I remember the day I first arrived in America. I’d just hopped off the plane in LA after leaving my family for the first time and I spotted a boy walking through the terminal wearing an old college t-shirt. It read: “I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, to relive all the good times and to never change a thing.” Back then, I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on, and how monumental those words would become to me.
It’s funny how everyone says that when you have an expectation of how you think a place will be it never turns out the way that you want it to. For me, college has been everything I’d hoped for and more. You see, I came to CSU initially on a study abroad program for one semester… I’m still here a year and a half after my exchange period officially ended. Just an international transfer student from little old Adelaide, Australia now set to graduate from CSU in December and looking to work in the states after my studies. It seems good old ‘Merica just can’t get rid of me!
When I was a kid, I’d always dreamed about one day living in the US. Most people don’t realize that growing up in Australia pretty well everything we consume in pop culture is in fact American. Movies, TV shows, music. We have our own Aussie counterparts of course, but like most of my peers in college I’ve always spent lazy Sundays watching Laguna Beach re-runs and letting the sweet sounds of JT’s music caress my ears and steal my heart.
When I got the opportunity to study abroad in the states I jumped at the chance. It would be like I was living out my childhood fantasies day by day… I mean I had seen all the movies so I had a pretty good idea that college was going to be a blend of three things: red solo cups, parties that rivalled that of ‘Project X’, and dreamy American boys with dreamy American accents who would casually greet the ladies with a “hey girl” or “sup shorty” and who looked like a combination of Chad Michael Murray and Channing Tatum.
Naturally then, when I first came to college it seemed a good idea to join a sorority, as the concept of Greek life is something that is uniquely American. I remember my first chapter meeting… when we passed around the snap cup and sang the song from Legally Blonde I honestly nearly died of excitement. This was real life. Things like this actually happened. Girls did use “shut up” and “super cute” as exclamations and terms of endearment!
And you should have seen me when I went to my first football game. It was like a scene straight out of “Remember The Titans.” I half expected coach McElwain to look just like Denzel Washington. But, I was bitterly disappointed to find that a young Ryan Gosling didn’t play for our team just like he did in the movie.
Hershey’s and Reese’s are as delicious as I’d imagined them. There is a Starbucks on nearly every street corner. The freshman fifteen really is a thing. McDonalds actually does serve drinks the size of swimming pools and Big Mac’s as big as your head… And if you drink Burnett’s you really will wake up in a frat house with no money, no memory and no dignity.
But it’s not just the social side to college I’ve come to know and love. It’s the people too and the laugh’s I’ve shared both with them and at their expense. Someone asked me what year it was currently in Australia. I thought they were joking so it was an awkward moment that followed when I realized they were legitimately confused about how the time difference worked. Another person questioned whether being Aboriginal was a religion. But, “If it’s summer in December, when do you celebrate Christmas?” was definitely my personal favourite.
Living in the states feels like I’ve stepped straight out of a movie and it could not be further from the life I’d known back home. I love the fact that American girls think it’s perfectly acceptable to wear leggings as pants and jeans with Uggs (it’s not), that chicken and waffles are okay to be eaten together, and that nothing on spring break will ever stay on spring break again since the conception of CSU Confessions. I love the country music, flip cup and the lame pick up lines (…So you’re from Australia, can I didgeridoo you?!). I love that I don’t have to hide my Justin Bieber obsession. I love that it’s not frowned upon to eat Oreos for breakfast. I love that this country is home to the best food known to man: Buffalo wings.
But what’s the best bit about living the American college student dream? Bragging rights! The fact that I get to take home stories that will last a lifetime and photos that will make even the most worldly of my Australian friends envious of all of my college experiences.
Gotta hand it to ‘ya America. You may not have given the world the likes of Heath Ledger, Vegemite or AC/DC, but boy you sure know how to show an Aussie a good time!