Regis Ellie White (2)

The Beginning of the Exchange Journey

 Ellie – Exchange to Regis University, USA

Semester 2, 2016

To be completely honest with you, before leaving Melbourne I wasn’t really sure what to expect of Denver, nor could I predict what the next four months of my life might look like. With really no other options, I embraced the uncertainty and was excited for the journey to come!

I left Australia on August 18, went back in time during my long haul flight and arrived in America on August 18. With really no idea on how to get around the airport, I spoke to a few Americans and eventually managed to find my way to Registration University.

I was soon settled in my room, having unpacked the 23kg clothes I would be wearing for the next few months. I then met two other exchange students who had traveled from Sweden and together we began our orientation into the uni (or college as the Americans call it).

The next couple of days consisted of early starts and fairly late finishes as in our designated groups, the exchange and transfer students became acquainted with each other and the campus. A month in, the people I met in my first days on campus have become my closest friends. The people I have met at Regis University have all been so friendly and welcoming. As the student cohort is quite small, every time I leave my room I am bound to run into a familiar face. My Australian-ness has been well and truly embraced, I’m often greeted with an “oi mate” in a terrible attempt at the Australian accent, or alternatively a joyful “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

The first month’s weather has been kind, most days have been around 28°C but the mornings and nights can have a chill. Another nice thing about Colorado living is that the state proudly has 300 sunny days each year. Additionally, the label “The Mile High City” is certainly fitting. The air is much thinner here compared to at sea level. Everyday tasks like walking up the stairs will initially seem more difficult, I cannot deny the effects of the altitude. Although, fear not, you eventually adjust to the decreased amount of oxygen in the air and reap the rewards of living in a hypoxic environment (hence why the United States Olympic Centre is located in Colorado).

As expected there are lots of difference between Australia and America and it has been a great experience to uncover a few of these. Here’s a list of some of my favourites:

  • The Metric System v Imperial System: all my life I have taken the Metric System for granted, I would much rather kilometres over miles, metres over feet, centimetres over inches, mLs over ounces, Celsius over Fahrenheit and so on (many of the Americans wish they used it too)
  • Fries: I asked for chips at a restaurant and the waiter had no idea what I was talking about
  • Scones: Americans put meat in scones
  • Utensils: Cutlery is not a term used here

Overall, my first month here in the U.S has flown by! That being said, I am enjoying every minute of my exchange thus far and am sure I will continue to do so.