Bryn Kerr

Bryn Kerr

My time on exchange at the University of Texas at Austin was an incredible experience and an amazing way to finish my time at university. I completed a one semester exchange during the fall and would have happily continued on for another semester if it weren’t for the fact I was finishing my degree. I cannot thank AUOA enough for providing me with the financial support that enabled me to have this experience.
One of the first things I did when I got into Austin was get in touch with the college rugby team. The team was very welcoming and I was immediately immersed in a large group of American students who were eager to show a kiwi exchange student a good time at their college.

The American college sports experience is second to none as it is taken very seriously and nothing but a full commitment to your sport and team is expected. I was part of the University of Texas Rugby Sevens team that trained up to six times a week and competed in televised tournaments, an experience which would not be available to me anywhere else. The team hosted many social mixers and we travelled around Texas numerous times—it was therefore a big part of my exchange experience.

Another standout was my accommodation at the Pearl Street Cooperative, part of the College Housing Organisation. This was an experience I will never forget as it was essentially like living in a 100-person hall of residence except it was run by the students rather than wardens. College Housing provides cheap, communal housing for students in return for four hours labour per week and compliance with their tenancy rules. The labour includes things like cooking, maintenance, cleaning, yoga instruction etc. and all contributes to the smooth running of the house you live in.

The organisation is an all-inclusive, cooperative living structure which attracts people from many backgrounds, therefore offering an experience to live with an extremely diverse range of people. Living at Pearl Street was easily one of the most fun and exciting experiences I have had.

A great part of living in Austin was the travel opportunities that were available by virtue of its location. For a start, Texas is an amazing place with a lot of history and there are endless things to do and see around the State from national parks to huge cities. Dallas, Houston, and San Marcos were some of the places I visited while in Texas. New Orleans, Louisiana was certainly a highlight out of the places I travelled to during the semester. Texans are very proud of their State and its history, and after spending a semester there I find myself sharing their appreciation of it. I now consider Texas a must see for anyone travelling to the Unites States and I am eager to return there at some point in the near future.
I am very grateful for the financial support from AUOA. Your generosity is very much appreciated and I believe your contribution was pivotal in the overall enjoyment of my exchange experience.