Finding out in america: “All of the clichés are true!”

After spending four intense months in the United States, Eva, 22, can only think about leaving. This experience, very short according to the student-engineer, allowed him, however, to discover a country that constantly lives in excess.

In her fifth year of biological and agri-food engineering at the Polytech Montpellier engineering school, Eva has just returned to France, ready to resume her student life. And yet, for four months, from August to December last, she lived at the pace of American students, at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in Minneapolis. “It was four months of happiness, we don’t see the time pass”, she exclaims. Even though everything was decided very quickly for Eva, expatriating several thousand kilometers from her home was an incredible experience.

Studies abroad? The chance to take advantage without hesitation

“I always told myself that one day I would work abroad. Last year, the school introduced us to the various agreements that existed between Polytech and foreign universities, I immediately wanted to take a chance! For me, it was an opportunity to gain experience, improve my English and test my willingness to go abroad. I considered Canada first. An opening became available at the University of Minnesota, and after much hesitation, I accepted. The United States, along with New Zealand and Australia, were among my favorite countries, so doubts gave way to excitement.”

Everything was decided in March, for a match scheduled for August. I took the TOEFL in May, it was a necessary condition to validate my application. In June, I officially knew I was leaving. I had never left France and my loved ones for so long, but once there, we don’t see time pass, we just ask to enjoy it, ” she says.

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Life in the United States: Strengths, Weaknesses

Eva was immediately seduced by this “American” life “Everything is excessive, the clichés we have about the United States are true. I experienced this particularly at sporting events organized by the university. There were over 50,000 people, planes flying over the matches, a crazy atmosphere… It was amazing!”

Housed on campus, the student experienced this sometimes delirious atmosphere up close. “I wanted a room in the residence. It was much more expensive, but it had a direct view of the football field and the university’s sports hall. I saw the students practicing, the ‘cheerleaders’ (American name for cheerleaders, Editor’s Note) repeat… Campus life is very important, it’s like in the movies and this allows you to live the experience at 100%“, assures Eve. The student was also very grateful. the quality of teaching that she received. “I adapted very quickly, whether it’s taking notes in English or taking classes. Being close to the teachers helps us feel good in class.”

Eva took advantage of her stay in the United States to get to know American culture. // © Photo provided by the witness

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However, some black spots remain. The cost of living is on average 31% higher than in France (depending on expat cost). For her four months in the United States, Eva paid $4,500 for her roommate. “The food is also very expensive: 8 dollars for fresh pasta. I was quite suspicious of the products offered, as many are frozen. To this must be added taxes, that differ from state to state at the time of checkout.” Also note: tips are mandatory in restaurants and bars.

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Make the most of your stay… from day one

According to Eva, if there’s only one thing to remember about this experience, it’s to enjoy it as soon as it arrives. “I told myself I had time, But anyway, I waited too long and the exams arrived. There are things I haven’t had time to do or see…” The student even allowed herself a few days in New York and Chicago. Eva also enjoyed her student life by participating in events organized by the university: games, fairs, parades, concerts…”I would recommend joining a club to fit in well. Americans work in a ‘group’ mode, it’s not in the classes that you make friends, but in the clubs. And since there’s something for everyone, even if you don’t stay there for a long time, it helps you bond faster.”

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The student also advises to start the steps to leave for the United States as soon as possible. in particular to do visa application. “We have to make an appointment with the American embassy in Paris, there is an interview, a questionnaire to fill in… We must not do this at the last minute.” If you plan to go out in the winter, during your preparations, don’t make it too loaded. You can find clothes adapted to the cold directly on site and at more attractive prices.

In the end, I was counting the days because I didn’t want to leave… So don’t hesitate to start, everything will be fine”, concludes Eva.

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United States Eve leaf

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