Elin Rosen – Business Management – Level 3
Slippery Rock University, USA
My experience at Slippery Rock University was simply, unforgettable. Being a shy individual, the idea of going abroad to a brand new university, in a brand new country and being surrounded by brand new people first seemed surreal and very scary. However, it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
I originally heard about the exchange program from an exchange student at QMU who soon after arriving became one of my dearest and closest friends. After hearing all the amazing stories she brought with her from across the world and all the differences in cultures we had, the idea of going on an exchange really intrigued me. It quickly became a dream of mine to be able to travel somewhere brand new, just like her, for one semester and experience a new way of learning, meet new people from all across the world and make memories I would keep for a lifetime. And then one day, the opportunity arose and I couldn’t have been happier.
The most common question I got asked when I returned home was, ‘what were some of the biggest differences and how did you cope with them?’ Apart from being extremely jet lagged when I arrived and being served pizza for breakfast on my second day, to me there wasn’t that many cultural differences. Of course, things were different, but as a Swedish student who grew up in Spain and then moved to Scotland, I have always been used to different ways of thinking and ways of doing which may have been an advantage for me. However, I got to experience the proper ‘American’ lifestyle and I loved it. My flat mates would laugh at me with how excited I would get to watch basketball games where a mascot is running around and cheerleaders are cheering in the corner supporting their teams. Even the little things made me happy, like walking around an American supermarket and seeing different things I would only have previously seen in movies.
In terms of learning, I experienced different ways of being taught whilst being away. At SRU I was tested in a more consistent manner, having small tests weekly rather than a big assignment and exam at the end of the semester, as well as another difference of having multiple choice tests rather than long answers and essay questions. I think it’s great to experience new ways of learning and deciding what works best for you.
Being in the US, even in the little town of Slippery Rock, provided me with great travel opportunities. Buses, although highly uncomfortable, were extremely cheap and I got to visit places like New York, Washington DC and Chicago. I also got to experience Spring Break, possibly the best week of my life, and after doing well in our exams we decided to treat ourselves and celebrate in Cancun and we are already taking about returning and having a reunion for spring break 2017.
I cannot recommend going on an exchange enough, I haven’t been able to stop talking about it since I have returned. I am now lucky to say I have lifelong friends in most parts of the world, and I experienced a brand new culture and a way of learning which I will continue to adapt into my future studies to achieve the best possible outcome for myself. I became a more confident and a brave individual who has been able to travel to places I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise.