I haven’t moved here a long time ago and I had been here only a couple of times before making the big move down to Texas from Canada.
Austin is a city that surprises with its quirks, its colorful guitars (modern art sculptures here and there around the city) and murals which look at the future. A mix of what has been and what can be and will be in the future.
Austin is attractive, a very livable reality that focuses on small entrepreneurs and that gives space to small realities while welcoming big high-tech corporations.
But Austin is also a famous hub in Texas for students and the University of Texas at Austin is the largest university in the state. Also in this case Austin stands out with its primacy, making its fame grow throughout the United States. Visiting the campus means immersing yourself in an idea of the university that is completely different from the ones in other countries. In fact, here the campus is like a real city where you move from one building to another with bicycles or cars.
Order and cleanliness reign everywhere and it is the students themselves who offer small tours to both visitors and potential students who are possibly interested in attending courses. For those who have the opportunity, spending half a day on campus can be really interesting.
I have taken a tour even if I’m done with schooling just to see how an American university works.
Attending an American university has always been a very coveted project among Italian and international students, but often we do not know the characteristics of the American university system and how it differs from ours.
When I took the tour I was surrounded by hundreds of students: some going to the cafeteria, some to the library, some returning from sports training, others from some fraternity, some cycling to friends' lodgings, etc.
In the US, the Bachelor's Degree or Undergraduate Program lasts 4 years: during the first two years, the focus is on general knowledge or general requirements while the last two years focus more on the core subjects of the chosen degree course, the Major.
The campus is a microcosm, everything revolves around the students and their daily lives.
All extracurricular activities, accommodation and meals are organized on campus.
Spending your free time on campus means having constant opportunities to meet new and interesting people, and to make friends easily.
You can take part in student associations or clubs, participate in sporting events, parties and meetings organized by the American university itself or take on a new hobby by attending a workshop.
Everything is explained during an initial Orientation Week which helps the student understand how the American university system works, how colleges and universities are organized and find possible on-campus work opportunities.
If you are a foreign student, you can even have the support of a ‘buddy’, a student who will help you adapt as quickly as possible to cultural and linguistic differences.
American campuses offer sororities and fraternities, theater groups, music clubs and basically if you can’t find anything interesting for you, you can always create one yourself and meet other students who share your interests and aspirations.
You live in a dorm within the university, usually sharing a room with other students.
As for meals, cafeterias are provided in American universities and each student has a meal plan available but in the dorms there are also shared kitchens available to students if they prefer cooking for themselves.
The cafeteria often offers buffet meals so even the hungriest students can rest easy.
Students generally move around campus on foot or by bicycle, but if they go outside campus, they go by car as all Americans have a car!
What I understood is that studying at a university in the United States doesn't just mean studying, but being part of a complete world of social relationships, where one can develop personal, artistic, sporting, working and cultural skills. It is a complete life experience.