Exchange to Indiana University – by Nicholas Rivett

A semester abroad may sound like a long time but as the end nears, I find myself wondering how it went by so quickly. I spent Semester Two 2015 studying at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and it’s hard to imagine a better place to get the American college experience, from fraternities and sororities to college sports and any number of social events. IU is frequently voted one of the most beautiful campuses in America and it was easy to see why after spending the ‘Fall’ semester living there. The campus is enormous, filled with trees and open spaces and inhabited by chipmunks, deer and my personal favourite – squirrels. I lived on campus in Willkie residence hall, while this gives you a private room and a shared bathroom it’s not the most social of residence halls on campus, however there are plenty of other opportunities to meet not only American students but also other Exchange students from around the world. It might be intimidating at first as you meet so many new people everywhere, but there’s no better way to learn about yourself than jumping off the deep end and going on an exchange. College sports in the US are on another level, with the entire campus getting behind the football team, the main sport in Spring Semester. Every Saturday that the Hoosiers played at home would begin in the early morning at the tailgate fields before heading to Memorial Stadium for the game then, following a quick postgame nap, the numerous parties would take you through to the early hours of Sunday morning. Studying in the US is a very different experience from Australia, lectures are never recorded which means you actually have to wake up and go to class, however living on campus means this is only ever a ten minute walk away. Assessments are frequent but given far less weighting, however I found this to be highly effective in encouraging me to study and it never seemed too arduous. The biggest difference though is final exams, these were conducted as small in class tests and rarely had very high weighting, a stark contrast from exams at the showgrounds. The people at IU were friendly and always interested to hear more about life in Australia or teach you about life in America. I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with a friend’s family in Carmel, Indiana where we ate a delicious meal and spent the day watching football before I finally tried pumpkin pie – I can’t say I understand America’s use of pumpkin as a dessert flavouring. Overall my exchange was an eye opening experience as I learnt so much more about the United States as well as myself, I can’t think of a better place to have gone than Indiana University.

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