Josephine - Arizona State University

Bachelor of Science/Business Management
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

At Arizona State University I studied Cross Cultural Management, Fundamentals of Finance, Microbiology, Advanced Immunology and Genetics. I would recommend saving up some elective subjects if you can, as I had none which made the workload slightly heavier. For most courses at ASU, a pass is 70% and lectures aren't recorded - but you generally get a fair amount of credit for attendance, and going to lectures ends up being pretty fun and it helps you to make the most of the exchange experience. Arizona State also (depending on the subjects) has less large exams and assignments, instead having more weekly small homework tasks and more frequent but smaller exams. This was great because often the exams would only cover the previous 4/5 weeks of content, making the workload overall smaller and less stressful. Overall the academic part of the experience was pretty easy and not stressful, which left most of your time free to do other things and explore America!

Personal experience

Going on exchange is probably the best thing I have ever decided to do, and Arizona State is an amazing place to go if you're looking for the full American college experience. I was lucky enough to live with two very kind American housemates, as well as making other really good American friends who I still keep in contact with almost daily. Arizona State is also very good with holding events for all of the exchange students, which means that I am now also fortunate enough to have made lifelong friends who live all over the world.

Arizona State also has so much school pride and events happening all the time, and there are genuinely no weeks where there is not something going on. I went in Semester 1 which is basketball season, and there are two games a fortnight which all students get free tickets to (and you get free Arizona State merchandise at every single game). There is always something to do at Arizona State, and there are is no excuse to be at home, or bored with nothing to do. 

Also, Arizona is within driving distance of California and Nevada, meaning travel and exploring Arizona as well as many of the other American states was easy - and the other exchange students are just as excited as you are to go on spontaneous adventures and make the most of the experience.

Accommodation

While at Arizona State I lived on-campus at Vista Del Sol, which was really convenient as it was literally a ten minute walk to all of my classes and it was very central to everything else in Tempe. There is also a college called Villas at Vista Del Sol, but it is actually just part of the Vista Del Sol complex so it doesn't matter which one you apply for. The application says that spots at college aren't guaranteed, and they probably aren't, but I didn't hear of anyone applying and not being allocated a space. 

Vista has really good facilities including a gym, cinema, pool, hot tub, grocery store, and food shops like Domino's, so it basically has everything you could possibly need to be entertained. I would really recommend Vista Del Sol to anyone who is looking at going on exchange to Arizona State. With on-campus living, you also have a meal plan which means you eat some of your meals at the campus dining halls. I should also mention that the Barrett Honours College has the best dining hall on campus, and I found this out fairly late in my exchange and I wish someone had told me how good it was earlier!

Alternatively, the other really popular place to live was off-campus at The District - which was right down the street from Vista. Honestly if you're 20 or 21 years old I would probably also recommend living at The District, as there are always events there and this is where a lot of other exchange students lived - and I spent the same amount of time hanging out with friends at The District as I did at Vista Del Sol.

Costs

Living at college in America is quite expensive, and at Arizona State you'll probably find yourself paying between $750 and $1000 per month on rent whether you choose to live on or off campus. I'd also highly recommend setting aside money for travel, as there are so many interesting cities around the United States that you may as well explore while you have the chance! I think that a budget of at least $10,000 dollars (maybe slightly more, depending on how much you plan on travelling around) would be ideal, as it is easier to have money left over at the end than to find yourself running out of money part way through your exchange.

Professional Development

Considering I moved to Arizona State knowing no one else, my exchange forced me to be more outgoing and confident than I have ever been before. Being on exchange puts you in so many unfamiliar situations, and I find myself naturally being more confident and outgoing now than I ever was before my exchange. My time at Arizona State also showed me how beneficial being on top of all of your subjects can be, as I really valued the spare time that I spent when I wasn't stressed about catching up on hours of lectures - and this is something I am trying (and succeeding, kind of...) to bring back to my semesters at UQ. 

Highlight

Probably the biggest highlight for me was the friends I made. Whether they were American students or exchange students like me, every person who I became close with on my exchange made my experience one that will never be forgotten. For Easter, I had a very kind friend bring me and a few other girls to her house for the most biggest and most beautiful Easter brunch I have ever seen. Her generosity while I was at Arizona State inspires me to make anyone I meet who is an exchange student studying at UQ feel as welcome and at home as I felt at Arizona State.

Other highlights include the travelling I was able to do, seeing amazing places such as the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, San Francisco and New York City, as well as going to all the basketball games with my closest friends (especially the Arizona State vs. University of Arizona game). Literally every week brought new and absolutely unforgettable memories.

Top tips

My one and only tip to students considering going on exchange to Arizona State is to just do it. It has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I would highly recommend student exchange at Arizona State to absolutely everyone.