The University of Virginia is a class act with an excellent reputation. Reasonably close to the sea and the mountains. But it can get very hot and humid in the summer. It’s worth it for the charm – and you will get some snow in the winter.
Thanks all for the information: it’s been really helpful.
First - unfortunately I’m limited to the universities in my OP. I’d totally love to be able to go anywhere, because I know there’s a heap of places in the US that I’d love to check out (particularly New England), but this is going to be hugely expensive, and the only way I could hope to afford it is by making use of my universities exchange system. Basically, if I go to any of the universities in my OP, I can borrow money from the government to pay any fees associated with the university I go to. At the rate my uni charges, that will be less than $A2000 for one semester. I’ve looked at the fees U.S unis charge, and it puts them completely out of my league. It will be expensive enough as it is, so unfortunately, I can only go to the ones my uni has programs with.
lovelyluka: UArizona does sound great, but I have decided that it isn’t for me. The climate is a deal breaker. It’s a shame, because I’d like to visit the state - I find Phoenix in particular so amazing. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s totally cool that a group of people would head out west, stop in the middle of the desert, and think “it’s hot, dry, desolate… let’s make a city!”
Actually, that’s one thing I think is cool about America - you guys seem to love making cities. You’ll build one anywhere, for whatever reason. “Hey, let’s build a city to be Mormons in!”
This is really helpful - Ohio University looked really pretty and seemed to be good with Journalism, putting it high up on my list. But if Columbus is really as unexciting as you say it is, I might have to rethink this one. I don’t think I’d be able to live without a good city close by.
I know what you mean, but I’m pretty sure Kansas isn’t anything like the outback. Alice Springs isn’t KC.
As I said above, there’s no way I could do it, but I’d totally love to go to somewhere like Boulder. Actually, Denver’s another of those places in the US that intrigues me. Australia’s the flattest continent in the world, and apparently our mountain ranges wouldn’t be considered much more than hills in other countries. I reckon it’d be totally cool to live in a place with such huge mountains so close.
Strange. For some reason (probably the name) I always thought that this was in Washington.
Yeah, the only reason I kept this in the maybe list was that it seemed reasonably close to Atlanta and Charlotte. But I wasn’t too sure how hot it would be or how rural.
No, my list definitely says Buffalo State College, and lists the website as www.buffalostate.edu. The website was good, but I was concerned when it said “Despite what you may have heard, we aren’t just a teaching college.” I thought “I hadn’t heard that!”
I’m becoming less enthused with Buffalo. It seems that Pittsburgh is the better city with the better uni.
Again, thanks for everyone’s response. It seems that my impressions of UVa were fairly accurate, and this is definitely going on my shortlist.
If I’m going to be there from September to December, am I likely to see much snow in Charlottesville?
The other one that I’m really interested in is University of Pittsburgh. It and UVa are both neck and neck at the moment. And thanks to those who offered their email services - I’ll certainly take advantage of them if I can think of some specific questions.
And finally, I may have slightly exaggerated the heat where I am at the moment. It is hot in summer, and it does get reasonably cold in winter (probably down to… 11 degrees C… uh… 50F?), but today being May 3 and me having no problems being in short sleeves at 7pm says that it’s a little too hot. I don’t need anything like Buffalo - although six feet of snow sounds absolutely grand to me (I love the stuff and I’ve only seen it once) - just so long as it gets properly cold, and Autumn is distinct rather than being an extension of summer.
Like the way all those books and movies that I read and saw when I was a kid had snowmen and big coats and white christmasses and all that sort of thing.
If you go to University of Virginia, there’s no way that you can visit Washington more than half a dozen times a year (and to stay more than half a day, you’re going to have to get a motel room nearer Washington). Charlottesville is more than two hours drive from Washington. Were you planning to buy a car when you get to the U.S.? If not, how were you planning to travel? Without a car, how were you planning to get to Washington? Were you planning to get a roommate to drive with you for the weekend to see the sights? Were you planning to take public transportation? What public transportation? A Greyhound bus?
If you wanted to be close enough to see Washington regularly, you’ll have to be in Washington. You might check out Georgetown University and George Washington University. Charlottesville may be a nice college town, but that’s what it is, not a big city. One thing that people from outside the U.S. might not understand is that a lot of important universities and colleges in the U.S. are in towns that are quite a way from any big city. (As paradoxical as it sounds, Australia is more an urban country than the U.S. is. Yes, there’s lots of open space in Australia, but people don’t live there. With only 19 million people in the whole country, Australia has one city (Sydney) as large as Los Angeles, our second largest city, and another (Melbourne) as large as Chicago, our third largest city.)
Yes, University of Pittsburgh and Buffalo State are in cities, but Pittsburgh and Buffalo are not like Melbourne or Sydney. Maybe more like Adelaide perhaps. If you want the big city experience in the U.S., you might check out University of Chicago or New York University. Of course, this is only of importance if you really want to live in a big city while at college in the U.S., and perhaps that’s not what’s really important to you.
Be really careful when you look up an American university to get the name exactly right, because there are lots of universities and colleges in the U.S. with similar names.
> If I’m going to be there from September to December, am I
> likely to see much snow in Charlottesville?
You probably won’t see any snow in Charlottesville. You mean that you only going to be going to college in the U.S. for one semester, not for a full year? You’re going to be lucky if you can do two trips to big cities in the U.S. (unless you’re going to be allowed to stretch out your stay in the U.S. for several weeks before and after the semester).
Hey! I resemble that remark!
> Ohio, as a whole, should be avoided like the plague. God hates
> Ohio, as do the residents of the other 49 States. Every resident
> of the state recently sold their soul in exchange for a National
> Championship in Football at Ohio State University. The only city
> worth visiting, Toledo, will soon be annexed to its rightful state,
> Michigan, voiding any reason one might have to go to this
> dreadful place.
gex gex, I would like to apologize on the behalf of all Americans for the complete lack of information in posts like this. Instead of offering useful information about the universities you’ve asked about, wmulax93 has decided to waste your time with some blather about interstate football rivalries. In fact, I think Ohio University isn’t a particularly good choice for you, but wmulax93’s post is completely irrelevant to that point.
Incidentally, it just occurred to me that if you want to go to a university with a good journalism school in the middle of a big city, Columbia University in New York has a highly regarded journalism school.
Now, I’m sorry if I got a bit off topic, but I did have some good information in my post regarding Pitt, IU (which turns out not to be an option, unfortunately) and UB (which isn’t the right school.) I just happen to hate the state of Ohio. I stated it in a humourous way. I think you, Wendell must be having a bad day. If so, I’m sorry. If you just don’t have a sense of humor, I’m also sorry. And please, don’t be so pompous as to apologize on behalf of all Americans, I’m sure some of them found my post funny and not the least bit offensive.
FTR I wasn’t the least bit offended by your jab at UB. I took it in the spirit it was intended.
I didn’t find your post offensive as much as juvenile. Like most online humor, it isn’t remotely funny.
Hey guys… cool it, ay? The football thing went flying way over my head, but the only thing that really concerned me was the information that Toledo is the coolest city in Ohio? The only reason I could see for that one was that the White Stripes had mentioned it in a song.
Anyway, thanks for you info, Wendell Wagner. I hadn’t really considered exactly how I was going to get around in America.
I don’t see myself buying a car, unless I could get a bomb for real cheap, so I guess I’m stuck with public transit. What sort of services exist in that area, do you know? Are there trains - I understand that you have a somewhat poor rail system over there. Are Greyhounds easy and safe?
Thanks too for the info about the cities. I wasn’t really expecting Pittsburgh to be a Sydney, but I was expecting a little more than an Adelaide. I’ve only been able to go off the population figures in my road atlas of America, which has Pittsburgh as having a metropolitan population of 2.3 million. Buffalo is listed as having 1.1 million, which makes it pretty similar to Adelaide. (Are these figures reasonably accurate?)
So I wasn’t expecting a Sydney (metropolitan pop of 4.2 million), but it wouldn’t really matter - I live in Newcastle which only has 450 000, so I expect both Pittsburgh and Buffalo are a step up in urbanity (or whatever the word is).
And yes, I’m expecting to only go for a semester - a full year means paying for another six months or so of living expenses, and while I hope to get a job of some sort, I can’t rely on doing so.
Anyway, thanks for your post - lots to think over.
Greyhounds are easy and relatively safe. They are also cheap, and can be slow, dirty, and annoying. They do have the advantage of probably reaching more separate points in America than any other transportation system. It can just take a while to get anywhere, and the journey ain’t exactly glamorous.
The rail system varies from place to place, but from what I understand it doesn’t compare to, say, Europe’s (I’ve never been to Europe, but I always hear about how great the trains are there compared to here). Amtrak is most useful on the East Coast, especially the Washington DC/New York/Boston corridor. It can be surprisingly expensive. You can get a good idea of their system from their web site: Amtrak
Amtrak is partially supported by Federal money, and that support is constantly under threat of being reduced or eliminated by Congress.
Here is Greyhound’s site: Greyhound
This past winter, I visited Juniata (they’ve got an interesting Peace and Conflict Studies program). My thoughts:
Gorgeous campus - they also have a ton of hiking clubs and the like, as their environment is well-suited to it. However, on the flip side of this: they’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Central PA is known for…being pretty much empty (which it is). Tiny, tiny town. The students seemed generally friendly and down-to-earth. Class I sat in on was really interesting. They do frequently run shuttles to local towns, but it struck me as very small-town-esque. Getting around there without a car, though, would probably be a little tough: there weren’t many resteraunts/shops/etc right around campus, the town seemed kind of sprawling.
Actualy KC is not the middle of nowhere. Laurence is realy pretty, the kansas river running through it makes it realy quite lush, and the state still has a little bit of a roll to it that far east unlike the deathly flat that it starts to get along about Topeka. Kansas city itself has a population of about of about half a million with almost 2 million in the greater kansas city area. It actualy has a greater poplulation than St. Louis, and has had a thriving arts comunity including a still strong tradition of jazz. The enrolment of KU is 27000 itself and makes up a quarter the poplulation of laurence it self. It has been known pretty well as a good party school for years. It does have the seasons you are looking for. Depending on which real America you have in mind seeing, the midwest is a good choice. ( I didn’t go there, but have family there so I often stopped on the drive from Washington DC to Colorado. I really concidered it for grad school because it was such a pretty place.)
Teaching evolution in Kansas public schools was optional until 1999, and there is still a movement to remove it from classrooms or at the very least to teach creationism along side it as an equally valid scientific theory. I doubt the university has a similar stance, but still I’d avoid Kansas educational if at all possible. But, that’s just me.
UVA is an amazing school, if you can get in there definitely consider it.
Searching the Amtrak website, I was able to find out that there is an Amtrak station in Charlottesville. What I wasn’t able to find out is what the schedule is for the train that goes through Charlottesville and how long it takes to get to Washington. It’s not clear if there is a direct route to Washington. This is one of the things that you will definitely have to work out before you get to the U.S. regardless of where you choose to study at and regardless of where you choose to visit. Whatever college you choose to go to and whatever places you choose to visit, you’re going to have to see what you can fit into your schedule and how you’re going to travel to those places.
wmulax93’s post was a complete waste of time. There’s a football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio, and apparently wmulax93 still has problems about the fact that Ohio State won the national championship this year. There’s some standard joke about Michigan annexing the part of Ohio with the Toledo in it. Not a very funny joke, but a standard one. Certainly not everyone thinks that Toledo is a cool city. Consider this John Denver song:
Hope I’m not adding fuel to the fire, but I would have thought Michigan would have been above a petty squabble like that I mean, think of all the cool stuff Michigan’s done - Motown, cars, Michael Moore, Eminem, Ann Arbour, Lake Michigan, The White Stripes and those cool buildings in Detroit right on the water where there’s a big one in the middle with 4 smaller ones surrounding it (I take it it’s mean to be a piston or something?)
furlibusea: The only thing that’s holding me back from Kansas (surely that evolution business wouldn’t affect the University?) is that once you get beyond KC, there doesn’t seem to be that much around. The proximity of Lawrence to KS is a big plus, but beyond that there seems to be very little anywhere nearby. For instance, should I go to UVa, I would make it my business to somehow see New York at some point in my stay (I’ll walk there if I have to!), whereas there isn’t so much opportunity to do something like this from KU. I haven’t crossed it off yet though, because there are some things that I really like about it.
NinjaChick: I suspected as much about Juniata. I think it would be a little out of the way for me.
And Laughing Lagomorph and Wendell, thanks for the info on the Greyhound and Amtrak. I’ll have to look into both of them. Shame about the trains - isn’t there some crazy environmental lefty movement pushing for a better rail system?
The odd thing is that it’s only slightly more inconvenient to get from Lawrence to New York than it is to get from Charlottesville to New York. In each case, many people would do it by driving to the nearest airport and flying to New York. It’s more expensive to fly from Lawrence to New York than from Charlottesville to New York, but no less complicated. You could drive from Charlottesville to New York, but it would be six or seven hours. Not many people would drive from Lawrence to New York for a short vacation, but many do make the trip for something longer. Each year when I travel from my home (near Washington, D.C.) to see my family in northwest Ohio at Christmas, I drive. I have a car trunk paced with Christmas presents, so it would be inconvenient to travel by plane.
I think wmulax is at Western Michigan University, not at Ohio State. U-M students do have the reputation of being a little snobbier than average folk. Whatever.
Do not judge U of Kansas by what’s going on at the K-12 level. Here at Michigan I know some stellar grad students who have come from U of KS. However, as others have said, I don’t think it’s a fabulous choice for seeing much of the U.S. I grew up in NE, just north of there. And then I lived near Charlottesville for seven years. I found things a lot more accessible on the East Coast; it’s not just the proximity and the better transportion, it’s the whole attitude about how far from/close to things seem to be.
I wrote this whole thing and then lost it. Wah. Basically, at UVa, students will be driving down to the DC suburbs all the time, you can probably catch rides to towns where you can pick up commuter rail and thence to DC. Its good manners to offer to split gas in the drive.
Some colleges have “ride boards” where people planning to drive somplace hook up with people to share the drive/split the gas.
Since you will be in the US during the Thanksgiving Holidays (last Thursday in November), you can guarantee that 99% of the students – at any University to decide to attend – will be heading somewhere to be with family. Quite a few will be driving and its a good time to catch a ride to someplace interesting.
> I think wmulax is at Western Michigan University, not at Ohio
Yes, I know that. My point is that he was expressing his anger at the state of Ohio because he’s from Michigan. Apparently he has problems with the fact that Ohio State won the championship in football this year. Give them a break, wmulax93, it’s the first time in 33 years that they’ve won.
Incidentally, gex gex, if you do decide to go to University of Virginia or anyplace else near D.C. or Baltimore, be sure to post that fact on the board just before you come to the U.S. We can have a Dopefest to welcome you to the U.S. We may be able to have someone who lives near Charlottesville pick you up. It would probably be easiest to have the Dopefest somewhere in Northern Virginia. (Northern Virginia doesn’t mean the northern half of Virginia. It means any part of the state that’s within fifty miles of D.C.)
You are right. St. Louis is a 3-4 hour car ride away, but beyond that you’re basically stuck in the heart of the Midwest (agricultural America.) It would be difficult to get around to other cities; You could probably make one trip to Chicago but it would take planning. Stick with Pittsburg or Charlotesville! Good luck, I’m sure whatever you decide it will be a great experience.
who sincerely wishes he had studied abroad in Australia.