Through a partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, Southern students can study in the United Kingdom, and students from Liverpool can study in New Haven. Launched in 2015, the program takes advantage of common programs and missions between the two universities, while giving students at each school a chance to experience a different culture.
Alex Lowe and Ryan Finnigan are both exchange students from Liverpool John Moores University. Both Lowe and Finnigan say there are many differences between school in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“There’s much more of a community atmosphere,” says Finnigan, who is originally from Northern Wales.
Lowe, in his prominent Scouse, the Liverpudlian accent, says that students at Southern seem to be more involved than the students back home. He says that there are a lot of expectations of what American colleges are like based off popular movies, but that he tried to keep an open mind.
Additionally, Finnigan says that the American culture encourages getting involved and discussing.
Finnigan adds that in the United Kingdom: “ There’s a sort of conformity to like, not be interested. If you put your hand up, people will look at you like, ‘What are you doing?’”
The two students, along with other exchange students from LJMU, have immersed themselves in American culture by exploring as much as they can. Trips include; New York City, Salem, Massachusett; Boston; Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The two both plan on traveling a lot more once it gets warmer, and are looking to possibly visit Niagara Falls, Vermont, Cape Cod.
“Getting there’s been a lot easier than I thought,” says Lowe.
“It sort of puts it into scale how small the United Kingdom. is,” Finnigan interjects, while considering the size of the Northeast compared to England.
Some LJMU students, like Jodie Oldbury and Sasha Bowens, however, say getting around in New Haven is a little inconvenient.
“It’s a lot harder to get around than it is back in England,” Bowens says.
LJMU is located in the middle of city center, says Oldbury. There she was able to walk five minutes to nearby shops. Here, there is a lot more distance from Southern to downtown, New Haven.
While she thinks the downtown area is nice, she says shopping-wise it’s not much. “We thought with Yale being there, there might be more high street shops nearby.”
The pair also noted that people tend to be nicer on this side of the Atlantic, with Oldbury mentioning that “the people are a lot more positive around here…which I kind of like.”
At first, Oldbury thought she was going to hate it and that it was going to get on her nerves but ended up really enjoy it.
Oldbury says there is also a different exam culture in the United States. compared to the United Kingdom. As Lowe mentioned, much of the bulk of the grade in the United Kingdom is placed on one final assignment or exam at the end of the semester.
Oldbury enjoys the amount of interaction in classes here and finds the possibility of having multiple assignments going toward grade averages very helpful, as students have more chances.
“I feel like it’s more of a uni community than at home; I feel like [at LJMU] you have to join a sports team or something to get involved,” says Olbury.
Both Lowe and Finnigan agree there are many differences between higher education in the United Kingdom compared the United States.
In the United Kingdom, Finnigan says quality is stressed over quantity.
“In the United Kingdom you’d do no work all semester and then at the very end you’ve got an essay that’ll be like 3,000 words.”
Lowe says that the workload is not necessarily harder, and there is just more of it and they do not really have homework.
“Back home, the teacher will ask a question, and everyone just sits in silence, and someone will reluctantly put their hand up, but here everyone’s fighting for the chance to speak,” Lowe says. “That’s what university should be like.”
By Cesar Gonzalez