How can I convince you that the University of Mississippi is the perfect place for you? I really don’t know. I can only tell you about my experiences and my feelings that I connect with this place! The worst week was finals week – not because of the exams, because of the goodbyes. Over time you realize how close this place and the people grew to you heart. This time abroad will influence you and your life forever!
But let’s start from the beginning. The University of Mississippi (also called Ole Miss) is located in the gorgeous city of Oxford. It’s a small town place with about 30,000 people. The university has about 25,000 students. If you are looking for a typical American university, as you might have seen in movies or TV shows, this is the right place for you! For years this campus was voted “most beautiful campus in the USA!” and this is truly the case! In the first couple of weeks everybody is a little confused about all the different buildings, sport facilities, and possibilities for food. But that’s quickly gone. They have fraternaties for guys and sororities for girls. Their Houses? Amazing! They have diffrent kinds of parties and formals and you should (as much as possible) go to all of them. But most of the time this is only possible if somebody invites you. The rest of the party life in Oxford happens at The Square. The Square is in downtown Oxford and you should visit it during the day and at night. They have countless shops, restaurants, and bars with specials every day. Our go-to bar Tuesdays was Roosters because of $1 beer. It was never boring!
If you are interested in sports, no problem! On the one hand every sport is offered to do yourself and on the other hand there are multiple home games of the university teams every week. The sports culture is nothing like in Germany. College football is more important than the pro leagues (NFL) in a lot of parts of the USA. There are heated discussions about every decision of the coach or the university. If you visit in the fall semester you HAVE to go to the Grove for tailgaiting. The Grove is in the center of the campus and is normally a huge park. But during Rebel home games you can barely see it. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and thousands of people enjoy the mostly great weather, the food and drinks, and the whole atmosphere. If you aren’t excited about football before then, you will be once you experience the many traditions concerning football/university/sports. Just to name a few: the Walk of Campions, our Marching Band, the Ole Miss Chant (you learn that after a couple of days), or just “Hotty Toddy.”
“Hot Toddy” is really hard to describe. Only thinking about it gives me goosebumps. It’s a feeling of team spirit, family, fun, and yes, also motivation and success. It’s a way of living and a sign of unity. You use it for saying hello or just to show somebody that you are a Rebel. I’ve heard it a couple times in New York only because I was wearing an Ole Miss hat.
But let’s come to the most important part: the studies. The classes and tests are nothing like in Germany. Because of my studies at the corporate state university in Heidenheim I’m used to small classes, so this wasn’t a big adjustment for me. I didn’t have any class with more than 40 students. You have an attendance policy for every class. Some teachers are really strict with that, that they give you points for attending the class. They have quizzes, assignments (in some classes every week), midterms (which are normally about 10-15% of the final grade) and a final exam. So, your final grade adds up from many small parts, which makes it easier to get a good grade. I think the level is a little lower than in Germany. Some teachers offer bonus assignments for extra credits. With a little effort and some studying you should get an A or a B. Depending on your home university an A is converted into a 1,0 which should definitely boost your overall grade.
What else did I do? The university has an outdoor department (Ole Miss Outdoors) which offers a couple of weekend adventure trips. I went to Tennessee for Hiking and to Alabama for kayaking with them. The Alabama trip included the away game of the Rebels in Tuscaloosa. We went for a weekend trip to New Orleans (5.5 hour drive). Some went to Nashville (a 4.5 hour drive). For Thanksgiving break the international students spread all over the USA visiting different cities. Some went to California, some to Florida, and some did a road trip to the Atlantic Coast. I went to Atlanta, which was an awesome trip and Atlanta is a great city. There are thousands and thousands of opportunities.
All together it was a great time and a great four months! The preparation was partly stressful and there is a lot to think about before arrival. Everybody who wants to know more: I have my personal blog where I wrote all that down. Unfortunately it is in German, but I have a lot of tips, details and pictures here.
I can recommend taking this chance and studying abroad at Ole Miss. The place, the people, the feeling…it is just amazing! It sounds a bit cheesy but I will never ever forget this place! Many say that Ole Miss is a huge family and always there for you. I can only confirm that! A HUGE thank you to Hannah Juliff. Hannah is responsible for the incoming students at Ole Miss. She really grow to my heart. She and her husband Steve are the friendliest, most helpful, and most fantastic people I met in Oxford. I hope we stay friends forever!
For me personally I gotta get back to studying in Germany but I already started thinking about to my master’s degree back in Oxford.
For more information about our incoming study abroad program, please click here.