Lachlan - Tulane University

B Economics/Commerce
Semester 1, 2019
New Orleans AKA The Big Easy

Academic experience

At Tulane there is a lot of credit given for attending and participating in the class work, so you shouldn’t have any issues if passing is the only requirement for you. The best place to search for classes is at https://classschedule.tulane.edu

There is a lot of class time at Tulane with compulsory attendance, so it is worth getting to know your professors. I got along really well with all my professors and it makes a huge difference when you’re on exchange because they can be very accommodating for travel plans, etc.

I took ACCN 3010, FINE 3010, ECON 3010, and PSYC 1000. The study abroad office at the business school can provide you with any unit outlines that you need. Make friends with the people in your classes because Tulane is a small school and you’ll definitely run in to them everywhere.

Personal experience

I would highly recommend finding out about TU Rec activities. They have brochures and information at the Riley Centre. They offer all kinds of outdoor adventure trips and it is completely run by the students. I did a rock climbing trip to Sand Rock, Alabama, as well as a kayaking trip to Okatoma Creek in Mississippi. It’s a really cool way to make new friends and to get away for the weekend.

Make the time to go see some of the plantation homes in Louisiana. Oak Alley was the one I went to. You also can’t go to Louisiana and not get out on the bayou! Swamp tours are awesome - if you go on a sunny day you’ll see more alligators.

If you enjoy partying you can’t look past New Orleans. There is literally a parade or festival every single week. My favorite parade was the St Patrick’s Day parade in the Irish Channel. 

If you plan to go during spring semester, you will be there during Mardi Gras. Basically the whole city shuts down and just parties for 5 days. There are constant parades and frat parties the entire time. Midnight before the Tuesday is tequila sunrise when all the students stay up and throw their beads in to the Mardi Gras Tree at Tulane.

Don't stress about getting around the whole of America. There is so much to do in the South, and there is literally ALWAYS something to do in New Orleans.

Accommodation

My rent was $620 USD per month + utilities. I lived with one housemate who was from Houston. I lived just off Maple Street which was perfect for bars, food, street car, and proximity to school. You want to live north of St Charles, East of Carrollton, south of Claiborne, and not too much further east than Calhoun/Palmer. You basically want to live as close to Broadway as possible.

If you are a postgraduate student, and offered a place at Deming, I would not recommend living there. Deming Pavillion is downtown so it can be a hassle having to Uber home every time you want to go out in uptown. There’s also a lot more crime downtown and it can be unsafe at night. If you stay within that square which I outlined, it is patrolled by the TU Police Department. You can also use Tap Ride which is a free taxi service provided by the university for their students.

Costs

The costs were very steep because of the current exchange rates. (2019) I would have spent around $15,000 AUD, but this included Flights, VISA, travel insurance, Tulane compulsory health insurance, and all variable expenses. I also did a lot of travel afterwards, so if you're just doing the exchange it shouldn't come to this amount of money.

Challenge

The biggest challenge for me was finding an appropriate place to live. My advice is to join the Facebook group Tulane classifieds. The best experience you will have is if you join a share house with Americans. 

I prefer meeting my housemates before moving in with people, so I actually just flew there with no housing arrangements. I stayed in a hostel for a couple of weeks whilst navigating the city and exploring a few places to live. (Of course plenty of partying between house searching)

You shouldn't have to do this if you find a place within that area which I outlined above, with other Tulane students. Being spontaneous worked for me, it may not work for you.

Professional Development

Exchange has definitely opened my mind and given me a different perspective. It’s such a cliché, but actually living somewhere for an extended period of time is so different to travelling. Employers like to see people step outside their comfort zones and show evidence of being self-sufficient. I also got some decent connections and information about US internships and grad programs. This is something I will definitely look in to over the remainder of my degree.

Highlight

I had multiple highlights on my trip. Top of the list was The Fly. The Fly was a park on the other side of Audubon Park, on the Mississippi River. Every Friday everyone makes their way to the park after finishing their last class. People bring kegs, picnic blankets, speakers, etc. It’s basically a mini festival every Friday (when the weather is nice), and you can just walk around and meet so many people.

Another highlight was Jazz Fest in New Orleans. This was at the end of April / start of May. Pitbull was headlining. I have never been in a crowd of people that got in to the music as much as a Pitbull crowd.

After finishing the semester I went to Miami for Rolling Loud which is the biggest Hip Hop festival in the world. Headlining was Travis Scott, Migos, and Kid Kudi. This time spent in Miami I also caught up with a few friends that I made from Tulane. They welcomed us in to their homes and showed us around Miami from the locals’ perspective. It was the perfect way to end the trip.

Top tips

Wednesday night is the biggest student night, so Thursday morning is better to leave free when you're allocating class times. This is a big party school, and this is a big party city. It was perfect for a break from life in Australia. Exchange is about making friends, having fun, and enjoying life while you're young.

Try to be as outgoing as possible is my biggest recommendation. Say hi to anyone and everyone. The people in the South are so friendly, and being Australian it’s pretty easy to just start a conversation with anyone. Wave to your neighbors, say good morning to your professors, start a conversation with people in your class. 
The friends I made at Tulane were the friends I traveled with after the semester. I made life long connections and I can’t wait to go back and visit.

If you're a fan of Action Bronson go check out his YouTube video on New Orleans. It gives a perfect insight in to life in the South and the laid back lifestyle of New Orleans. This is a place where people go to eat awesome food, drink copious amounts of alcohol, and just enjoy life. Buy a pushbike and a U bar lock! It's so convenient when all of your friends live within a 10 minute bike ride of your house. This will be your main form of transport as New Orleans public transport isn't amazing.

EAT CRAWFISH!!