The Friends – It’s clichéd, but on exchange you will encounter some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet. When you first get there, you won’t know anyone and you’ll be outside your comfort zone. But ultimately that’s the push you need to throw yourself into various events and activities, which will see you make lifelong friends.
The Food – Okay, so in general – campus food is nothing to write home about. You are probably not going to want to see a burger ever again after your stint abroad. But the off-campus eating options, particularly the off-campus-but-will-deliver options, are endless. Fancy a sandwich at four in the morning after at a night at the bars (see #9)? No problem. Hankering for some custom-made cookies and milk at two in the morning on a Tuesday? Done. Literally anything you want can and will be delivered to your dorm. And if you start feeling guilty about this late-night gluttony? Don’t stress – there’s a 24 hour gym in the basement of your dorm too.
The Sports – Nothing beats the roar of Assembly Hall and the passion felt by college sports fans supporting their school. There’s plenty of ways to get involved too, either in intramural or club sports. Do what I did and take advantage of that no-cut policy.
The Apparel – You can wear Uggs to class and be considered fashionable. Truth. You can also avoid ever answering the question “what school do you study at?” by choosing a selection of clothes/items emblazoned with the school name, heck, my dog even has an IU collar now.
The Schools – Adelaide University has set up a great array of partnerships with host universities all over the world, including the states. It’s a great opportunity to study at some prestigious universities. For example, whilst studying at IU I took a class at the Kinsey Institute.
Spring Break – Miami. South Padre. Cancun. Take your pick of trashy spring break destinations. If parties ain’t your thing, take advantage of the week off and travel, you’ve got 50 states, Canada and Mexico at your doorstep.
The Parties – Although I am still recovering from the fact that every American dance floor was filled with people competing for the accolade of “best impersonator of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke” (VMA edition), frat parties are next level. Good times will be had and then there is the convenience of “pledge” rides to get you there and home after (i.e. new frat members will drive you for free).
The Exams – With no showgrounds in sight, no assigned seating and no ID necessary, exams are considerably less stressful. They’re taken in your normal lecture hall with just your lecturer and maybe a tutor to help supervise. Not the best news ever, but allow yourself to be moderately pleased with this news.
The Bars – You’ll need the three times the cash, but you’ll be hollering like Honey Boo Boo when you learn $3 Long Island Ice Teas do exist in this world (specifically Kilroys on Kirkwood).
Did I mention the Friends? – Leaving your new friends is tough, but now you’ve got a good excuse for another overseas holiday. In the meantime, you’ll have facebook/email/snapchat/Instagram/skype to tide you over. Also, you get to return to your best pals back home. So you get both sides of the old saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.”