Studying in the USA is not an opportunity that everybody gets and probably, you will not come back here in the near future. Therefore, you must make the most out of it.
During your stay in NYC you may have some free time, but not enough to travel abroad, so keep in mind that the spring break is the best period to discover well-known US states such as Nevada, California, Florida, and Louisiana. It has been agreed with Pace university that you can leave the US during the spring break holidays, so it may be tempting to visit other countries. But we advise you to visit other US states because each state has a totally different environment because the US is more like a continent than a country.
Here is the details of our trip and we hope it will be inspiring for you:
$3,55 was the bill we paid when we first went to the local Supermarket. We purchased one bottle of water and one bottle of Coca-Cola. Not very interesting, is it? Not very interesting except the fact we paid $1,68 for one bottle and $1,87 for the other one. And you know what? It is not a myth! 1L of the average brand of water is more expensive than 2L of Coca-Cola.
Teaching methods in the United States are quite different from those used in France. Being aware of these differences may allow French students to feel less confused during their first few weeks at Columbia University. The work requested, the amount of reading, the assessment method, the class participation, the relationship with the teachers, the purchase of books … All these elements must be taken into account when studying in the United States!
The semester really starts in the aftermath of the course selection process – during the first two weeks of September. To choose a course for the rest of the semester, it is essential to consult the syllabus of the course. At Columbia, these syllabi are very detailed: they contain the topics as well as the work required for each session of the semester, the list of resources to consult or buy as well as the evaluation method. While the first two sessions do not necessarily reflect the rest of the semester, carefully reading the syllabus of a course before choosing it allows you to evaluate the interest for the topics covered, the amount of work requested and the deadlines during the semester. Each professor and course taught at Columbia are different but shares some common characteristics, closely related to American teaching methods.
At the beginning of the semester, each student receives a Compass Card (this is the card you can use for public transport). Each month you have to recharge this card (on the website dedicated to it) to be able to use the card for the next month.
We can go everywhere by bus. The bordering cities of Vancouver (Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey) are easily accessible by the subway (called the SkyTrain) and we can go to Vancouver-North via a ferry (called a SeaBus)