The time of my life in Mississippi

University has been the time of my life, and one of the main reasons I chose to study at Reading was because of Reading's direct links with Universities abroad, meaning the study abroad semester I had dreamed abEmily at University of Mississippiout going on could become a reality.

Studying at Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi) I met interesting people from all over the world - from Mississippi (and all other States) to Brazil to Germany, the teachers, the students, the parents, everyone I met had a story and wanting to hear mine. The people I met were so generous and had so much time for everyone which is one of the things I will treasure most about my experience abroad.

The biggest involvement I had in the Southern culture was buying a season ticket for American Football. Game day rolled around once every week or so. The tailgating celebrations begin early in the morning, everybody dresses up really fancy in the team's colours to show support, hundreds of tents are put up on campus and filled with so much food from fried chicken to aptly decorated cakes and cookies, and people drink beer from the minute they wake up. I had read about tailgating at Ole Miss and, even now, I don't think I could accurately describe the amazing atmosphere. It was one of my favourite experiences I had there and I was just thankful I got to partake in it eight times over the semester, each one being as exciting as the first time.

The atmosphere was made better by the fact that our school's team had a really good season, beating both of our biggest rivals which lead to students storming the field and tearing down the goal posts in victory. The feeling of being able to experience this is one that I will never forget. Involving myself with, and following, the school's sports teams is something I had never done before and now I can confidently explain the rules of American sports such as football and basketball. It is impossible to be a student at a Southern American college without becoming obsessed with sports.

Studying abroad enriched me in so many ways. I was able to quickly adapt to my new surroundings, meet the easiest people to get on with I have ever encountered and it has helped me gain even more confidence in all aspects of my life. I was able to not only make the most of being abroad, but also settle into the teaching styles and after just a few weeks I received requests from my professors to use my work as examples for future classes which I am incredibly proud of.

If you're considering it, definitely apply! You'll regret it when you hear the stories of those who actually went through with it. You get to see the world whilst contributing to your degree and experiencing another culture and way of learning. Your experience abroad will be something that no one else will have!

Emily Barnes, BA English Literature

University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)


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