I cannot believe how time flies! It has already been 2 weeks since I started my journey as an exchange student in New York, and I feel like I just landed.
First of all, I’ll tell you a bit about the University that is hosting me - St John’s University. It is a private, Roman Catholic University, organised into six schools; I am part of the College of Professional Studies (CPS) and I am taking five classes about my major field, Public Relations.
The Queens campus is massive and I still get lost sometimes! There are many academic buildings, eight halls of residence, the St. Augustine Library and athletics facilities, such as the Carnesecca Arena, where sport teams play basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, baseball and softball. There is also a gym for students, where I go sometimes to do fitness classes with my friends.
Luckily, I have already made some good friends. My roommate Evee is very nice, she is American and she takes us into New York city to show us the best spots and dining places. One of my flatmates (here they’re called ‘suite mates’) is a Leeds Beckett student, Georgina, from Manchester. We did not really know each other before arriving here, but as soon as we landed, we became friends straight away. In fact, we spend lots of time together, and we hang around with another exchange student from Melbourne called Annabelle.
As mentioned already in my previous post, the campus is in walking distance from my halls (Henley Road residence) but there is also a shuttle bus service from the hall to the campus running for students – it even runs during the night. I live in Queens (one of the 5 district of New York, the others are Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island) and it only takes a short trip to get to the heart of NYC. I love going to Manhattan, where all the major monuments, museums and famous attractions are, as well as the best shopping districts in the world!
Let me tell you about my first impressions of the Big Apple: HUGE & STUNNING! During the first weekend, I went to see my university’s basketball team play a game at the Madison Square Garden, one of the biggest and most famous arenas in the world! Having played basketball for 15 years, I was super excited! Our team lost, but my friends and I really enjoyed the game and we have decided to go back there soon.
Last weekend, I turned 21; this is such a big event in the US, because it means that you are legally independent and allowed to drink alcohol. In Italy, we actually have big celebrations for the 18th birthday rather than 21st, so this day was not such a big deal for me. However, one of my best friends lives in Baltimore, where she plays basketball for her college team. She invited me over for the weekend and, since we have not seen each other for for over 2 years, I decided to jump on a bus and go see her! The first day she showed me the city, we went to see the Harbour and we had an amazing cheesecake to celebrate. It was a nice tour, even though it was very very cold! (It was around -15° degrees!)
In the evening, we went out to celebrate with her teammates and friends from college... I finally had the chance to celebrate my birthday, “American style”, and that was so much fun! The day after, we took a train to Washington DC and we visited the Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall and the White House!
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to tell you more about how I am exploring NY!
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