New York, New York; The Iconic Landmarks

By Eleanor, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

It’s no secret that one of the main reasons I chose Rutgers for my year abroad was due to its vicinity to one of the most famous cities in the world, compared to other destinations in the US offered by Manchester. I feel I made a great choice. My apartment at Rutgers was literally one minute’s walk from New Brunswick train station, perfect for someone like me who tends to run fashionably late. From here, New Jersey Transit trains run directly to New York Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan, taking between half an hour to 50 minutes. For the price of dinner and a cocktail ($28, around £22) I could get a return train to the city that never sleeps. Here’s my experiences at some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

Continue reading “New York, New York; The Iconic Landmarks”

Spring Break in New Orleans: my time in the “Big Easy”

By Eleanor, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

One thing I knew about the American college experience was the concept of “spring break”. While in the UK we have a break from university around Easter, US colleges have an earlier break period around early to mid-March. This is often an excuse to travel, relax, and party at destinations domestically and internationally. I had friends in the US travelling to Florida, California, and even abroad to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. For me, I had one place in mind; New Orleans, Louisiana.

Continue reading “Spring Break in New Orleans: my time in the “Big Easy””

Wait, I have to STUDY on my study abroad year? My guide to Rutgers’ University’s academic side

By Eleanor, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

While it may sometimes feel like one long holiday, you obviously go on a study abroad year to STUDY at your host university. Much like the other aspects of my stay in the US, there were things I preferred at Rutgers and things I preferred at Manchester.

Continue reading “Wait, I have to STUDY on my study abroad year? My guide to Rutgers’ University’s academic side”

An Ode to New Jersey Weather

By Eleanor, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

When people have asked me “How is America?” one thing I always mention is the weather, in typical Brit fashion. However, I feel justified in this as during my time studying abroad, I have braced all temperatures, and at a more leafy university, found a new appreciation for the outdoors.

Continue reading “An Ode to New Jersey Weather”

Trials and Tribulations of International Travel

By Eleanor, Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA)

As it tends to do, the Christmas holidays came and went in a flash, and it was time to return to New Jersey. But would we (and our belongings) make it there in one piece?

Continue reading “Trials and Tribulations of International Travel”

‘How was America?’

A brief reflection on my time abroad:

Studying abroad in America has taught me many things. It has taught me that no matter how many American TV shows you watch on Netflix; you will still get an insane shock at the difference between our two cultures. It has taught me that having an English accent can get you very many privileges in the US (even if you’re from Birmingham).  And it has taught me that Britain is a very, very tiny country.

golden gate

The thing that I will most take away from my time abroad is the friendships that I have made from people all across the globe; friendships which will hopefully last a lifetime. I now have plans to visit friends from Australia, somewhere I have always wanted to visit and am excited to embark on a new travelling adventure.

ski 2

I am not sure that studying abroad has changed me in the dramatic and cliché way that I thought it would. Upon my return to England it felt as if I had never left, I slipped back into British life with extreme ease, picked up my friendships where they had left off and started drinking tea again. America began to feel like a strange dream or a past life. However, I would say that my six months across the Atlantic has definitely noticeably improved my confidence. Being thrown into the deep end, completely alone has forced me to speak up more and to try not to hide behind other people– especially in classes were my participation counted towards 30% of my grade. I think it has also helped me to become better at dealing with stress – dislocating your elbow on the other side of the world with no mother to provide you with comfort and thousands of pounds worth of medical bills being thrown at you is very, very stressful. And, after 20 years of evading exercise, the fear of American food making me obese, finally forced me to join the gym. Aside from that though, I would say that I am still the same old Liv.

RUTGERS

I have been asked so many times over the months since my return, ‘How was America?’ and I always struggle to answer. The question is so weighted. How can I reduce six months of my life down to a single sentence answer.  How was America? I usually pause for a long moment and then just say ‘Weird’. I then normally follow this by stating that it was ‘an interesting life experience’ and then waffle on for about five minutes about how cool Texas was or how insane it is that the drinking age is 21, whilst the person who asked – and probably expected me to say something like ‘ it was good’ becomes increasingly bewildered by my random response. I don’t think that I have fully been able to process my time studying abroad yet. It would take me a month to properly answer that question. Maybe in a few years’ time when I have had the time to reflect properly on my experience, I will be able to categorise my feelings in a way that allows me to give a response to that question that doesn’t end up in a ten minute rant about the fact that their cheese tastes like plastic. However, until then, in order to evade me going into meltdown, I would advise people to ask me a more specific question than, ‘ How was America?’

cowgirls

‘It won’t happen to me’

Before leaving to go to America, the prospective exchange students were made to go to a meeting titled ‘it won’t happen to me’, where we had to sit through a PowerPoint of horrific incidences which previous exchange students had been involved in, e.g. being caught up in natural disasters or deported for underage drinking.  The aim of the PowerPoint was to encourage us students to be vigilant whilst on exchange and consequently, I completely ignored any advice that was given.  ‘Nothing like that is going to happen to me’, came my irritatingly annoying thoughts, ‘nothing like that ever happens to me’. When I saw the price of health insurance for one semester ($1200) I very nearly refused to get it, purely as a matter of principal. Thankfully though, I was eventually persuaded, and I cannot begin to articulate how thankful I am for that.

ski 1

Continue reading “‘It won’t happen to me’”