American college culture at CSU from the eyes of international students

Adelayde Dahlin

We all want to go abroad. We want those foreign experiences and get away from our ideals and American culture for a little while, so what do students coming here visualize? Basically everything we also envisioned college to be like when we were leaving high school and getting ready for the next chapter of our life: parties and unbelievably hard classes. Here are the major differences that two transfer students, Nancy Crawshaw from Lincoln University, New Zealand and Megan Leonard from University of Tasmania have noticed about going to school at Colorado State University.

For Crawshaw, it is like “everything you see in the movies.” For Leonard, it is “much bigger and harder to meet people.”


The girl-guy divide

According to Leonard, American students take it as out of the ordinary to just ask someone to lunch after just having met them in one of their classes. American students can take this as flirting, whereas back home it is not. Typically this is considered normal and just being friendly. “There is a large girl guy divide here,” Leonard said. “Guys and girls here hangout more for the relationships rather than for friendships and we even take relationships more seriously, even getting engaged while in college.”


Another large difference is our passion for politics. Crawshaw and Leonard explain that people at their universities know what is going on, but do not get as involved with it. Whereas here, we are consistently talking about it, and are driven by politics among other things such as religion. They do not get much of the protesters or the “going to hell” sign guys that we get either. We may look at those people on campus as nuisances, but to them it is more exciting because they do not have anything like that going on at their schools.

Greek life

Coming to CSU also offered other opportunities they did not have before such as Greek life. Fraternity parties came up a lot, but is that not something we all think of when college comes to mind?


We also offer more sports teams at a much larger decibel too. Leonard mentions that we have a lot of “cool merch,” which is something they do not really get back at home. Crawshaw likes how much “we get behind our teams.” They both emphasize the amount of school pride we have in being rams, which is not usually the norm.


“TA’s are a new cool thing as well” according to Leonard. That being said, Crawshaw added that our professors and lecturers will also actually take the time to explain things and help if you ask for it, whereas before they were just kind of on their own. Another new thing is that it is only the third week of classes and people are already studying, “you don’t start studying until week six,” Leonard said.



However, they also have some things that we do not. A very obvious one being that we are not allowed to drink on campus. In comparison, their universities tend to put on events that encourage students to socialize and everyone can drink. An example of this is something called “society day, the biggest drinking day of the semester” according to Leonard, where you join as many clubs as possible and get drinks while getting to know people at each club’s booth.


There is also an emphasis on working with your peers back home. Here, we put more emphasis on watching out for plagiarism. The bigger shock to them was that “50 percent is passing back home,” Leonard said. It is harder to get into universities here. It is probably because here we are going to college to “set ourselves up for life,” Crawshaw said.

CSU favorites

After asking what their best CSU memory is so far, being three weeks in, they both said the sports aspect. “Every time someone say’s ram ball,” Leonard said. “It’s the most American thing.” You may just hear a group of exchange students saying “RAM BALLLLL” all over campus because they all think it is so funny, she said.

The most important thing though, is that what they are most looking forward to is mainly meeting new people, which is something we can all do more of. As well as trying new things. “Everything you see in American movies, we want to do,” Crawshaw said. They also both really want to meet Cam the Ram, the actual ram, so someone make it happen!