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"Here, everything is different"

by Amandine Delannoy and Juan Albero

Hello everyone:

We are two exchange students who want to share their experience. We come from Europe, and here, in West Virginia, everything is different.

First of all all, Morgantown is an amazing city. For us the Fall here is very beautiful. In Europe, the leaves turn yellow, not red. It is something new, and very nice. Also, we have had the opportunity of getting inside the campus life in such a student city. Good parties are everywhere!! Very open people.

Woodburn Hall, in Fall

Woodburn Hall, in Fall

Living in the United States in between all the other American students is really unique. Speaking English of course was hard at the beginning, but we got used to it and I think we all are improving a lot. The first thing that caught my attention when walking down the street to go to school was that people are really friendly here. They are always smiling and waiving hello, even if we don’t know them so much. I think that this is one of the big differences with Europe, where people are a bit colder. Actually here is a pretty strong evidence of American generosity: we met a guy at school whose name is Zak, and he offered us to join him to go to New York City last weekend. We spent 3 amazing days there and had a lot of fun with him. He had friends living in NY who welcomed us without even knowing us at first, and we felt surprised but mostly grateful in front of so much graciousness.

Weekend trip to NYCWeekend trip to NYC: Christine, Zak, Amandine and Juan in front of the Empire State Building.

Despite all the fun that we have here, we also study a lot. We both are studying in the College of Law of Morgantown, and Law here is really different than in Europe. For us Common Law is a complete mess. Everything is spread, and we have to pay attention to a lot of different sources. In Europe, almost eveything is in the Codes and Statutes. Jurisprudence is not as important as here. We don´t have binding principles as strong as here. Knowing this Law is going to be very useful for us. Moreover, Law in the United States is a graduate program, whereas in Europe Law is an undergraduate program. Therefore, law students in Europe are not all as serious and involved here during the first year because they just come from high school.

Apart from the Law stuff, we have been very lucky because this year is the election of the U.S. President. We watched the debates and we are getting information about the different policies and points of view. We noticed that both Romney and Obama are very good speakers. Charismatics leaders. Besides, on January we are going to Washington to attend to the inauguration of the new President.

Other very nice things to experience here are the American traditions. The United States celebrate many events that we usually don’t celebrate in Europe. The closest one to be is Halloween, which will occur this Wednesday. This weekend, a lot of house parties will be thrown throughout Morgantown and we are really excited about wearing costumes for this occasion. In both France and Spain, grownups don’t do anything for Halloween; only kids wear costumes and ask for candies. Late November will then be Thanksgiving, which appears to be a very familiar event. We are truly looking forward to eat some turkey and feel the ambiance of that very special day!

Even though we are here since a few months only, we already truly love America. This country is really unique and we are both amazed about what we see here in our daily life. If someone would like to study abroad in the USA, we would strongly recommend Morgantown,West Virginia; a city which has all a student is looking for :)

Experiencing Mountaineer Football with fellow International House residents

Experiencing Mountaineer Football with fellow International House residents

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