Macquarie University student Courtney West enjoys a game of American football in Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland.
Macquarie University student Courtney West enjoys a game of American football in Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland.

Macquarie student gets a taste of American college life

Courtney West is doing a Bachelor of Arts – Psychology with the degree of Bachelor of Health and recounts her exchange to the University of Maryland last session.

“It has always been a dream of mine to study in the USA. I had no idea what to expect while living on an American university campus, or ‘college’ as Americans refer to it. What I encountered at the University of Maryland was a life-changing experience.

College life in America is, surprisingly, quite accurately depicted in films – from the yellow school buses to the idolisation of college sport players, fraternities and sororities. My favourite aspect was the school spirit and traditions. Every student proudly promotes ‘M Pride’ and it is something I wish resonated more in Australian universities.

I was lucky enough to have a roommate who eagerly introduced me to a group of people within my first week. Countless friendships and memories were formed, including the celebration of my first American Halloween and Thanksgiving.

They showed me around Washington D.C. and joined me for football games, basketball games and ‘Maryland Madness’, a tribute to Maryland’s basketball history. Something I will never forget would be seeing the Obama family at the Maryland versus Oregon State basketball game.

I have now seen the White House, watched my favourite band perform in their home state, flown in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, seen the casinos of Las Vegas, walked along Hollywood Boulevard, visited Disneyland in Los Angeles and skied on a mountain higher than Mount Kosciuszko.

The University of Maryland became my new home, a place where people immediately accepted me as part of their family. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but the short-lived experience is one I will always treasure.

I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone given the opportunity. It was the best time of my life thus far.”


Macquarie students are encouraged to add international exchange or short-term international study to their degrees. Find out where you can go and how the University supports you with a generous travel grant scheme.