A look from abroad: Don’t take America for granted

I was recently talking to probably one of the ten people who read my opinion piece, a freshman named after the "actor" Vin Diesel, and he pointed out the fact that a lot of my opinion pieces are on the negative side. So I thought I’d prove him wrong by writing about all the things I love about the United States of America.

One thing I love about the USA is the American college life. Fraternities and sororities, dorms, even dining halls are a part of this wonderful tradition. In Australia the majority of people who attend university live at home. The freedom of moving away from home and living in a dorm environment is crucial for a young adult’s sanity. Parents mean well, but there comes a time when you need to move out of home and pretend you’re independent from them. The insular environment of the American college campus gives countless students this chance for pseudo-freedom. Dining halls here are pretty cool, despite their predisposition toward liquid cheese; the food is pretty good overall and endless refills of soda (or pop depending on where you’re from) are always a good thing.

A few weeks ago I visited Niagara Falls. While I assume a lot of the people reading this have seen Niagara Falls numerous times on school trips or family vacations, it was a novelty for me. This natural wonder was amazing, viewing the Falls from the iconic Maid of the Mist and getting sopping wet despite those sexy blue raincoats was one of the high points of my exchange so far.

Another highpoint was going to New York City before coming to Oswego State. Despite the fact that they no longer have the traditional yellow chequered cabs, it was still amazing to walk down the streets that had been immortalized in a plethora of films and television shows. Even though I was wearing flats I felt very Carrie Bradshaw as I walked the blocks of New York City.

I also love American sports. Baseball, football and ice hockey are all novelties to someone whose only experience of these sports has been through films. It seems like throughout this entire piece I’ve been rating my experiences by how closely they mirror American films and television shows. But in my defence, until I came here, films and television shows like "The Mighty Ducks" and "Remember the Titans" were my only source of information about American society. So when I go to my first ice hockey game I’ll probably half expect Emilio Estevez to give an inspirational speech in the last period of the game while solemnly nodding his head and shaking his fist.