Unmistakable, diverse and eventful – everyday student life in the USA exerts a great fascination on students around the world. Many young people long for a true American study experience. For them, the pronounced campus life is one of the main reasons for studying in the USA.
A study visit to the United States clearly shows students from Germany that a university can be more than an educational institution. For the first time they experience the university as a place where they can live, which offers them board and lodging as well as a wide range of service and leisure facilities. In the following text, you will find out what special features everyday student life in the USA entails.
Lectures in the USA
Lectures and seminars are available at German and American universities, but they are structured differently in the two countries. Courses in the USA are generally more interactive than in Germany. Because the number of participants is often manageable, many group work and presentations take place, especially in seminars. Discussions between lecturers and students are also common.
The personal interaction between students and professors is not uncommon in American universities. In general, the supervision of students at US universities is very important. Many professors are available to answer questions from their students outside of their office hours. There are often discussion classes that serve to review the content of the lectures and to discuss homework.
The type of courses in the USA determines which course types are also used. In the case of the natural sciences and engineering, these are often laboratories, in areas such as art and design and music, studio classes. A high practical relevance have the excursion like Fieldwork Courses. They take place outside the university campus.
You can find out which courses students can take and which courses are compulsory in the course catalog. This provides information about the course content and provides information about the necessary previous knowledge. Using course numbers and letter sequences, it is possible to draw conclusions about the course level and to assign the course to the subject.
A significant difference to Germany are the types of exams and the scope of exams at American universities. Regular performance reviews, homework and attendance checks are common. All examinations together result in the final grade.
Campus life in the USA
No other country is known for offering such a lively and diverse campus life as the USA. Most American students spend much of their free time on campus and identify particularly with their university or college. Because the students not only form a learning community, but often also a shared apartment, the sense of community is strong at many universities. Learn more about USA and North America on ehistorylib.
In addition to the first-class equipped teaching and research facilities and well-stocked libraries, there are countless leisure facilities on campus. One example is the Student Union, which is considered the central meeting point for students and often has cafes and a wide range of entertainment options. In addition, many universities attract with museums, cinemas, theaters and art galleries and offer students a colorful program of events throughout the semester.
The countless sports activities on the university campus, which are available in the Recreation Center and in the form of sports and leisure clubs, also have a community-building effect. There are also clubs with a political, religious, cultural, social or academic background that are open to all students.
The so-called Greek Life is also an integral part of everyday student life in the USA. The mostly gender segregated student connections play an important role in the social life of colleges and universities, especially in the undergraduate sector. Female and male students come together in the sororities and fraternities. You pursue academic goals or are committed to social issues. Student associations in the USA also have a reputation for organizing excessive ” Greek parties ” and are known for their sometimes unusual admission rituals.
University Sports in the USA
The USA is one of the leading sports nations. College sport has a long tradition in the United States, which is why it is of great importance in everyday university life in the United States. Regardless of whether students want to do sports themselves or cheer on the university’s sports teams playing games – sport is the unifying element at US universities.
The university sports in the United States can be divided into:
- Varsity Sport / Intercollegiate Sport: Here the teams selected from colleges and universities compete against each other in selected sports at national competition level.
- Club Sports: Students who have a certain amount of experience in a sport but cannot or do not want to take part in national competitions playin the club teams. The sports clubs of different universities occasionally compete against each other in regional competitions.
- Intramural Sports: The Intramural Sports are open to all students and also suitable for beginners. These are university-internal sports groups who understand sport primarily as a leisure activity. Competitions against teams from other universities are not planned.
As an alternative to organized sport, students can use the university’s sports facilities. These include swimming pools, fitness studios, tennis courts and climbing halls.
American colleges and universities use sports scholarships to attract talented young athletes. An athletic scholarship offers the opportunity to finance regular studies in the USA through sport. Scholarship holders regularly enroll in a course and at the same time join a selection team at the American university.
Service offerings from universities in the USA
Whether you have a study-related question or a personal problem – students will find the right contact person for every matter on campus. American universities consider students to be their customers, and the customer is known to be king. The universities and colleges try to outdo each other with ever new service offers. This can be seen in buildings such as the Student Union, which are being drawn up ever larger, with cinemas, bowling centers or their own food court.
At American universities, students can take advantage of a wide variety of advisory services, and a general distinction can be made between
- Academic Advising / Support: General study advice
- International Office: Central contact point for international students
- Learning Support: Supporting offers on topics with technical relevance or scientific work in the form of workshops or discussions
- Personal Support and Health Center: Contact points for mental and health problems
- Career Service: career advice.
In addition to these classic advice centers, American universities often have contact points for specific target groups such as students with children or students with disabilities or chronic illnesses.