Jarrod – Exchange to Georgia College, USA
Semester 2, 2016
Georgia has been full of surprises ! This beautiful state is home to so many wondrous sights and history. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. Atlanta is the capital of and the most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia, with an estimated 2015 population of 463,878. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5,522,942 people and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Atlanta can be described as a melting pot, and is similar to Melbourne in many ways. The campus I am residing at is 2 hours south of Atlanta, in a town called Milledgeville.
Georgia is bordered to the south by Florida, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina, to the west by Alabama, and to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina. The state’s northern part is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains system. Thanks to it’s geographic location it is home to everything from a very urban and financially flush city to the northern mountain ranges perfect for a camping weekend, to the southern beaches and islands. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting all three of these geographic areas.
Being a southern state Georgia is home to cultural and political tensions. With right-leaning Republican politics rubbing against liberal idealism, political ideals are part of much of the populations identity. With the third presidential debate just around the corner and early voting now open political conversation has become more and more popular.
Georgia is the nicknamed the Peach State, it earned this name because of the growers’ reputation for producing the highest quality fruit. The peach became the official state fruit in 1995. However, now that Fall is upon us pumpkins have become far more popular. With pumpkin farms selling hundreds of pumpkins to visitors to take home and carve as decorations. Everything cinnamon and pumpkin flavored has been placed into food outlets and autumn leaf decorations have covered the interiors of homes. Whilst on the exterior Halloween props and ornaments fill the front yards of residents as the holiday is nearing.
Due to Georgia’s taxes surrounding the film and television industry many movies and TV shows have been filmed in the state of Georgia. Some popular films include The Blind Side, Footloose, The Hunger Games and The Last Song. And some popular TV shows include The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf, Vampire Diaries and the newly popular show Stranger Things.
Very recently, the east coast of the United States was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew. So once the storm had passed I travelled with one of my American friends to their home in Jacksonville, to assist with clean up. This was a really eye-opening experience. I spent the majority of time in my friend’s home assisting lifting up carpet and throwing out couches and different things that had been ruined due to the flooding that had occurred. But as we moved through the town it was clear that a majority of roofs had been damaged, a lot of retail and food outlets had been seriously damaged, many broken windows, missing signs, countless trees fallen and debris and rubbish everywhere. School and work for everyone was shutdown for the couple of weeks so the entire community was hands on deck for the clean up. And most people I spoke with were relatively optimistic, mostly relying on insurance to cover any losses. But it makes you think about how tough it must be for people in Haiti and other islands within the Bahamas that don’t have the financial stability and support to recovery so quickly.