On my decision to come to SUNY Oswego for an exchange semester, I knew that things would be different, but I assumed that more or less Australian and American university life and culture would be very similar. I was wrong. I have outlined the main differences below. Enjoy.
1. College is love, college is life. Literally. Since beginning college my days typically consist of eating all my meals with friends, going to class, going to the gym with friends, doing homework with friends, watching Netflix with friends, and sleeping. This is vastly different to my university days at QUT as everyday would always be completely different. In Brisbane some days I would go to work, others I would have class, and others I would do absolutely nothing but hang out with friends. I like the structured format of college in the states because I am forced to be more dedicated to my studies and I actually feel like I have time for things (such as working out) because everything is on campus.
2. Homework and pass grades. At QUT in my course, to pass a subject you simply need to get 50% or higher, which is simple and makes sense to me… Here it varies on the subject. For instance one of my subjects is 60% and another is 70%. However it is easier to get marks here (from my recent experience anyway) as professors tend to give out marks for attendance and small homework tasks. Which brings me to my next point; homework. Per subject at QUT I would have two exams during a semester and 1-3 large assignments, and class work/homework is completely optional. Whereas at SUNY Oswego I actually have to keep up to date on course work by submitting graded homework tasks weekly. I like the feelings of always being on top of my course work here, and it gives me reassurance that I will pass and do well, but I do miss weeks of procrastination and doing things last minute as I work well under pressure.
3. Structure of classes. At QUT all of my weekly classes are made up of two parts: one being a lecture which takes place in a hall and is run by a professor, and the other is a practical session in a classroom environment which may be run by a professor or a researcher. At SUNY Oswego all my subjects are in a classroom environment. I feel as though I am back in high school at times. I prefer my university’s style of teaching because a lecture might be one day, and the practical session the next, so it gives me time to digest the information. However I feel as though I have the potential to develop closer, more meaningful relationships with professors here as the contact is more personal and regular.
4. Classes are cancelled if there is a snow storm. This is vastly different to what I am used to. It doesn’t snow in Brisbane, but when we do have extreme weather, scheduled activities are rarely postponed (the exception being sporting events). I was surprised that classes were cancelled when there was a blizzard because most students live on campus and have the warm clothes needed to withstand these conditions anyway.
5. Not everything will kill you in the states. I was bitten by a spider two nights ago and I did not die; I initially thought it was a mosquito bite as it was itchy, small and hard, but turned out it was a spider bite. If this had happened in Australia I probably would have gone straight to the ER. I am enjoying the fact that I do not need to fear for my life when I encounter bugs and reptiles here.
6. American’s have awesome accents. I am always interested in what my peers and professors have to say because I cannot get enough of the accent.
7. American’s have a different definition of thong. I was telling some new friends about my regular encounters with spiders and how I kill them with my thongs (flip flops), and they thought this was hilarious because they were imagining me killing them with a g-string. Lol.
8. Dining halls. At QUT we do not have any dining halls, rather we have food courts, cafes and bars, where items must be purchased in $AUD. When I arrived at Oswego the whole dining hall and dining dollars thing was so foreign, amazing & like something from an American movie. I love that there are so many dining halls on campus and their hours are long and flexible. I wish we had this culture at QUT.
For years I had always heard Walmart referenced in movies and pop culture and I was always so intrigued as we have nothing quite like it in Australia. The college is really well serviced with public transport so getting to Walmart was not an issue. My friends also had never been to Walmart before so we decided to make a day of it.
As expected it was huge. I had built it up so big in my mind, however it really wasn’t as incredible and exciting as I had expected. It was underwhelming to be completely honest. It was just like several stores in Australia combined (Woolworths and Big W). I was really impressed by how inexpensive everything was, especially makeup. I was able to pick up lipsticks which are usually around $17 in Australia, for $6 at Walmart. I also loved how friendly and willing to help all the folks there were and the great range of cheap, American candy.
This past weekend I took to the streets, to walk around and perfect my silhouette photography. Because silhouette photography is best at night I had a lot of time to waste. I walked from where I live in Pyrmont down to the Sydney House Opera and eventually ended up across the Harbour at Milson’s point. Milson’s point is home to Luna Park a small theme park that is somewhat similar to Coney Island in Brooklyn.
Modeled after the very popular Humans of New York page, SUNY Oswego has a new page that’s getting some major attention.
Humans of SUNY Oswego is a photography post project on Facebook that aims to photograph students and briefly interview them for a photo caption to tell a story. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of the age old saying “everyone has a story to tell”.
I’ve been a fan of the HoNY page fan for a while and enjoy viewing the interesting photos that the photographer posts. Even better than the photos, are the short stories that the brief interviews tell. Regular people have spectacular stories of love, loss, dreams, war and everything in between.
I love the idea behind the project; to showcase that everyday passers-by on the street are all dealing with something or have been through something. It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives and problems and forget that the world is so much bigger than just yourself and your own daily struggles. These simple photos and brief interviews are often inspiring and thought provoking.
Being a Social Media intern with a love of photography, I wanted to take this idea and bring it to SUNY Oswego. There are over eight thousand students on campus and undoubtedly a lot of interesting stories to be told and heard. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I get lost in my own little world when I’m walking across campus with my headphones in and music turned up loud. But imagine, if you truly looked around at everyone and thought about their lives, what they’ve been through or what they are currently dealing with. These thoughts make the world (or the campus) seem a lot bigger than just ourselves and our daily lives.
As one of the photojournalists for the Humans of SUNY Oswego project, I aim to take photos of interesting students and share a line or so that they have shared with me about themselves or their life. I will be posting these photos on the Facebook page.
If you, or someone you know has a story to tell and would like to be featured on the site, please contact me by sending the page a message or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org