When I arrived in the United States I was in complete culture and climate shock.
“Welcome to the USA” was the first sign I saw after passing through U.S. Customs into the JFK airport in New York. A more appropriate sign however, would have read, “welcome to the land of food!”
I have been to the United States before, but I did not really pay attention to the amount of food that is thrown at you everywhere you go. Not literally of course, but how often someone would offer you something to eat. However, it was never fruit or vegetables I was offered, but weird mash-ups that I as a Swede have never heard before, like fried ice-cream, “cronut,” hamburger-pizza, etc. With these new, unique foods, I was compelled to try them all. To my surprise I loved them! Because that is what you do in the United States as a foreigner, you try thing that you would not dream of doing or eating back home.
My first impression of Charlotte was how hot it was outside. Everyone loves air conditioning when it’s too hot outside, but not when it’s as cold Sweden indoors. I don’t get it. I love the air conditioning when it’s 30 degrees Celsius (oops! I mean 90 degrees Fahrenheit) outside.
So if you see some students wearing huge winter sweaters in the dining hall, it is probably just international students not used to the air conditioning. They may look angry, or even mean, but that’s just because they left cold counties to spend the semester in the warm south of the United States, and found, to their big surprise, freezing indoors. Another way to spot international students is when you see a student who sighs of relief when they step outside.
Choosing a university from only information found on the Internet is like online dating. As an international exchange student there was really no opportunity to fly to the United States and look at the universities here. So I had to settle with what I could find out through Internet stalking. Queens University stood out from the beginning. It looked beautiful in photographs, was close to a larger city, had excellent reviews from previous students and was in a warmer climate such as the one I am used to. All of my criteria had been met, and I just hoped that Queens would find me interesting as well!
Not to sound too corny, but Queens exceeded my every expectation. Pictures simply do not do the campus justice. It is truly breathtaking. The location is amazing and the teachers, students, ambassadors, advisers, cab drivers and dining hall staff have all been super welcoming and nice.
So my leap of faith paid of, I just hope with my short time here that I will make the best of it.