I'm a college student at a university in Scotland who's studying abroad in California right now.
I was surprised to learn that frat parties are fun and going to bars is better here in the US.
There's also a lot more to do on campus in the US like attending sports games.
I grew up in Poland but moved to Scotland to attend the University of Stirling, where I am a third-year student. In January, I started my semester abroad, and I am now studying at San Diego State University in California.
In the few months I've been in the US, I have quickly realized that my social life here is drastically different than it is in the UK.
From campus activities to nightclubs, here's how my social life differs in the US and the UK.
My college in the US hosts campus events nearly every day
I love the various activities and events that are constantly happening on campus at San Diego State. There's usually a basketball game, midnight food trucks, karaoke nights, and guest speakers such as Carl Weathers and Penn Badgley.
Events like that don't really happen back at my home university. When we wanted a karaoke night, we had to organize it ourselves, and it wasn't even on campus; we had to find a private venue.
Back in the UK, college sports matches weren't popular among my friends. While we do have our own sports teams and they compete with other universities, going to watch them play isn't a social activity.
The biggest crowd I've ever seen for an interclub event in Scotland was about 200 people. Here in the US, my college welcomes nearly 12,000 people to the campus arena for basketball games.
In my experience, clubgoers are more mature in the US
While the drinking age is 21 in America, it's only 18 in Europe. So going out at night in the US often means partying with people who are slightly more mature than the 18-year-olds back home.
This seems like a small thing, but for me, personally, it's really important. I worked at a nightclub back in Scotland, so I know about the inner workings of clubs. Once I had to clean up vomit from the floor three times within the span of 15 minutes, as most teenagers can't handle their alcohol. I've been to many American clubs and bars, and I have yet to witness someone throwing up on the floor.
I get to attend large frat parties in the US, but in the UK we tend to go to bars
As a European, I have seen countless portrayals of the American frat party. I expected nothing more than shoddy gatherings of drunk, half-naked juveniles and trust-fund boys. But I quickly learned frat parties aren't so bad.
Sure, there's cheap alcohol, jumping into the pool from a rooftop, and drinking beer upside down straight from a keg, but all of that can actually be fun.
Moreover, the "mean girls" I expected to meet at frat parties have yet to make an appearance for me. I've met a few Regina George-type students back in the UK, but here in the US, everyone has been nice and welcoming.
By comparison, fraternities aren't a big thing in the UK, and the ones that do exist don't host parties on a daily basis. in fact, I have never been to a frat party outside the US, and I don't plan on changing that.
If I want to go out with my friends in Scotland we'll end up pub-crawling, which basically means hopping between bars. We don't really have a habit of throwing large house parties, because almost everyone lives in small flats.
I've noticed that my classmates in the US are much more casual about what they wear when going out
I was at a local grocery store recently, and I ran into some college girls in slippers and bathrobes. No one was paying them any attention, as if it was the most normal occurrence in the world.
In Scotland, I remember a time when I had to go out, and I was wearing pajamas and tried to cover them up with a hoodie. People stared at me as if I had just escaped from an asylum.
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