University of New Mexico. ~ 30 000 students. Mascot - lobo (wolf).
Since the beginning of the year I've been writing notes to my phone of the things here that I've noticed/that are weird/that are different in Estonia or in Europe in general. So I feel like sharing them with you. Some of them may not come as any news, but you know, I just have to let it all out haha. No hard feelings & don't take me too seriously!
- When I moved to my own home, I saw my roomie Gonzalo putting bread into the fridge and I asked if that's something they do in Spain too? He said absolutely not, but we both saw our American host families do that here and then we both have kept doing it ever since... "just in case" hahaha. NEVER TRUST THE AMERICAN BREAD!!
- They never take their shoes off, when they go inside. That's something that never happens in Estonia. Shoes off! ALWAYS! (If my mom would only see this, goshh you americans giving her a heart attack just via internet.)
- The hell is going on with the tap mixers here? Why they always have 2 different handles - one for cold and the other for the hot water. I don't know why, but it pisses me off. In Estonia I feel like most of the places have the taps with one handle, but here you can't see these taps even in the best hotels. A completely random thing, but it's just hurting my brain whenever I wash my hands or take a shower :D
- Sandwich is something that always has 2+ slices of bread. And then there's me always trying to reduce the amount of bread slices in my sandwich to 1, cause that's what Estonian sandwich looks like.
- A lot of classes here use something called the almighty iClicker in every single class. I had never heard of it before I came here. It's like a little remote-thingy, which makes the classes more interactive and you can answer multiple choice questions with it. Something similar to Kahoot, that we're used to use. But of course you have to pay shitloads of money for this little remote, cause that's how things work here. money money money.
- Scantron tests were also completely new to me. Wish all my exams in Estonia were scantron tests haha. The professors here really seem to like multiple choice questions whereas in Estonia students are begging for them, but since they are considered too easy, we mostly have short essay style questions on our exams.
- I must say I have huge respect for the professors here! Everybody seems to LOVE their job, LOVE teaching. They are like real professional educators. Whereas in Estonia, I feel like professors do their job for other reasons, they don't really enjoy teaching you. That makes me sad.
- Although I don't know what's going on in our Spanish class haha. In every class we have super long, intense and completely irrelevant discussions about food, TV series, break dance origins and youtube videos (in English).... that class is fun tho.
- It seems to me that joining the military forces here is super popular amongst youngsters, whereas in Estonia I'd say it's quite the opposite. And wearing their uniforms to school seems to be cool.
- Americans don't use perfume (or eau de toilette)?! I don't think I ever leave the house without. Neither does any of my European roommates haha. Perfume is a MUST! I can smell my friends from a mile away in Estonia, everybody has their signature scent! I don't know, but I'm just so used to it and love perfumes and here it's rare to smell any perfumes when walking around people.
- CHEEESE & HAM?!!? By just saying these 2 words out loud I can tell that all of my European friends here are just crying inside, because we miss the good fromage and jamon. I want to cry every time I do my groceries and I have to pick the cheese and ham, the selection is just so poor. And even the most regular stuff doesn't taste nearly as good as the things we have.
- A loooot of people eat NONSTOP during the classes. I'm just trying to hold back my laugh as they pull out a whole picnic table from their backpack. Not that it's something bad, I'm just not used to seeing students eating a really well prepared multiple course meal during just one lecture haha.
- It's okay to write your nickname everywhere instead of your full name here. To me that's odd. I don't feel like writing Sussu Kõomägi on the top right part of my exam haha. I'm pretty sure if someone did that in Estonia, the professor would give that person a very long and questioning gaze....
- Some really popular things here - bouldering, mountain climbing, guns & gym. REALLY POPULAR. Although a lot of people think that if you go to America you're going to see many overweight people, I'd say that the people in Albuquerque at least are very fit. Working out is popular.
ROAD RAGE? Before I came here I had never even heard of the term. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 33% of all the traffic accidents are linked to road rage. It's so awful how common this thing is here. You can get shot just by switching lanes, because maybe a psychopath who happens to keep a gun in their car is driving just behind you. Imagine that. A friend of mine just showed me how a bullet went trough his car & he didn't even break any traffic laws...
- Soda. Soda. SODAAAA. Americans are crazy about soda. It's not just Coca/Fanta/Sprite. It's countless amount of different sodas. Strawberry coca, vanilla coca, cherry coca, black cherry vanilla coca, green tea coca, orange coca, vitamin coca....etc. Uh, can I just have some water please? Water is always FREE tho! Thank god!
- I reallly realllyy miss fine dining. Good restaurants. Absolutely beautifully garnished food. Healthy meals. Eating out here mostly means fast food. Burgers & sandwiches everywhere. I can't wait to go to all my favourite restaurants in Estonia. Such a good place for food tourism, honestly.
- Taxes are never included on price tags + the tipping system sucks. I always end up paying more than I intended to.
- People seem to care less about their appearance here than they do in Europe. When I think I dress normally for school, I'd often get some weird looks and people asking me why am I so fancy today haha. And then there's a guy sitting next to me wearing a Winnie the Pooh ONESIE. I'm out hahahhaa.
- My favourite part is THE BACKPACKS! This country just loooooveees them haha. It took me 3 MONTHS to see a person with a handbag at school. In Estonia I feel it's quite the opposite. When you get to your teens, backpacks suddenly become super "uncool" and you try to avoid them for the rest of your life, unless they are designer bags or those cool looking hipster backpacks. Okay it's not that bad, but trust me the backpack to handbag/any other bag ratio here is really different from Estonia.
- Hats, caps, snapbacks - these things are super popular here. And the weird part is that they are glued to people's heads. Nahhh, not really, but they never take them off. In Estonia it's considered kind of rude if you go inside and don't take your hat off. Here I'm guessing people are sleeping with the hats on too. But hey, if nobody bothers, why should I? I still take my hat off when I go to class tho, old habits never die.
- There are some rules that are unwritten, but I thought that they were more or less the same everywhere, until I started noticing that one of my classmates puts his feet on the table in during almost all the lectures. I don't know if it's only me, but it really cracks me up if I'm standing in front of the class, doing my presentation, and he's just casually there sitting in the front row with his feet on the table like he's at home on the sofa eating popcorn and watching a movie :D:D. Not to mention that he's a lot older than me. Oh, the manners....
- One last thing! HEALTHCARE?!?!? This country does not want you to live long haha. It's soooo expensive. No, but seriously. My friend got hit by a car. A CAR. And I asked him if he went to see the doctor and he said no, because it's too expensive. This is not okay. At all.
Okay, enough of comparing. Let's talk about the campus. The campus here absolutely rocks my socks. So much cooler than TTÜ. The vibe is just....more than just good.
People are ALWAYS skating, long boarding, biking etc. Whyyy don't we have this in Estonia? I love it so much.
Sadly, I don't have many pictures of what's going on on campus during the night time. You'd assume that it's probably quiet, I mean who wants to hang out at school when you don't necessarily have to. Hmmm A LOT OF PEOPLE.
The campus turns into a PLAYGROUND at night. People are practicing backflips, walking their dogs, chasing pokemons, skating, working out, playing music, just hanging out!
My absolute favourite things are the LIGHTSABER FIGHTS! How cool is that hahaha. People dress up, like really dress up - it's like a hecking cosplay on campus!! Kylo Ren and Han Solo casually fighting with lightsabers. Oh, I'm gonna miss this.
HOW COOL ARE THESE DORMS?? Private pool, hot tub, gym, grill area....can I just stay here..
Love you, life. Peace out!