My name is Maeve Jones and I was on exchange at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2013. This was a great semester where I was given lots of opportunities to fully immerse myself in Longhorn life. I am very thankful for the Alumni funds that helped me get there. The funds were received at the perfect time to help me purchase my flights and I am very grateful for the generosity of the donors.
As an English and linguistics student I was able to take courses that exposed me to the cultural and linguistic diversity in the United States. This was a great way to learn about the history and the some of the social and political dynamics of one of the most influential countries in the world. It was invaluable to be able to study the English language from a completely different perspective.
I had a large workload on the exchange and found it very academically rewarding. The American teaching style meant a lot more writing tasks than what we are used to in New Zealand so I was really able to hone both my writing skills and my time management. The sheer size of the institution meant there were many amazing sporting and cultural opportunities available that we would not receive in New Zealand and I loved taking advantage of these.
During the semester I chose to live in co-operative housing, which was a real highlight of the exchange. The co-operative model is not one that exists in the New Zealand university system and I found it very inspiring. Everyone contributed to the running and upkeep of the house and took responsibility for themselves. Whilst living in such a large and diverse country like the U.S. enhanced my understanding of the world, the co-op living experience made me realise the importance of looking after the people in our communities and helping each other.
The finish line of the Capital to Coast relay that I participated in with the University of Texas running club