College year: Retrospective
I don’t think I have ever mentioned it yet, but I arrived in the U.S. last August, and landed directly in New Jersey. Not so glamorous, I know ahah. So I have spent the year studying at Rider University, a quite small and cute university in Lawrenceville. I majored in Marketing and International Business, and this year has been my Senior year. Graduation is coming up, on May 15th. The end is so close now, that I wanted to finally share my experience here!
First, you guys need to know that the American education is very different than the French one. Even though I had teachers from England, the U.S., Ireland or New Zealand while studying in Lyon, France, teachers here have a very different way to teach.
- Teachers here do not care if students are late (and by late I mean 30 minutes sometimes!), wear hats during class, eat or constantly leave the class and come back. These are things that are not acceptable in France; of course, students can leave the class but it needs to be discrete and fast. Eating and wearing hats is considered as rude in France, and when it comes to being late, it was simple in Lyon: teachers closed the door when the class started.
- Teachers here are not as exigent as the ones in France. After my 3 years studying in Lyon and struggling for some classes but still maintaining a good GPA, I thought it would be as difficult or even more difficult here. Instead, the classes were simpler than in my school in Lyon, but as interesting. It was very astonishing at first, but we got used to it, and we ended up being pretty satisfied with what we learned and with our great GPAs! This concerns Rider, because I know that in Temple University for example, where some of my friends studied, they had a hard time dealing with all the work they had to handle.
- The students are also very different. My friends and I noticed that most of the students here do not put as much efforts in group projects or papers as we do. We got kind of confused because we thought that we are French, English being our second language.However, some others were great and hard working, which was really nice!
- Americans (from Rider only, maybe) are loud. Yes, they are! I mean, when we eat at the cafeteria, for example, it sometimes gets so noisy that we don’t even hear ourselves. Its crazy.
- Americans here are not that open to foreigners, it is not that easy to get to know them and make good friends.
- Should I talk about the food? Oh my god. Why is everything so greasy? Its unbelievable.
Its probably not surprising to say that, at Rider, there is not much to do, and not many college parties. That was something annoying at first, because we are all used to live in our own apartments and going to parties in the city center or at friends’ place pretty often. Here, we are “stuck” on campus, not independent anymore, and sharing a tiny room with someone. Lets say that it was clearly a step backward for us, but we adapted. The little group we formed with most of the French and an American guy ended up with us having a good time together. We tried to keep ourselves busy.
- We used Uber a lot to go to the mall, to have drinks in Princeton or to eat outside of campus.
- We all went on trips to either Philly, New York, or Washington D.C. on weekends.
- We played volleyball outside
- We went to Rho, a discotheque not far from Rider (the only one around), on Thursdays. Here, bars and discotheques close very early (2am) compared to France (6am), but it was the occasion for us to leave campus and have some fun. AND people here twerk… I mean, come on. It gets veryy physical, and that’s weird for us.
- We planned trips to Montreal, to New York to see a soccer game, or to our American friend’s house.
- We gathered on our friends’ rooms to have some drinks and play cards.
Picture 1: Montage of different things we did during the year; Picture 2: Us representing “New Jersey” in Washington D.C.
We basically lived our college experience in the best way we could! Arriving at the very end of our studies years, we all feel like time flew, but we are all happy with this great opportunity we got to enjoy!
I regret that Rider did not organize real college parties or even more fun events.
Now, its finals period and graduation is so close… It very weird for us to think that we will receive our diploma, after all these years, and be done with studies. Having our parents here, in the U.S., for this special occasion is crazy when we think about it. We have gone so far! In a few days, we will be entering the work life and be living all by ourselves! Oh my! Its kind of terrifying but so exciting at the same time! 🙂
How was your college experience? Did you get to study abroad?
P.S: My comparison between studying in France vs in the U.S. is not meant to be offensive. I am just pointing out differences that the French and I noticed. Less exigence from teachers or some American students here not participating enough in group projects does not mean it is the same for all Americans. Lets things be clear. I have enjoyed studying here, and I am grateful for this opportunity. I definitely learned a lot.
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