Cornelia Hammarlund – Events Management – Level 3

St Edward’s University, USA

 

ARRIVAL & RESIDENCE LIFE

I stayed in a building called Casa (circled on a map below), which consists of 8 “pods” which are like apartments with about 9 people in each. Each pod has 3 bathrooms to share and the building as a whole shares 1 kitchen. We have a nice common area where people spend evenings watching TV, eating together and hanging out.

Before I arrived I used a service called the Linens Program, which St. Edwards offer. This was super handy since we arrived very tired and pretty late in the evening, so it was nice having fresh linen and towels ready to pick up in the reception. I also had a broken arm so this meant I didn’t have to go shop and carry everything heavy! Some poor souls who didn’t use the program spent their first night sleeping on a bare mattress so this is highly recommended for any students thinking about going on an exchange!

I was meant to have a roommate, however no one ended up moving in so I had double the space to myself this semester. There are “RA’s” on every floor in each building, they are students who are there to help and they have 24h phones if anything happens or you have questions for them. Everyone we met on and around campus were incredibly welcoming and helpful!

ORIENTATION

After arrival, exchange-, international- and transfer-students had two crammed days with orientation. This is when students start exploring the school, find out their timetables and get ID cards issued. There were a lot of welcome presentations, introductions of staff, luncheons and walks around campus. Campus is pretty big with two gymnasiums, an awesome library, and loads of faculty buildings, a chapel, a football field and so much more!

We took part in a medallion ceremony and a legacy-walk around the school. This is a walk you do the day you start and you are meant to do the day you graduate (wearing your medallion), which will represent the journey you have made over the years. It was optional for exchange students to take part, and of course we did!

Exchange-students also had our own little orientation where we discussed important documents, our roles as ambassadors of our home countries and met with local telephone & bank providers. The school offered shuttle runs to Walmart and in the evening there was a welcome dinner for everybody.

St. Edwards really made a fantastic effort in welcoming us to their school and they had loads of fun things planned for us during the semester 

KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD

So not only is Austin the BBQ city of the US, it is also the music mecca of the US! It is a really cool and vibrant city with so many quirky shops, bars and restaurants and a lot of people out enjoying what the city has to offer!

Austin’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird”, something you kind of notice when you walk around the city. It’s hard to explain in text but there is so much to look at when you’re out exploring and a lot of interesting people around. Art is basically seen everywhere on street corners and live music can be heard across the city at any point of the day.

P.S. Breakfast Tacos is normal part of your day over there. Do I need to say more?

ST. EDWARD’S AND CAMPUS LIFE

Campus at St. Ed’s truly is beautiful. I tried to catch a breather outside a lot, in between classes. I loved grabbing a coffee and sitting somewhere for a while, people-watching. I was also positively surprised by the food offerings on campus. I was worried there was only going to be greasy pizza and burgers at hand, (not that I totally ate 1000 Tacos weekly), but they had a great salad bar and my personal favorite – the yoghurt bar with homemade granola.

The International Office at St. Ed’s also takes great care of their internationals  One day they drove us all to Round Rock to watch a baseball game where they got us a Skybox Suite with food and drinks throughout the evening. We had the best view of the game, even though none of us understood what was actually going on.

They had more excursions planned for us during the semester and you could always go to their offices if you had any questions/needed to make a phone call/send mail or anything.

TOURISTY STUFF

So in between internship in the morning and classes in the afternoon I would try to see as much of Austin and Texas as possible. What I really liked the most about Austin was how many people are constantly out enjoying their city. If you went for a walk or some food on a Sunday there was people everywhere walking their dogs, paddle-boarding, going for a run, catching a gig or eating out with friends.

My favourite Sunday activity was renting a bike with friends, spending the day riding around looking at people and searching for the next place to eat.

Semester Abroad Experiences

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