A letter from America

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“When you go, will you send back,
A letter from America?
Take a look up the rail track,
From Miami to Canada”

Naturally, every morning (when I wake up) I sing The Proclaimers because – heck! I’m in America!

It is now just over a month since Dad and I touched down in the US of A, and just under three months until I fly home! I know everyone said it, but time has flown in. It feels like only a couple of weeks ago we landed in Dulles International Airport, watched the Washington Nationals win, visited all the big landmarks in D.C., and finally caught the Greyhound to Salisbury.

I have started writing this piece several times now, and still cannot quite find the words to describe my experience so far. I guess what I can say is: it has been a blast.

Having never lived away from home before, it has been an second-to-none experience; having to cook, shop, clean, hoover, wash by myself has definitely made me see how much money my parents must be saving with me not being there.

Ocean City

Ocean City

What I can say with one 100 percent certainty, though, is I have made some excellent friends for life. From my good friend Hawari from Starbucks, to my flatmates Ethan and Cody, and Sarah who actually is also from Stirling (which helps).

Salisbury is a great city (or town to people from here) to be based in: it isn’t expensive too live in; university is just a walk down the road; there is a running track, two gyms, and great places to run; the weather is not searing hot; and you are in good distance to some of the state’s best known areas.

Take a walk from my apartment, and within 15 or 20 minutes you are in the middle of campus. With a good blend of classic American university alongside a splash of modernity, SU is a brilliant place regardless of your degree (major).

I have been very fortunate in my choice of classes, in that my mandatory subject for this semester (JOUU9J5 or Print and Photo Journalism) matches exactly with the Media Design and Layout course I am taking here. Furthermore, my Politics class, Democracy, is very much in keeping with the module I took in spring called Great Political Thinkers.

Finally, Political Communication – although not what I expected – is nonetheless an excellent course looking at engagement of young people through the mass media, and examining how the media influences elections and behaviour.

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My initial glee at not having seminars over here was somewhat dampened by Sian Whitton’s remark that she has never had seminars or a mid-semester break at veterinary school. Even so, having just two or three classes per module a week is a god send in my eyes.

Despite the loss of a mid-semester break, I am very much looking forward to Thanksgiving weekend – especially now Ethan has voiced my staying with his family over the weekend. Also, having less in the way of essays for every subject is a bonus; instead, I have projects, portfolios, presentations, and quizzes.

I have to say I enjoy the change, and I reckon Stirling University should look at implementing more of the ideas from over here into their own classes.

But it isn’t all about university! I have been lucky enough to have seen the local baseball team, The Shorebirds, play; road tripped to Ocean City for the day, and got thoroughly burnt; made many friends from China, Hong Kong, South America, and of course the States; I had dinner with my Chinese friends, who cooked up some excellent Chinese cuisine; and plans for more road trips still to come!

It’s not long before I fly home, so I better make the most of it! See you folks in December.

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