Hannah - University of Florida

B. Environmental Science
Semester 2, 2014

Academic experience

Whilst studying at the University of Florida, I was able to take 3 courses which equated to the 12 credit hours needed for the semester. I studied a first-year chemistry subject, a vertebrate biodiversity subject, and an English course. I recommend not doing any subjects which are chemistry, maths, or physics-related as from personal experience and from what I've heard from fellow students, these subjects are much too hard for an exchange student looking to have fun. Otherwise, all other academic fields were very manageable and interesting!

Personal experience

Living in Gainesville means you most definitely will get to experience all a college town has to offer. "Gator Nation" as the name suggests, is based on the University's football team, the Gators, which is why I recommend going there in the second semester as this is football season. Football season means you get to experience true college spirit and get involved in tailgating. Greek Life is also a large component to life at UF, and is especially easy to get involved in if you're a girl, as frat parties are open to all girls even if you are not a part of a sorority. 

UF's football team, the Gators!
Go Gators!


I would also highly recommend taking part in the 'Navigators' program, which is where international students get paired with an American who is already attending the University of Florida. Through the program, I made many friends and had so many great experiences and got to go to lots of cool places which I definitely wouldn't have gone to if I hadn't joined. Some of the activities on offer in the fall semester include trips to: Ginnie springs, Universal studios, Memphis and a cruise to the Bahamas'. All activities were very reasonably priced with a cruise to the Bahamas's costing me approximately $300!

Accommodation

I lived on campus at Weaver hall which is made up of half international students and half American's. I definitely recommend living on campus as you get to meet so many more people very easily, and if you have a meal plan, you get to sit with friends in the dining hall and have meals together. I would recommend getting a meal plan if you like the convenience and aren't a good cook... like myself.

Professional development and employability

In going on an exchange semester, your employment opportunities are immediately enhanced. Attending UF was a good idea for myself as I'm studying a bachelor of environmental science and UF is known for having an excellent biology department, which was evident from the lectures given for my vertebrate biodiversity course.

Highlight

Going to the University of Florida was incredibly fun, and I would encourage everyone if I could so sign up for it! Meeting so many amazing people was definitely the best part of my exchange experience, and it really broadens your outlook on other cultures. In general, there were a lot of English, Dutch, French and fellow Australians. You definitely won't have any trouble meeting friends as everyone is very welcoming and in the same boat as you, wanting to make lots of new friendships.

Top tips

  • Above all, you need to know you will have fun anywhere you go as long as you are up for trying new things and meeting new people. 
  • Go Gators!
Hannah - University of Florida