Arriving to my host country: my initial thoughts and feelings

I have been in America now for almost 3 weeks. After spending 24 hours in various airports and planes, including a 20 minute dash through LAX airport from one flight, through customs, a baggage pick up and drop of and onto another flight, I finally arrived in New York city! My university is actually located about 5 hours out of New York city.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Oswego, New York, was the snow and the cold. My university campus, the State University of New York, Oswego, is situated right up the North of America, only separated from Canada by Lake Ontario. For the first few days the sun was shining which meant that all the paths were clear and grass was still snowing. Over the past two weeks, however, I have had to walk to class through high strength winds (so strong you’re blown from one side of the path to the other) through calf deep snow. This means that for the entire 1-2 minutes I spend outside I have to layer up in multiple jackets, a thick scarf and beanie. It’s definitely a different experience to that of studying in New York!

In coming here I knew a lot about what to expect. I knew Americans drove on the wrong side of the road, ate more fried foods than we do in Australia, call things different names, and so on. It was the smaller things that confused me, particularly in the first couple of weeks. For example, not only do they drive on the right hand side of the road, this rule also applies to walking. You know how when you’re walking to class down the hallway or up the stairs, it’s only polite to make sure you stick to the left hand side so that people can get to where they are going. Well, over here it’s the same, but I hadn’t even considered that the Americans would all walk on the right-hand side of any hallway.

 

Living on campus is also a new experience. Like most Australian university students I have always commuted from home. However, here almost everyone lives on campus. I am living in a residence hall named Hart Hall. This is where the majority of international students reside, as well as a number of American students. I’m living on the 9th floor which provides an amazing view of the campus, and the lake. Just by studying in the lounge rather than in my room, I have been able to get to know some of the other students here. I have noticed that a lot of people are able to quickly pick up on the fact that I am Australian (due to my accent) which helps to break the ice a bit.

 

I am definitely looking forward to the next 3 ½ months at SUNY Oswego, particularly as the campus transforms from a wintery landscape to a Spring one!