There’s more than studying in studying abroad

USC students participate in the Taste of Annenberg involvement fair. Flickr/USCAnnenberg

USC students participate in the Taste of Annenberg involvement fair. Flickr/USCAnnenberg

I was always told that going to college would be the best time of my life. So far it has definitely been wonderful, but I will have to wait for the semester to end to reach a final conclusion.

One of the main reasons this stage is so exciting is that you are at a very special age. You are old enough to do adult things but young enough not to have all the adult responsibilities. Your main duty is to study — which is no small feat but still gives you a lot of free time. But in order to make the best of this freedom, having the support of your university to explore what you are passionate about, is vital.

University is supposed to be more than classes and exams. We are not here only to find a job; we are here to find our personality and to find our own way of thinking. Facilitating this for every student is undoubtedly very hard, but, as far as I am concerned, I think that USC has managed to do it pretty well, or at least better than the universities I know of in Spain.

You are not a USC student, you are a Trojan. It all starts there. Since Owen R. Bird gave this name to the University back in 1912, a strong identity began to form. Besides a healthy habit, sports are a great educational tool, and an amazing way to unite all students to either represent or support their university. If you want to make all these people proud of the place where they study, hosting events like football games (and tailgates) is a very effective way to do it. And it’s a lot of fun, too.

However, it is not only about sports. What about this blog post? Something like this would not be possible at my Spanish university, since we do not have a newspaper. The Daily Trojan provides stories for students, made by students, and that makes it a unique newspaper. It contains articles that might not be published anywhere else.  

Another thing I love about USC (and many other American universities) is how student associations are formed. The involvement fair at the beginning of the semester was astonishing. There are also student organizations in my home university, but they do not have that as big a presence compared to those at USC. Even though students will and commitment is what really makes an association successful, infrastructure and means are needed. The more resources your university gives you, the more encouraged you will be to start up a new project.

I think that one of the reasons why extracurricular activities are more popular here is because universities are larger in every sense (everything in the United States is XL size as compared to Europe ,and universities are no exception). These huge institutions normally have more resources, too. We can never forget that education is not an expense but an investment. However, I think the success of extracurricular clubs and organizations is due to perspective and strategy, too, and I will try to bring some of that back to Spain.