Ole Miss by Riette!

Not only do we want to showcase students studying abroad outside of the US, but we also want to share our incoming exchange student experiences at UM!  Want to meet international students?  Consider becoming a Global Ambassador!  You’ll serve as a mentor to incoming students and show them “the ropes!”

Below is a blog post by Riette who is studying abroad at the University of Mississippi from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia!

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When traveling it’s always hard to capture with words and pictures just exactly what you have seen and done and that in itself is the intimate appeal of travel. The unique and life changing experience that stays with you longer than the tan or the jet lag is what we all crave. With that being said, I sometimes wish it was easier to convey the feel of a place such as Ole Miss but my vocabulary fails as I wish to describe its wonder.

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Ole Miss is an eclectic mix of passion, history, beauty, and diversity. After a very long journey to get to America, there are a few things that I learned very early in my trip.

  1. Australia is very far away.
  2. It’s very important to be organized when traveling.
  3. The journey to America is long.
  4. You can walk between the shuttles at LAX, it gives your legs a nice stretch.
  5. They call it Down Under for a reason, because it’s so very, quite literally under the world.

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All jokes aside, the journey was rather easy despite the 36 hours between leaving my house in Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia to get to my dorm room, Oxford, Mississippi, America and being in 4 states in less than 13 hours. So arriving at my dorm at 2am meant I didn’t see the campus properly until the next day. I will always remember driving past Sorority Row in the middle of the night and just thinking, “This is insane!” The next few days dwindled into making friends, memories, and endeavoring not to get lost on this huge campus! Not to mention conquering Walmart. It’s both an incredible and terrifying place at the same time. How is it that you can buy peanut butter and a gun in the same shop? During that first shop, I really felt my foreign-ness, but not due to any fault of the Mississippians that were shopping there. It wasn’t that they were unwelcoming, on the contrary, it was that everyone (it seemed) in the shop was wearing an Ole Miss top, cap, or merchandise of some description so the school pride was not only seen but felt.

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Some highlights so far have been living among the other international students and Americans – it’s a very culturally diverse living space! As well as seeing the full glory of tailgating and football, it’s quite a theatrical experience with the band, the parade and cheerleaders to say the least. Lastly, I was lucky enough to go to Memphis with a friend who gave me the local tour.

Over the course of the last 7 weeks (when did that happen?), I have fallen in love with Ole Miss, its students and the campus. Not only that, I have felt so welcomed and have loved being part of such an incredible school community.

Hope you have a fabulous day!

Riette

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