Even after I had arrived in Jamaica, it still felt completely and utterly surreal. I had never been to another country so studying abroad in Jamaica was a whole new ball park for me. I had no idea what to expect! When we first arrived I was stunned by the beauty of it all. I kept having to pinch myself. I knew instantly that I was going to love it.
On our first full day of the trip we went to the University of the West Indies Mona campus that was in Jamaica. We learned about the history of the beautiful campus and saw the training field that Jamaica’s own Usain Bolt trains on! The most interesting part of UWI for me, was learning about student life compared to student life here at U of I. At UWI they were similar to us in the fact that they also have a lot of different clubs and extra curricular activities to take part in.One thing that did differ between UWI and U of I is that UWI does not have sorority and fraternities like we do here, instead they stay in residence halls and become loyal to their halls. Each hall has colors and competes in sports just like our greek life here does. It was so intriguing to learn all about it.
Another cultural thing that I found astounding, is that in Jamaica, since a large fraction of people do not attend college, people’s “alma mater’s” are their high schools, not where they attend college. This is very different from American culture, because I personally feel that people have more pride for their college than for their high school. I was excited, nervous, and eager to learn about all Jamaica had to offer.