Life in America

It is crazy to think that this time last year I was studying Art at the University of Rhode Island and deciding on my plans for Thanksgiving! Many of my friends were going travelling: some to Canada, some to Washington DC, and some to New York for the Macy's Day Parade. I was invited to my American friend Hayden's Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. It was such a memorable experience.Louise in New York Her house was packed with collectibles of all varieties from spoons to souvenirs from all over America, and it was not until I was inside her home that I realised how much I missed being inside a home environment. They had sofas and a fire, and dinner was a massive three-course feast. There were family stories and arguing amongst siblings; it felt just like being at home for Christmas.

After we had all finished our generous helping of turkey and vegetables followed by pumpkin pie, we sat down and watched the Macy's Day Parade (a tradition for all Americans). I have seen and even been in parades before but nothing quite as grand as this one. They had famous pop stars like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber performing on floats as they paraded down the streets of New York and floats of almost every cartoon character you have ever known. One thing I learnt whilst living in America is that Americans do everything bigger and better and put 100% into everything.

Sport events in America were no different! I am not normally very enthusiastic for sport but American Universities make it such a big event that it is impossible not to get involved. I found myself going to basketball games with real life cheerleaders, sponsors and competitions that were broadcast all around the world. The atmosphere was electric, and the cheerleaders' enthusiasm made the game so much more interesting. I also watched ice hockey games and even saw the Boston Red Socks taking on the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in Boston, yet again the atmosphere was electric and I found myself getting completely caught up in the game, the stadium, and the Boston Red Socks Souvenirs (even if it was $20 for a baseball cap).

One of the main reasons I chose to study at Rhode Island for a term was my love of America, grown out of a childhood of American TV. I had always considered living in America when I was older, and it is something I am still considering. To help me with such a huge life decision I tried to see as much of America as I could afford/ had time for. I travelled to Boston, New York and Miami, and they were all incredible places.

I travelled to Miami by myself, so to me Miami was the most significant place I travelled to. I was scared about travelling alone especially with Miami's reputation for crime, but the place was very traveller friendly. It was sunny, and with around 30 degrees in December it felt like a little holiday. One thing that surprised me the most about Miami was its art scene. I ended up booking my flights for just after 'Art Basel' so was a little bit disappointed but decided to look at some galleries anyway. I was thrilled to find that even though the festival was over, most of the Art works were still there and that all the staff and artists were happy to talk to a 'travelling artist.'

Although I enjoyed travelling around America, I also enjoyed my time exploring Rhode Island itself. Rhode Island was beautiful and sunny when I first arrived there, and although it did not take long for the cold to set in, I managed to have several beach days to top up my tan. However, like I said; it was not long before 'Fall' fell upon us and I saw the wide spectrum of leaf colours consume Rhode Island. I know England has a variety of leaf colours also but I swear nothing compares to the colours I saw in Rhode Island. I took up Photography whilst abroad and capturing all the different shades became one of my favourite past times. I fell so in love with the colours that it is still my phone background.

It is too hard to choose my favourite part of my study abroad experience, and I could go on forever about all the fun I had there so I will just sum it up in a few highlights quickly: the friends I made from Norway, France, and America that I still frequently talk to, the places I got to explore, and the passion that was rekindled for Art and life in general.

Louise McGovern, BA Art & Psychology

University of Rhode Island (USA)

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