ORANJESTAD — It is officially spring break! Which means, no exams, no quizzes and time to relax. As you all may know, I have been looking forward to spring break for quite some time already. Everything at the University of South Carolina campus is basically closed and almost everyone left the campus to go back home, either to their family or their friends. Some people may have also decided to take this opportunity and go traveling somewhere else instead of going back home.
Up until now, my exchange semester at the University of South Carolina is going well. At the start, there were some issues I had encountered in regard to my courses, but I have managed to solve these issues. Each day, I am getting more accustomed to being in such a big campus and city compared to back home. I have made some new friends and managed to do a lot of things in the city of Columbia. However, I cannot lie that I do miss Aruba. Especially my family and my friends. Also, don’t forget the warm and sunny weather on the island of Aruba. As they say, there is no place like home.
A difference that I have noticed while being a student at the University of South Carolina, is that the students in Aruba are more approachable than the students here. The students that I have encountered here have the tendency to be more on their own. Which means, that they will not easily approach people and start a random conversation with someone they see walking on campus. Meanwhile in Aruba, this is the complete opposite. Also, this example is not limited to only students on Aruba, but the people on the island as well. Everywhere you go on the island, you can definitely find someone who you can start a random conversation with and will give you plenty of suggestions on where to go and what to do.
A program I want to mention this time, is the Buddies Beyond Borders program at the University of South Carolina. This program was developed by the International Student Services and helps both international and American students at the University of South Carolina create a connection and long-lasting friendships. Everyone at the University of South Carolina has the opportunity to sign up if they would like to become a domestic buddy and afterwards, they will get paired up with someone who has “matched” with them. Which is, usually an international buddy. The matching is based upon availability, personal interests, age and gender. The Buddies Beyond Borders program does have requirements and expectations that each student needs to consider before signing up. I have signed up for the Buddies Beyond Borders upon arrival and gained a great friend through the program. I definitely recommend anyone who is currently at the University of South Carolina to apply to be a domestic buddy and also international students who are going to attend the University of South Carolina in the future. It is a great opportunity to meet new people and get to know other cultures.
Regarding my spring break plans, I have decided to drive up to Asheville for a few days. I have never been to North Carolina, thus I thought, why not take this opportunity to go there. Since for me, personally, I find that Columbia is a lot more of a “city life”. Therefore, I wanted to get away for a while and go more into the nature aspect. Today, I went to the Blue Ridge Parkway and decided to go on a hike there. I visited the Graveyard Fields. I loved it. The only downside of the hike was that, because there was some slight rainfall yesterday, some of the trails were a bit muddy. Moreover, I love the downtown area and the breweries in Asheville. Tomorrow I will go spend the day at the Biltmore, which is a popular attraction in Asheville.
For everyone who are also currently on spring break, I hope you all are having a great time and be safe! In my next article, I will continue to update you with all my adventures as an exchange student abroad.
By Louedska Maduro