Today, we are interviewing Brendan Bernegger from Switzerland. He’s a Freshman at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I knew that by studying abroad in America I would get a very good education and open up great opportunities for my future. It is also perfect for what I want to do later in my life, which is something around sports – hence I chose to study sports communication.
Why did you choose Marist?
I really liked the location. It’s close to New York city, while the college campus is in upstate New York, which gives it a good mix and let’s me concentrates on my studies. I also did a lot of research and read very good reviews about the school and its academics. Since the school is very small, I knew that I could get a lot of help with my work if I needed, and be able to get quality time with my professors and build solid relationships.
What did you expect college life to be like in the U.S.?
To be honest, I expected everything to be one big party. Like probably everyone else, I watched a lot of Hollywood movies and TV shows, and that was what it was all about! It is definitely different from universities or colleges back in Europe. Over there, we don’t really have campuses. Students usually live in off campus apartments around the city, and unfortunately you don’t really get a real college feeling like you do here.
Other than that, I used to live in America before (as I am half American), so I pretty much knew what it was like living here. I didn’t really have a culture shock, but in some cases I had to re-adjust to some things, like food, and drinking age.
What do fellow students say when you tell them you’re from Switzerland?
They ask me why I chose Marist. They ask why I chose such a small school in Poughkeepsie, in the middle of nowhere. And my answer is that although I was lucky and got to travel the entire world and see big cities like Hong Kong, I preferred a good school in a quiet location with an awesome student community. People also ask me if I know Swedish – which makes me laugh every time. And the answer is NO 😉
How do you like living on campus?
I love living on Campus. My dorm is connected to the cafeteria, which is great in the winter time since I don’t have to go outside to get food. And believe me, it gets pretty cold up here! It is also a great way to meet people, living in dorms, sharing a room with someone, hanging out in the common areas. Everyone is so close, that we all have become good friends and go to parties together, take trips, and sometimes even do study sessions.
What is your passion and did you join any clubs at Marist?
I’m very passionate about sports. I have always been. That’s why I’m studying sports communication. My favorite sport is soccer, especially coming from Europe. I have joined the Booster Club here at Marist, which is a fun club where we go to sports games, you can collect points and meet people who share their passion for it.
I also love to travel and meet fellow international students. That’s why I joined the International Club. I get to meet other internationals, make friends with them, and it’s also a great way to stay connected to other cultures in this little town.