The College Park Run-Down

By Millie Elwell, University of Maryland College Park, USA

Here is a quick rundown of tips and tricks for surviving at UMD!

Groceries: If you don’t have a dining plan (or only have half a plan), the Trader Joes is your best local option. It’s a little more expensive than other places, but honestly you’ll appreciate the difference. American food was a little hard to digest (pun intended…) and eating higher quality food makes such a difference.

Household stuff: UMD’s International Office will take you to Ikea as part of orientation. Don’t worry about getting everything there, as there’s a big Target only a bus ride away and it’s a lot cheaper. Cheekily, the Office fails to mention that lots of stuff gets donated to UMD by international students (i.e., plates, glasses, pans…) which is basically brand new so do keep an eye out for that – it’s free!!

Making friends: Go to the international student events at the beginning to meet exchanges, join some societies, and most of all use the British accent to your advantage! Americans love it, and it’s a great way to start a conversation with a classmate.

Going into DC: I actually didn’t go into DC as much as I thought I would, but everytime I did, I forgot how easy it was. The metro is easy to navigate, the museums are free, and Georgetown is great for shopping. Personally though, I preferred the College Park nightlife, so bear that in mind (DC was not quite my vibe and quite expensive). DC was always more fun for me in the daytime and for dinner. I’d recommend Barcelona Wine Bar, where my friends and I had our goodbye dinner together a few weeks ago.

Facilities: UMD has great facilities and it’s all free (well, after you pay a year long activities fee). But there’s 2 indoor pools, 2 gyms, a sauna, and an outdoor lido!! Take advantage. There’s even spin classes, yoga classes, and boxing classes.

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