Greetings from North Carolina!
Semester here is getting close to the end, which is sad, but I have enjoyed every single day in here. I think there is a lot of difference in studying here than back in Finland, at least in engineering. First of all I have to say that I study in North Carolina State University and it has very good engineering programs for undergraduate students as a public state school.
As most people probably know already, there is a lot more homework in US schools compared to Finland. The grades are constructed (in most cases) from you homework, projects, midterms and finals. In Finland we usually have only one or two exams per semester. Both has their pros and cons, but there is no denying that studying all the time the whole semester helps you to learn. But as a exchange student, I have to say that sometimes there is too much work, since I would like to travel and have a social life etc.
Compared to the Finnish university life, the American students take studying way more seriously and are much more concerned about their grades than Finnish students.
THE CITY AND SPORTS
Okay, enough of studying, lets talk about the city and sports.
Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. There is about 400 000 people living in Raleigh and about 40 000 people studying at NC State. The campus is about four miles away from downtown, which is not too far away at all if you ask me. The downtown area in Raleigh has a quite few bars and nightclubs which offer live music and things to do for college students.
The school of course has it’s own football and basketball teams and it is a huge deal.
The Carter Finley stadium has a capacity for almost 60 000 people. It is free for students to go watch the football games. Also what I personally liked a lot it the tailgating before the games. People arrive to the parking lots few hours before the game and have a barbeque, play corn hole, throw football and play many other games and socialize.
Close to the campus there is also the PNC arena where the NHL ice hockey team Carolina Hurricanes play.
As a Finnish person I was very happy to see few NHL games and that the arena was so close to the campus.
LIVING ON CAMPUS
Most students here live on campus which is good idea if you ask me. You are close to your classes and don’t have to commute too much (well depends where you live on campus). Since the campus is quite big, there is a free bus lines going around the campus all day and most of the night too.
Since NC State is a public state school the classrooms can (especially in the freshman level) get quite crowded (about 300 people max). But on junior and senior level classes the size drops to a reasonable level (about 20 – 30 people in a classroom).
To sum it up, I really enjoyed the time I have spent here in NC State, especially the student life and all the trips we did with other exchange students and Americans.