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Published: August 13th 2014
I had to write a blog post for my study abroad program, CIEE, about my experience in Australia so far and I decided to write mine comparing my home university, University of La Verne, to my Australia uni, University of Wollongong. Then I decided to shar it with you all!
Here we are at the end of the third week in Wollongong and I could not be happier with the decision I made to study abroad here! Although the University of Wollongong is about three times bigger than my home university, I am really enjoying getting a different college experience than the one I am accustomed.
I go to college at the University of La Verne in the middle of a valley right next to Los Angeles. It is a small, liberal arts school where everyone knows everyone and you can walk across campus in about two minutes. Choosing to attend the University of Wollongong was a decision I was excited for but nervous as well. Attending a school that is not only a lot larger than my home university, but one where I will not know any one, was going to be a big change. And I noticed the difference right away on the first day of class when I walked into a small lecture hall. At ULV we have one lecture hall (in which I have never had a class), and I was extremely anxious about my first class with more than 30 people in it. After the lectures we are split into smaller tutorial groups to get a more intimate learning environment. During these tutorials we receive a more hands on session than just a lecture. At ULV, we have 2-3 hour lectures that combine both discussion and lecture. I don’t really have a preference over how the lectures are set up, but I do enjoy getting more hands on during the tutorials (or tutes as they are called here 😊
Other than the academic aspect of going to school here, there are many other things that make UOW a completely different school than the small school that I am used to. For example, at ULV there is one dinning hall, Davenport, in the middle of campus where all students eat most, if not all, of their meals. At UOW, because some of the dorms (including mine) are so far off campus, we have our own kitchen and dinning room. No more walking across campus to eat breakfast! Just walk down the stairs! Or if you don't wake up in time to eat breakfast and make your lunch in the dorm, UOW basically has its own town. There are plenty of cafes and places to eat on campus. They have a food court in the UniCentre (the equivalent to a campus center) where you can choose from sushi, pasta and pizza, smoothies, subway, or you can make your own salad or sandwich! You will never go hungry again!
Finally, my small school in California holds multiple fun events each week. From Soak Fest, to having comedians come and perform, to Greek Perfect (like Pitch Perfect, but for Greek life), and so many more. It’s hard to get bored if you always have something to go to. These events usually come with free food and maybe a t-shirt or water bottle so everyone tries to attend as many as possible. Now, we may not get as much free stuff at UOW but I have to say the events here are so much fun! The first week I was here we had Flood Week, a mini orientation week, where we got to know everyone in the dorms at events such as BBQs, obstacle courses, pub crawls, and morning runs to the beach to watch the sunrise. These events continue throughout the semester too! Every Sunday my dorm, Weerona, has a BBQ where we all get together and just hang out. There are also events on campus that are fun to attend as well! Every other week there is a farmers market throughout campus where local vendors come and sell foods, jewelry or clothing. Along with this there are exercise classes offered at the Wellness center and multiple clubs to join. Clubs range from the yoga club, to the quitich team and everything in between!
No matter what you are in the mood for, UOW has so many great things to offer! Their academics may be a little different than ours in America, but if you keep your mind open and try new things, you are guaranteed to enjoy your time here in Wollongong!
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