Spencer Moore - Texas, USA
It may seem obvious but visiting a country for a holiday is a very different experience to living there. I had visited the United States on multiple occasions prior to studying at Texas Tech University in Lubbock so I thought that I was well prepared for living there.
The initial culture shock was a bit more than expected, the British and Americans both speak English and that pretty much is where the similarities end, especially in Texas. Everyone is so friendly that they would strike up a conversation from nowhere and the way they view the world is so very different from anywhere within Europe that it takes time to adjust to it.
The University system is also very different from the total freedom of selecting which classes (modules) to take, to the fact that you have graded homework and an exam in each class every month. This system of homework and exams took me a while to get used to but if you kept on top of it all you’d have enough time to do the things that really matter – making friends and travelling.
Because Lubbock is situated in pretty much the centre of the USA and close to multiple state boarders, I would go to Oklahoma City on one weekend and the international hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico the next. The American holidays, Thanksgiving and spring break, also made for great windows to go traveling, giving me a chance to visit Nevada and California.
Going to Texas Tech also allowed me to expand on activities that I have a passion for. Being part of TTU’s student radio station KTXT 88.1FM meant I could broadcast Britishness to the whole of Lubbock. Back packing in the Gila National Park, having to camp in the wild and getting to see the native America cliff dwellings was amazing. Kayaking on the Rio Grande with some America friends that I had made on a prior trip was one of the highlights of my time in the States.
Studying abroad was an amazing experience for me, one which I would do again in a heartbeat. The friends that I have made from both the USA and Mainland Europe are lifelong. I would recommend it to anyone that is considering studying abroad to do so. Be it for half a year or a full one, the life experience you gain and the memories that go with it are worth every penny.