The first time I made the resolution that this American Adventure would be worth my time and effort, was at the first football game of the season. By this I don’t mean football as we know it in the UK, but the American hoorah: cheerleaders, pom-poms, half time, band-playing sort of football. There was no mistaking the energy in the crowd, everyone being involved in years of sport-playing tradition – with weird hand gestures, and odd chants to Macklemore, I had truly landed myself in the centre of American college culture.
Travelling to Boston, I had a perception of the town and the people. Trust me when I tell you that I did not believe I would be entering a world representative of Grease, but it’s all there: from the girls in tiny uniforms to the freshmen stood in their new Boston College team t-shirts. I loved it. I still feel like I am in some sort of American drama set in a big college, where the phrase “wicked cool” is thrown around like some sort of wonderful adjective adaptable to anything.
However, as much as I am for team spirit, sometimes the whole college community does overwhelm you. There are seemingly far too many clubs, too many societies, too much that you want to see and do, and it is sometimes impossible to balance it all out.
Overwhelming as it may be, Boston is predominantly a ‘college town’, with over 100 colleges and universities scattered around the city. Situated on the coast, Boston is the perfect place for a road trip; if you want to hire a car, there’s all of Massachusetts to see, as well as Rhode Island, and Cape Cod, both of which are within an hour’s drive. For the true tourist experience there’s also whale watching– In my opinion, three hours of hell stranded on a boat, but hey, if you’re into tails of big fish, then more power to you.
Boston also provides great cultural insight as it happens to be the centre of New England, the Pilgrim Fatherland, where Puritans travelled to and established their own community. Boston has many tours and interesting parts away from the universities, notably the location of the intriguing witch trials, Salem.
Yet for all the joys ofsightseeing, there are many downsides to going ‘across the pond’, for example, sharing a room with four different people. I have realised that we, as Queen Mary students, take our accommodation for granted. The freedom for personal space, and furthermore the freedom to have proper coffee in your own kitchen is underrated. And don’t get me started on the communal bathroom shared between a whole floor of people.
Yet the American tradition is present even here- there is always someone on ‘duty’, monitoring your noise level. Not to mention your alcohol level; no drinking until you’re 21. Welcome to America, kids!
So, after the first week of classes I can tell you two things: first, is that if you have the opportunity to meet new people this year, be it foreigners or someone from up the road from you- grasp it. Last year I met so many international exchange students who pushed me towards exploring my options and going abroad, and look, here I am, in the biggest city in New England. Secondly, try something scary and new, you only have to try it once to know if it’s your cup of tea. For me this four month journey is just beginning, and I’m trying to see as much of Boston, and of America as a whole.
Therefore, with my American guide in hand I look forward to the next adventure this wonderful country will give me.