Steven - University of South Carolina

B Engineering (Honours) / B Commerce
Semester 2, 2022


The main motivation for this experience was to take full advantage of attending university/college in another country to experience how different it is compared to Australia. For me, this was once in a life time opportunity in which I wanted to take part in.

Personal Development

From taking part in this exchange, I have been exposed to so many new things which has broadened my horizon. Specifically engaging, communicating and networking with American people was one of my biggest takes from this experience. I made long lasting friendships with people in America and got to enjoy the American college experience. Furthermore, living by myself for 4.5 months was a challenge at first, but after persevering and getting into a constant routine, it has made me more resilient. With meeting new people every day and interacting with the college community, I have definitely improved my communication skills.

Academic Development

With regards to academics, American college compared to Australian university is a little more lenient in some regards. Changes in assignment dates and assessment pieces are up to the lecturers if they want to change it throughout the semester, compared to Australia where once it is set, dates and assignments can’t be changed. In a way this made academics in America slightly easier, as sometimes lecturers would extend the date of assessment pieces being due. With regards to the material taught, lectures are not recorded, meaning that attending each one was a necessity to stay one top of material. Most days I had 8am starts which required me to be responsible with my sleeping pattern, and waking up early enough to attend class. The classes that I had in America where small in size which I enjoyed as there is more focus given to each student in the class. All my classes had lots of small assessment pieces to do, rather than a few big assessment pieces. This made the workload easier to complete as it was more spread out over time. With regards to my overall workload, I never felt under pressure and was slightly easier to bare compared to a normal workload at UQ.

Professional Development

During my time at the University of South Carolina, I became a thinking globally ambassador. This was a position that required me as well as others from around the world to present a 20-minute presentation to first year students in their U101 class (A class which all first-year students are required to complete). This position definitely contributed to my professional development. I got to stand up in front class rooms and present a PowerPoint presentation about Australian culture in which significantly improved my public speaking skills. Furthermore, this opportunity allowed me to improve my communication skills by interacting with students in the class room by answering their questions, and enlightening them on the differences between American and Australian culture. From this opportunity, I was able to meet and network with staff that work in the universities international student’s office. This has further broadened my networks that I now have at the University of South Carolina.


Breakdown of overall cost of Exchange in AUS$:

  • Flights - $3000
  • Accommodation and other miscellaneous university fees - $10000
  • Meal plan- $2000-$3000(depending on which one you pick; meal plan is also optional.)

TOTAL = $16000I would recommend also having at least $2000 in spending cash.


The Grant that I received (which was valued at $2000) allowed me to mostly cover my flight costs, which was extremely helpful and benefited me greatly.


Exchange students at the university of South Carolina are placed into on campus dorm living with other first year university students. I did not find out about my living situation until 1 week before I departed Australia. For the first 2 weeks of my semester I was placed in a hotel room while the housing department were trying to fit me and another 100 exchange students in a dorm living situation. You don't get to pick where you'll live and after 2 weeks, I was placed into the honors college dorm. Living at honors was very nice. There was a buffet restaurant down stairs at level one and the living conditions/amenities were amazing. I had a roommate as well as two other suite mates. The living situation was set up so there were 2 people living in 1 room, 2 people living in the room next door and a bathroom which acted as a connection to transverse between the two rooms. I had no issues with my roommate or suite mates. This living situation straight away allowed me to make friends with a few Americans which was definitely a pro. An obvious con for this living situation is that you have to share a bathroom, however it isn't as bad as you think. Another con would be sometimes it can get noisy outside the hall. A really great positive for living in the honors college residence is that there are many great quite study spots on all 6 levels of the building. I found this extremely helpful and loved that I could just leave my room, walk 10 seconds to a quite study room and concentrate on work and assignments. It’s for this reason that I visited the main library less of the time.


The college football games where definitely one of the biggest highlights of my experience. It’s an absolutely amazing atmosphere. You can only truly understand and experience it by being physically there. Making lifelong friendships with American people. Exploring the city of Columbia SC as well as visiting other places around the united states. One of my dorm mates was from Atlanta, and during a long weekend, he invited me to come spend the weekend in Atlanta with him. This was such an amazing experience. His parents were so welcoming and friendly, allowing me to stay the night at their place of residence. In Atlanta, I got to see the city and watch an NFL game in the Mercedes Benz stadium. I got to spend thanks giving day in Columbia SC at one of my dorm mates grandma’s houses with him and his extended family. This being my first thanks giving, it was definitely a great experience which I truly enjoyed. Studying and experiencing the American college life.

Advice/Top Tips

Definitely make sure when you go to America that you have a sufficient amount of cash. It is definitely more enjoyable when you are not worrying about saving money or going over a budget. Make friends and talk to the American people. Its great if you can form a friend group with Americans, so that they can help you out. You can also hang out with them which is definitely part of the experience. Don’t be afraid to take on new opportunities when they arise. The exchange is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity, and while you are on exchange, you'll want to do and see as much as you can. I recommend buying a meal plan. A meal plan just makes life so much easier as you don't have to worry about making or preparing food.