I have been studying at Cornell for 6 weeks now and would like to share with you my newly acquired experiences.
Cornell is an elite American university, a very proud member of the famous Ivy League. Students pay a lot to get in, about $ 23,000 per semester. Luckily, exchange students have the tuition fee waived which makes this journey actually possible (almost nobody in Europe can afford such prices!).
The high fee allows the university to dispose of amazing facilities: more labs, devices, sports arrangements, computers and books than any Wageninger can ever dream to be possible. Students are passionate about their study as well as ambitious. They are ready to work hard (sometimes too hard) to fulfil their aspirations. The libraries are open 24/7 and it is not unusual to spend your weekend on campus behind a book or working on your laptop. You might be thinking: this sounds horrible! Well, it is not. You can choose your courses yourself, so you are always interested in the subject taught. The professors are great; they give inspiring and applied classes. The system is very different than in Holland. Students interact a lot with their teachers, during and after class. As an example, I had once a question about an assignment. I mailed the teacher and he called me (yes, on my phone!) to go step by step with me through the calculation until I totally understood. This was a pretty new experience to me. So even if the workload is big (students are continually challenged), you get inspired and motivated by the amazing entourage.
Cornell is unfortunately famous for its high suicide numbers. I bet this is due to the never lasting cold (I have not experienced any temperature above 0⁰C yet, and it is -19⁰C at the time I am writing to you guys…) and for the high working load. Orientation days were pretty scary, as we had plenty of anti-suicide meetings to get us prepared. Luckily, Americans have a tendency of over-doing everything, and I assure you that Cornell is the loveliest place ever! The snow is beautiful and most of the days are sunny. You can even get cookies delivered in the middle of the night to get you through writing your essays! There are also plenty of amazing Physical Education courses you can take for credits such as skiing, karate or belly dancing! And you can follow wine tasting classes if you are 21 (sadly not my case…) The Starbucks’ espresso is good and my fellow students are really cool so honestly, I have nothing to complain about!
Greetings from Cornell,