Today, we are interviewing Lucy Cardigan from Cambridge, UK, who spent a year studying at the University of Miami.
Why did you study abroad and why did you choose Florida?
I decided to study International Business knowing that going abroad for one year was part of my program, which I thought was brilliant. Now, coming from a rather grey and rainy country, the answer of where I wanted to go was fairly easy. I have always wanted to explore living in a warmer place, especially if it included a nearby beach. When I was presented the university options, all I could hear in my head was the song by Will Smith “Welcome to Miami”.
What were your first few weeks like once you arrived in the U.S? How quickly did you start to get used to the American way of Life?
I have to say that my first few weeks were great! I arrived just before orientation week and instantly met really nice students from my dorm (Americans and International ones). We spent the days making trips to Ikea and other stores to make our dorm rooms look pretty, and explored the city and its surrounding cafes, bars and restaurants.
I made most of my friends during orientation and the first few weeks in class. People would giggle at my British accent and teach me American equivalents: boot = trunk, supper = dinner,… and so one. I was lucky to be surrounded by great, very nice people, who helped me settle in and get used to the American culture and food very quickly.
To be honest though, while living in Miami, many times I felt that I was not in the U.S. Rather, I felt that I was the one speaking a foreign language, since the local language is Spanish most of the time. I remember one specific time when I asked the staff at a supermarket where I could find the asparagus, and the guy just ran off to find a colleague who would be able to speak English with me!
Did you have a job or did you just concentrate on school?
I could not work because of my visa limitations, which is why I worked and saved money all summer prior to my move to Miami. I wanted to make sure I had some pocket money and let myself completely indulge in American College life.
A few weeks into the school year, I found myself helping other international students proofreading their papers, whose native language was not English. One day a few girls from South America approached me and asked if I could tutor them in English on a weekly basis for some pocket money, and so I did.
Do you think you will come back to Miami, or somewhere else in the United States?
Yes. I definitely want to go back and visit the friends I have made whilst being there. I want to explore the west coast and also go to New York. I doubt I will ever move to America for good though. I love it and really enjoyed my time there, however, nothing compares to Europe. I am spoiled with public transport (I dislike driving cars), and the ability to jump on a plane for very little money and explore a completely different country and culture within just a few hours is priceless.