One school, hundreds of opportunities

Raise your hand if you have ever seen an American college movie?

Okay, great, thank you!

Now, raise your hand if you have ever wanted to be a part of a college movie?

Pheuw, for a second there I thought I would be the only one reading this blog who have watched American movies and who would like to be in one, but fortunately I’m not.


Photographer: Agnes Nilsson

For me, this very autumn, my dream came true! Well at least almost, I’m not a part of a college movie but I’m a part of an American college and I can’t stop being impressed by all the opportunities American colleges provides.

New Paltz Universitys campus looks exactly like I hoped it would look like, a typical “college-movie-campus”. All buildings are gathered in one area, the dining hall is huge and there are several cafeterias where you can imagine people dancing on tables, as they do in High School Musical. There are big lecture halls, a library that offers more than you can imagine and a Wellness Center that provides the students opportunities to practice more than 10 different sports. I keep asking my self, are all campuses like this? Do regular campuses give their students all these opportunities? After doing some research, I have found my answer: YES. Of course there will always be exceptions, but if you end up at a college in America, you will most likely end up at one similar to New Paltz University.

“Okay” you might think “She have now claimed that there are a lot of opportunities and that all universities are the same. What will she say next?” Well, I thought I would guide you a little bit around college, so you (as a soon-to-be IIB student) would know how to make the most out of your experience.

Get to know someone


If you come by your self to this new country, it might feel a little hard to start talking to someone you don’t know, but don’t you worry. New Paltz University has thousands of students and everyone I’ve talked to are frie
ndly. The majority is very interested in other people too, as long as you also show interest in them.

I arrived here with some Swedish friends and we ended up in the same marketing class. One day, we decided to split up during class just to get to know others, and immediately someone started talking to me and I have now made a friend who loves sneakers even more than I do. I have a saying that I used to tell a shy friend of mine that I thought I would share with you “No one knows if you are not outgoing or shy, as long as you decide not to show them” so put your social shoes on and get ready to mingle! (and remember, if something goes terribly wrong, you don’t have to see them if you don’t want to.)


Be a part of an association


Campus does not only provide you with thousands of interesting people, it does also give you an opportunity to spend time with people who have the same interest as you. New Paltz University have 169 (!!!!!) different associations touching subjects regarding everything from Quiditch to Handball, form Soccer to Human Vs. Zombies. They regard all the interest you might ever had and MORE.
Hobbys are a big thing in America and almost everyone I’ve talked to are either a part of an association or a part of a sorority or fraternity. So if you would like to get to know people in an environment where you know you feel comfortable and get to know people who admire the same things as you do, join an association! Why not email them before you come here and tell them a little bit about you? I promise they will appreciate it. I emailed on of the schools dance teams and now I get to dance with amazingly talented girls four times a week! Click Here if you would like to learn more about the associations.


Use the Wellness centre

The wellness centre at New Paltz University is, like everything else on campus, huge. They have 16 tennis courts, one swimming pool, two running tracks (one indoor and one outdoor), two gyms, one room for dancing and one for yoga and a big hall for basketball, handball, soccer etc. They do also have a field where the students can play lacross, baseball and rugby. If you don’t feel like joining a team since you will only be here for two months, use the opportunities provided anyway. Go to the swimming pool, do some exercise at the gym or join the different classes they provide such as Boot Camp, Hip Hop, Zumba and Yoga. You will have great fun and meet other students or get a possibility to get to know your IIB fellow students even more!

New Paltz University also provide the students with outdoor activities such as tubing, zip lining and canoeing which you have to pay and register for in advance. NOTE though, you have to be quick when the open for registration, the tubing and zip lining got sold out in less than 30 minutes! So discuss with your IIB-fellows which ones you would like to attend and then stay glued to your computer during the registration hours.

 Join the school spirit

One last thing that I have noticed about campus that we don’t have in the same utsträckning in Sweden but is a fun thing to be a part of is the school spirit. Every day I see at least 50 people walking around in clothes bought form school; New Paltz University t-shirts, Sweat-shirts or track pants. People with water bottles (me!), notebooks, pens and folders with the University name on it. Everyone feel so strong about this university and by doing so myself, I feel like a greater part of this fellowship. If you don’t want to wait until your first one-on-one with Jeff or Martha (where they give you a water bottle with the New Paltz logo) you can got to the shop and buy your New Paltz items straight away!

It’s hard work (mostly)

The dedicated reader of this blog might think that we enjoyed wonderful eight weeks of leisure time at SUNY New Paltz. But we should put something right here: The IIB program is an academic program that is, although it’s a lot of fun, still hard work. To our excuse, posts and pictures of us sitting in the library is not the first thing we share on our blog. Therefore, this media gallery is about the one thing that remained concealed until now: Our HARD work. University life in the US is quite different to other countries. Here, you have to do many small group and individual assignments that sometimes reminds of middle school homework. Because there are so many of them, it requires time management and self-organization. Group work requires the ability to work in a team as wells as collaboration skills and finally the amount of work can be overwhelming sometimes, at least, if you want to see something else than the campus. This is very similar to the job life and thus prepares you well for it. I hope…