Getting to know Ithaca

Hi there, how are you doin’?
So here I am, in Ithaca. You probably have no clue where on Earth it could be. Well, don’t worry, it is not big nor famous. To start with, Ithaca is an American city -though it sounds like the Greek town our friend Hercules comes from.

Ithaca is situated in upstate New York, not too far from the Niagara Falls and the frontier with Canada (for American standards of distance). The geographic situation implies very steep hills, beautiful waterfalls and extremely cold weather. In winter time, the temperatures vary between the -20 and -2 degrees Celsius. It is cold but truly beautiful, especially when the skies are clear. And after only a few days here, I already realised -2 to be a very appreciable temperature. You can even walk without gloves! So the moral of this story is that you can get used to anything. (Even when you are French.)

The city is organised on different levels. The Cornell campus is roughly situated in the middle of the hill. It is a lot bigger than Wageningen, which is partly due to the fact that more subjects are being taught here (law, economics, engineering, architecture and many more), and partly due to the over sizing tendency of Americans. There is a shopping mall on top of the slope, and the city centre downtown. Ithaca is a mix between a natural park, a hippie town and a prestigious American campus. I believe it to be quite unique, and would definitely recommend visiting it! To make it easy for you to come, here is even an airport! Which is crazy when you think Wageningen does not even have a train station…

I have orientation days right now, learning to know lots of international students and how the system works here. The way course enrollment is organised is very different here. Courses are full very quickly such that students have to hurry up enrolling. Depending on your year and major, you have different priorities for enrolment. This makes things quite complicated such that you have to email professors to get in. Luckily, most of the exchange students got in the courses they wished for. It must be said that everybody on campus is really helpful and devoted to us, which is really appreciable!

My first week was great; now I am excited and scared at the same time about starting classes next week!