Studying at the University of Miami I notice that a lot of emphasis is put on the team sport. I went to my first American Football game a couple of weeks ago, although I don’t understand the choice in name seeing as a person’s foot rarely touches the ball during the whole 4 hour game. College football is a big deal in the states with the games being played at full size stadiums off campus, often times under lights.
The actual game itself doesn’t excite me all that much. That may be, however, due to the fact that I do not understand what is happening most of the time. From what I can gather (after a nice American explained it to me) the game is constructed a little like chess where the teams both make a move, ending in either a touchdown or a tackle, where by play stops and the players come off to be swapped with a different ‘team’ of players on the field. The whistle blows again and the teams move two to three feet up the pitch each taking another ‘move’. I understand the stop/start rhythm of the game is crucial to make the right plays, but it does make for a very slow and tiresome game to watch. I get more enjoyment from watching the entertainment that is supplied to keep you interested between plays. The cheerleaders and marching band are my personal favourites but they also have dancing mascots, fireworks and even smoke machines. When you see the spectacle under lights, it does make for a very magical show. However, I would still chose AFL any day.
4 weeks in I’m starting to get used to how classes work around here. The class sizes are smaller in number and lectures feel more like tutorials on most occasions, with the students taking an active role in their learning. The professors here are fond of the ‘midterm’ exam, and at a third of the way through the semester I have already started to study for impending exams. Although you end up having 3 exams in a semester (two midterms and a final) the exams are non-accumulative, meaning that you study only little sections, rather than taking a final at the end of the year worth majority of your grade. Reading is also a big part of the learning processes over here, and I have to set away time to do my reading’s every day because skimming through the chapters (like what I usually do at Flinders) puts you behind. As you can be tested on concepts in the texts that have never been mentioned in class it is worthwhile to keep up to date. I can’t tell which way is better yet, but I do know that the differences are large between the two teaching styles.
Miami has long been seen as a party town, but as I am only 19 years of age, I am still considered underage when it comes to drinking and clubbing in the states. This reduces my night time activities by a huge chunk. ‘Coconut Grove’ is a strip not too far from the university which features a number of different bars and clubs. On some nights they host “college” nights which means 18+ can get in. However, the 18-21 year olds are segregated via a wrist band and are refused bar service. However, steering away from partying there are still many things to do. I spend at least two days a week in the free on campus swimming pool. It is Olympic size and I have taken to doing laps to keep my fitness levels high. There is also an array of beaches that dot the coast to choose from.
If you are into movies, University of Miami features it’s very own full size cinema which plays movies most nights of the weeks, ranging from indie films to the main stream, and again, it’s free entry for students. But if none of that takes your fancy then you can always hit many of the shopping malls that are easily accessible by foot, or a quick trip on the train.
Anyway, those books aren’t going to read themselves :/
See you on the flip side.