Chloe - University of Wyoming

B. Commerce / Information Technology
Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

At UW I took two courses towards my business information systems commerce major: intro to information management (IMGT2400) and Accounting information systems 1 (ACCT3610). I was also able to take a UI/UX design course (COSC3900) towards my IT degree and a compulsory commerce management course (MGT3210).

I found the smaller class sizes really enjoyable. For example, in my accounting class there were only nine students, and by the end of the first class, my professor knew everyone’s name, which made it easier to have class discussions.

Each class would have at least one piece of assessment due each week, which was difficult to adjust to coming from UQ. This, however, made final exams easier and meant I did not even need to study for some of mine as I knew I had already passed!

Personal experience

While on exchange I really got to immerse myself in the college/cowboy culture at UW. I was able to attend college basketball/hockey games and a rodeo. Laramie is also home to a bar called the Cowboy, which is open for under 21s on Wednesday nights for swing dancing (definitely not as lame as it sounds!). Frolf is another thing I did not know existed until I went to Wyoming. It’s a mixture of golf and frisbees and something everyone who visits needs to experience! They even have a special Frolf course set up with designated “holes” in LaPrele Park.

One of my good friends was in a fraternity and invited me to quite a few of their events; I can confirm, it’s exactly the same as in the movies. I even got to attend the ΣΑΕ Spring formal, where the whole fraternity made a weekend trip down to Steamboat, Colorado and another formal called Paddy Murphy.

Laramie is about two hours away from the Denver airport so I also had a ton of opportunities for weekend trips to places such as San Francisco and Chicago. Altogether I ended up visiting 18 states as I got to travel before, during and after the semester. I even learnt to ski before the semester started down in Colorado and visited friends in other parts of Wyoming like Jackson Hole, Cody, Cheyenne and Casper. 

Accommodation

I wanted to go for the whole American college experience so applied to stay at White Hall, one of the dorms on campus. It was here I made a ton of lifelong friends, both domestic and international. I also had the most amazing roommate, who I made regular trips to Walmart, Starbucks and the nearest shopping mall with throughout the semester. After the semester finished she invited me up to visit her in Yellowstone and came to visit me in Australia too.

If you’re looking at UW I would definitely recommend White Hall over other dorms, as it has been most recently refurbished and has way nicer elevators. Not only is it the tallest building in the state (12 stories), it also has doors rather than shower curtains in the bathrooms and it houses most of the freshmen athletes, so you know it’s legit. 

Budget

Board and the compulsory meal plan for the dining hall were about $8000 AUD for the semester. Combined with my travel and shopping I probably spent about $16,000 AUD altogether.

Professional development and employability

Going on exchange definitely helped me improve my organisational and time management skills as I travelled quite a few places by myself. I also took the accounting information systems course, which I probably would not have taken if I had not gone on exchange. This taught me how to use QuickBooks accounting software and I now have a better understanding of its real-world application.

Highlight

My roommate, an Italian exchange student and I at a basketball game in university colours
My roommate, an Italian exchange student and I at a basketball game in university colours

One of the highlights of my semester was definitely spring break. I rented a car with four other students from France, Norway and Sweden and we did a massive road trip through 12 amazing parks across six different states. During the trip, we got to visit Arches National Park in Utah, went kayaking Lake Powell Arizona, rock climbing in Goosenecks State Park Utah, hiking in the Grand Canyon, won some money in Vegas and watched the sunrise over the sand dunes in Death Valley. Because we were camping it also cost less than most of the weekend trips I took during the semester as well, coming in at around $500 USD for the entire week.

Top tips

Just do it! Put yourself out there and make as many friends as possible. 

Also, if you pick UW, make sure you go up to visit the Tetons and Yellowstone, the park is magical and there are so many buffalo, bears and elk running around. And if you’re going in spring semester expect A LOT of snow! It was still snowing in May (almost summer) which was amazing.

Chloe - University of Wyoming