By Becky L, University of Missouri-Columbia, United States of America
With the first week of classes coming to an end, I decided now would be a good time to introduce myself and my Study Abroad University! My name is Becky and I’m a second year Biomedical Sciences student, studying for the semester at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Initially I was apprehensive about spending 5 months in the Midwest, but I’ve acclimatised very quickly, mainly thanks to the amazing friends that I have met!
My Study Abroad journey didn’t have the smoothest start; coming down with food poisoning on my first day wasn’t exactly in the plan, but within a few days I had moved into my dorm and started to settle in. In the US it’s more common to share a room, which is exactly what I’m doing. I can’t say I was thrilled about this in the beginning, but now that I’m here I’m so glad I’m back in halls! It’s made it really easy to make friends and settle back into university life, particularly when you’re so far from home and getting used to a new culture (culture shock is a real thing, even coming to the US!).
In the week before classes started, Mizzou (the universities nickname) put on an amazing selection of events for Welcome Week, ranging from some traditions that happen every year, like First Roar, and some more casual, social events, like the International Field Day. If I were to talk about every event I attended in Welcome Week I’d be writing for hours, so I’ve put some pictures in to set the scene! First Roar was probably my favourite and most memorable event of Welcome Week, potentially because of the sheer Americanness of it! The premise is that all the new Freshmen head to the football (American football, not real football!) field and learn some of the chants, listen to some speakers and the marching band, and watch the amazing cheerleaders and dance team. I was speechless for the start of the event; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! First Roar will definitely not be something that I forget, for all the right reasons.
In terms of classes, I am taking 4 this semester. Having now had the first session of each class, I can well and truly say that I am going to enjoy this semester! Although the range of courses at Mizzou wasn’t necessarily perfectly matched to those in Manchester, there were still more than enough options for me to take, including lots of classes that simply don’t exist in Manchester. Every class is slightly different in its teaching methods and size, but this is part of what makes it exciting. As second year students in Manchester we take Junior level (3rd year) classes. Again, this was something that I was unsure about, as I thought they might be too challenging, but that is completely wrong! The US vs UK education systems do not perfectly line up, so taking these higher-level courses works well. My biggest class is about 25 people, and the smallest is only about 8 people, but some Juniors have large lectures of about 200 people, so it’s completely dependent on your classes.
So far, my experience has been really enjoyable. There is so much to look forward to over the semester and I can already tell I’m going to be gutted when I come home!