what this semester holds!