Hiya, I’m Alice! In September, I flew to Denver, Colorado to begin my Study Abroad year at the University of Denver. Studying abroad is something I’ve had my heart set on since I was applying to universities, but this didn’t make it any less daunting…
Arriving in Denver
When I first landed after my 9-hour flight from Heathrow, I was shocked by how flat the landscape was against the Rocky Mountains that Denver sits at the base of. And that wasn’t the only thing that surprised me! Despite having visited America before, and feeling familiar with the country from TV and movies, everything here felt so surreal. From the massive cars and roads, to the endless options there are in the supermarkets! But I think I’ve settled in quickly. I’m incredibly grateful to the international student & scholar services, and the exchange program manager here at Denver University (DU) for all their support.
On my first day at DU (Denver University), we had a meeting where all the international students who are also on exchange here for the year could meet. There are only six of us, but it’s definitely comforting to be with people who are in the same situation. Before orientation week began, we were given a campus tour, which was incredibly helpful, as Denver felt a lot bigger than York! During orientation, we were grouped with transfer students who helped us integrate with other students. Altogether, these events made me feel like a lot less of an outsider.
Orientation week was filled with events and activities that allowed me to become familiar with both the DU campus and Denver as a city. I went to things like drag bingo, and movie nights, and I explored downtown Denver. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to go up to DU’s mountain campus as part of my orientation. We went on hikes through parts of the Rocky Mountains, a great bonding experience with fellow students!
I can’t wait to explore more of the US whilst I’m here. I’m currently planning a weekend trip to Moab in Utah, and I’m always searching for cheap internal flights to other states.
Studying in Denver
DU works on a quarter-based system with three quarters (fall, winter, and spring) that are ten weeks long. Each quarter, I get to pick four classes to take. My degree programme allows me to pick from a wide range of classes. This quarter, I’m taking a mix of International Studies and Sustainability classes. Having the freedom to choose has allowed me to pick topics that I’d taken an interest in during my first and second years of uni, such as American foreign policy. Learning about American politics in the US, surrounded by American students, has given me an insight into the culture and politics here.
I’ve had to get used to having almost daily assignments and learning in a different format to the lectures and seminars back home. However, it’s been a refreshing change that has allowed me to explore how I learn most effectively.
Soon I have to decide on my classes for the next quarter. Changing the classes I take more frequently is allowing me to gain a wider knowledge of global development and highlights areas I definitely want to learn more about.