Julia Isoyama

Julia Isoyama

I would like to thank the Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc., very much for their generous award of this scholarship which allowed me to study at Florida International University. It was the best few months of my life.
The weather has been getting colder and according to the locals Miami has been the coldest it’s been in a very long time. My classes this semester have been great, I have challenged myself by taking some more challenging classes, such as the Animal Behaviour class along with the optional laboratory class. The professor for this class is the mayor of South Miami and he is extremely clever. I have learnt so much about Zoology and the ecological and environmental issues of Florida – something I never would have had the chance to learn had I not been on exchange here. The laboratory class included a trip to Everglades National Park, an amazing place.
My experience of taking classes in a university in America has been a real-eye opener. There are so many cultural differences and differences in teaching style between Otago University and Florida International University. One significant difference is the way in which they award grades. Here, the grading schemes and awarding of credit varies based on every individual professor, rather than the overarching subject department of the class. Although it has been a challenge adjusting to life in Miami, I have maintained excellent grades. I am also trying to make the most of my time here.

I have really enjoyed exploring Miami, a city that before this opportunity, was so unfamiliar and unlike anything I have been used to in New Zealand. I really enjoyed visiting “Zoo Miami” where I saw some elephants for the very first time (my favourite animal). During times where I was able to get ahead in my studies, and during the winter break, I took the opportunity to travel to places in the US that I have always wanted to go to. Along with some other exchange students, I travelled to New York, Las Vegas, California, and Orlando. This was an opportunity for some personal growth and provided some memories that I will always treasure.
I would like to thank the Alumni of the University of Otago in America Inc., again for this incredible opportunity.