“Oh New Zealand! That’s the capital of Australia, right?”
I’ve been living in Georgia for almost 2 months now and have heard that statement far too many times for my liking… However, aside from that, I am loving my American home and thought it was about time to share some of my first impressions with y’all!
The University of Georgia
It was honestly love at first sight when I arrived at UGA. The campus looks like it belongs in an early 2000’s coming of age film, and I’m definitely here for it. Built in 1785, the University of Georgia is the nation’s oldest state university, so is filled with gorgeous brick buildings and tall pillars, alongside the newer modern facilities. UGA has 22 dorms and 8 different housing communities, so there is naturally a thriving campus life! I’ve been loving living in the East Campus Village community – apartment style dorms that are just a stone’s throw away from village-summit dining and the famous Ramsey recreational center.
One of the things that initially attracted me to UGA was their week-long international student orientation. During this week, around 100 of the international exchange students stayed together in the beautiful Rutherford Hall in central campus. Orientation provided lots of necessary information about campus life and academics, but mostly it gave all of us exchange students the chance to make new friends, through events like a Ben & Jerry’s icecream social, a pool party, and a pizza night. We also joined in with the freshman class of ’23 in creating the iconic G at Sanford Stadium!
UGA is located in the college town of Athens, about 40 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Athens is your quintessential college town – independent coffee shops, funky bars, cute boutiques, and the iconic Georgia Theatre. The streets are always bustling with college students at any time of day or night. On any given nondescript Wednesday there will always be something going on downtown, which is the beauty of living in a college town!
To say that America is football-crazy is honestly an understatement. During the fall semester, Saturdays in Athens are dedicated to cheering on the UGA Bulldogs, with over 90,000 people packing into UGA’s Sanford Stadium. As a kiwi gal with no previous interest in football, I didn’t know what to expect of game days, but I can say without a doubt that they have been like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and doubtless ever will again after this exchange. Football is more than a game at UGA – it is culture, tradition, and community. I’m looking forward to all the games to come! Go Dawgs!
I can’t wait to see what new adventures the next few months bring. Feel free to follow my journey on Instagram (@juliabudler) and reach out if you have any questions!