University of Auckland students have the opportunity to study overseas at over 125 partner universities in over 25 countries. One of the most popular destinations to study abroad is the United States. Our American partner universities are all diverse and renowned institutions, providing students with equally as diverse cultural experiences and academic opportunities. In this post (the second of three), we hear from past exchange students who have studied in the Eastern and Southern regions of the United States as part of the Auckland Abroad program. Our partner universities in the East and South are The University of Maryland, The University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Georgia and American University.
“While America isn’t the cultural opposite of New Zealand like some other exchange programs, culture shock still hit me. From the super-sized food, to realizing Greek life isn’t just in movies and perhaps even that America might just be the greatest country in the world, at least for the college experience anyway.” – Josh Barkle, Rutgers University
The University of Maryland
“The moment I stepped onto the College Park Campus, I was met with a Campus that looked like it belonged in a magazine. I had my own room in a hall only a thirty second walk to the diner, which supplied all my meals. It was a huge hall with eight different ‘mini restaurants’ to choose from, including pizza and pasta stations, sandwich and salad stations and a make-your-own-waffle station. With three days jam-packed full of orientation events, the exchange students quickly formed friendships which grew closer and closer till it felt as though we had been friends forever. In my first week, I attended a ‘Pep Rally’ (as seen in many American films), an American Football game, and bore witness to a ‘flash mob.’ Over the next few months, I would attend stimulating lectures, join the circus that is students supporting their university sports teams and go on weekend excursions to the Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York (complete with watching a show on Broadway), Baltimore and Virginia. When I had an afternoon or morning free, I could take the metro for 20 minutes and find myself in the capital – Washington DC. Wandering around the Smithsonian Museums, spotting Obama at the White House and visiting famous monuments.” – Klara Klippel, The University of Maryland
The University of Virginia
“The buildings of the University are stunning and one of a kind – it’s a World Heritage Site for a reason. Despite many of the buildings being in red brick, I found the grounds to be overwhelmingly green and full of foliage, and moving into the Fall, Charlottesville only gets prettier. While the University’s bus system does a really great job of getting you around Grounds to wherever you need to be, when you live in a place as beautiful and scenic as this, why take the bus?” – Christine Winspear, The University of Virginia
“I remember arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia and straight away, the University presence was extremely obvious in the town. I was surprised to see UVA banners at the airport, hanging in windows around town and logos even printed on the road! The University itself was beautiful; both the buildings and the grounds, and my first impressions were that UVA was something that you’d see in the movies. Everyone was so lovely and friendly in Charlottesville, and the fact that I was a New Zealander was a huge hit! From the moment I arrived until the moment I left, I absolutely loved America!” – Sarah Menzies, The University of Virginia
College of William and Mary
“William and Mary is situated in the picturesque town of Williamsburg, which is one of the original English colonies that was settled on the Virginia peninsula. Because of this history, Williamsburg is always bustling with re-enactors, festivals and markets. As the second-oldest university in the United States, William and Mary is treated as a vital part of this historic community. William and Mary has a beautiful sprawling campus, scattered with colonial houses that have been converted to classrooms. The campus is always buzzing with activity and there are plenty of clubs to involve yourself with. Everyone is extremely welcoming and there is a strong school spirit that unites the student body.” – Elle Crump, College of William and Mary
“I was lucky enough to spend 5 months living abroad in Williamsburg, Virginia, while studying at the College of William & Mary Law School. Living in Williamsburg was surreal. Aside from looking like something out of a storybook, Williamsburg was a living museum, with a large part of the town dedicated to colonial re-enactment. Stepping into colonial Williamsburg really does feel like stepping back in time. William & Mary is historic in more ways than one. The Marshall-Wythe School of Law was founded by local Virginian Thomas Jefferson in 1779, and is the oldest law school still operating in the United States. As an American history buff, it was amazing to be studying somewhere that was so at the heart of American law and politics for so many years!” – Hannah Thomson, College of William and Mary
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“UNC is a typical American college campus, with a beautiful tree lined quad, sports stadiums and an overwhelming amount of school spirit and pride. UNC is the perfect mix of academic study and extracurricular activity. I can promise that you will never be bored in Chapel Hill! The faculty is exceptional and the learning opportunities are once in a lifetime. UNC’s exchange organization, EASE is a great resource for incoming students, providing mentorship, networking and events throughout the year. My advice to any exchange student would be to make the most of every moment abroad. Partake in research projects, connect with faculty, volunteer and get involved – these opportunities not only enrich your experience abroad, but look great on a resume to future employers! My year at UNC was the best year of my life – you will be challenged, rewarded, welcomed and excited by all that being a member of the UNC family means. UNC Chapel Hill will become a part of you – once a Tar Heel, always a Tar Heel.” – Courtenay James, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Firstly, Chapel Hill in 400 words is a challenge. I could spend days talking to someone about what it means to be a Tar Heel. No word of a lie, if you choose Chapel Hill, you are on the door step of the best semester of your life. Chapel Hill is a small college town in North Carolina. UNC is the clear academic front runner on our list of options – if you’re after a truly southern college experience. The campus is stunning, everywhere you look there is beautiful scenery and a bunch of squirrels. The weather in this town is near perfect and the social scene is a lot of fun. Whether you are into country music, quirky bars or fraternity parties, there is something for everyone at UNC Chapel Hill.” – Joanna Appelman, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of Georgia and American University are two of our newest exchange partners.
Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is the nation’s oldest state-chartered university. History and tradition have special emphasis in the life of the University. With its strong academic majors, outstanding athletic programs, and extensive and varied campus life, the University attracts more students from every state in the nation and many foreign countries. The University of Georgia is located in Athens, a college town in Northeast Georgia within an hour of Atlanta.
American University is located in Washington DC, 20 minutes from the center of the city. Students are active citizens both on and off campus. Studying in Washington DC places students at the heart of US history and politics. With highly ranked schools and colleges and internationally recognized faculty, AU offers a balance between class time and career-advancing experience in Washington, D.C., and beyond. Its students, among the country’s most politically active, distinguish themselves for their service, leadership, and ability to rethink global and domestic challenges and opportunities.