Oliver Murray

Bachelor of Science student, Oliver Murray, talks about his experience while on exchange to Rutgers University.

Oliver at a Rutgers University college football game. Picture: Supplied

My name is Oliver Murray and I attended Rutgers University in New Jersey (NJ), USA for Semester 2, 2017. I loved this spot because it was situated in a college town that had mostly students living there both on and off campus, and it was only a 50-minute train ride from New York City.

I decided to go on exchange because I really wanted to explore American culture and have a chance to experience living on my own. I have family in the U.S. and I know how much of an influence their culture has on Australia and its culture, so I thought going there and living the ‘college life’ experience would be fantastic insight into something different. It really was.

I loved Rutgers because it was a large school with a breadth of students – many of them are locals because in-state tuition (those who live and attend high school in NJ) may attend for a cheaper price than internationals and out-of-state students. They had a very well-structured exchange program in which I did an orientation for the first week with students from all around the world. This meant I immediately made friends and could easily settle in. We all lived in the same apartment building meaning it was easy to catch up too.

Oliver with friends at the Rutgers University Orientation Day. Picture: Supplied

I made many local friends from the U.S. and I thoroughly enjoyed everything from the college sports to the academics - the professors were very engaging there - and the social events such as parties, clubs and Greek life (fraternities and sororities).

I would highly recommend an exchange program to any students at the University of Melbourne because it gives you such a unique experience. It is easy to travel overseas, but living there and being immersed in the culture gives you a much better perspective of what it’s like. It is all structured, meaning that the institution will organise your accommodation, classes, orientation and even meals too if you organise a meal plan at the dining hall. Moving overseas independent of study would not have this kind of help & support!

My advice to Bachelor of Science students is go to the information sessions as soon as possible because they really got me thinking about firstly whether I wanted to go and secondly where I would be interested in going; there is a lot of choice! Please do come along to the information sessions because there are plenty of students whom have done exchange programs that attend and can tell you all about the experience. Even if you don’t have questions, you can just come and chat – there is so much to say.

Oliver with a friend at a music festival in Central Park. Picture: Supplied

After going on exchange I certainly feel as though I have an appreciation for the different cultures and lifestyles that exist globally. I have done plenty of travelling, but living in the U.S. gave me a real insight into what it’s like over there. I feel as though this perspective is helpful for all areas of life and especially coming in the workplace dealing with colleagues and bosses. I also now feel that I have the experience to make a decision on whether I would live and work overseas after completing my degree. That sort of worldly understanding really is invaluable.

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