Kristin - Purdue University

B. Engineering / B. Science
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

I study a dual degree in Chemical/Biological Engineering and Science, so I chose to take courses from both faculties to suit my study plan. The four courses I chose were CHE306 (CHEE3004), CHE348 (CHEE3005), CHE456 (CHEE4060) and BIO221 (MICR2000). 

A big difference to me when I went to my first lecture was the class size. The lecture streams were much smaller than at UQ and your tutors always attended these lectures. This made it really easy to get to know your lecturers and tutors and get individual help when needed.

The workload and assessment was conducted quite differently to what I expected. Having weekly homework submissions for most of my courses often felt like a challenge, but it helps you to keep up with the work and not fall behind. Most courses also had multiple mid-term exams and a final, which were all worth equal percentage (usually much lower than UQ finals!). Although I found this quite stressful at the start, the other students were really motivated more than willing to help - so make lots of friends!

Personal experience

There's so much to do in the US and travelling around is pretty easy. Before, during and after my semester I was able to travel to Canada, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City. Travelling alone and with friends allowed me to develop a new level of independence and I had so much fun just spontaneously exploring new places. 

Being an international student, I was able to take advantage of all the international events. It was a great way to meet new people, both domestic and international students, and learn about their culture. I definitely believe I made some life-long friendships here.

Accommodation

College football
College football

I lived on campus at Wiley Hall and it was my first time living in a dorm. I loved living on campus as it made travelling and meeting people so much easier. Wiley has a very central location on campus, so I was only a short 6-minute walk from the Engineering buildings. It also has its own dining court next door and the gym is right across the road.

I was lucky enough to have an exchange student from another country as my roommate, so we bonded really well. I think it's so important to try to get along with your roommate as it made all the difference for me and she ended up being one of my closest friends there. 

As far as the dorms go, I would definitely recommend Wiley, Tarkington (only boys) or Owen for their location. The girls-only dorm, Windsor Hall, was also amazing with great facilities and it's close to the academic campus. Try to avoid Shreve and Meredith.

Professional development and employability

Studying on the other side of the world and in a completely new environment felt like I had thrown myself in the deep end. However, I learnt how to really put in the hard work, adapt to the new situation and network with people from around the world. 

The engineering internships and job opportunities are undoubtedly more abundant in the US. I would definitely recommend going to events all the big, international companies hold at Purdue, as it gave me a great insight into what they look for in employees and how to conduct yourself at such events.

Highlight

I personally loved living in the dorms. It was so close to campus and you always had friends around to talk to and go out with. The lobby, study and lounge areas were open 24/7 and I loved just being able to go downstairs and hang out with friends at any time.

Also, as I was there for the Fall semester, I got to experience my first real Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. The dorms were really fun for this as everyone gets really into decorating your floor and the atmosphere is so much fun!

Top tips

  • Don't worry about going out there on your own. I am generally a shy person but I found this to be a great way to put yourself out there, talk to people and have fun
  • Even if you're not a big sports fan, at least go to the football and basketball games! The college atmosphere is amazing and you'll get to experience the marching band, cheerleaders and everything stereotypically American.
  • Be prepared for the winter with a decent jacket and boots. The cold can be so unpredictable and walking in the dark to an 8am exam in -16 degrees is not something someone warned me about. Aside from that, the snow is awesome.
  • Make the most of your time there as the semester flies by so quickly!
Kristin - Purdue University