Spending almost a month back at home made my time in Minnesota seem like a dream; you can’t really describe to anyone all the things that you have experienced and have seen.
I landed back in Minneapolis on the 16th of January. I was incredibly tired and leaving home was a little difficult but after a few days of adjusting back to the American time zone I began to remember why I had fallen in love with Minnesota. Classes immediately started and they seem a little more ‘American’ this semester. There’s more participation, group work and weekly tasks but I think I have finally come to terms with this American style of teaching and learning. I am taking a Brand Management class this semester where we are working with a non-profit business and delivering a series of presentations to the directors to help them to develop their brand. It is really interesting, especially being able to see how the theory can be used in practice and applied to a real company. That’s definitely been my favourite class I have taken this year.
As the weeks have gone by I have also began to meet all the new exchange students for this semester, the group is a lot smaller but everyone seems so nice and I’m excited to get to know them better. ‘Globe,’ the International society of Carlson School of Management have formed a ‘Broomball’ team that is made up of American students and exchange students. ‘Broomball’ is like hockey but on ice and you wear trainers not skates. At first it was a little scary as the ice is so slippery but after overcoming the fear of falling (by falling several times) the game was really fun! Although we lost our first match, we tied in on our second. Hopefully with a bit more practice we will conquer the Minnesota sport.
At the weekend my American friend Mikayla took another exchange student Ellie, and I up to her family’s farm in Medford, Wisconsin. I have never seen so much snow in my life. The farm was surrounded by hundreds of acers of forests that were covered in thick, white snow. It was beautiful. We got to experience some real Midwest Winter activities. Although it is really cold, the sun is always shining and people from Minnesota and the surrounding states know how to make the best out of the cold winter months. We started the day with an all-American brunch and then headed outside to begin the winter activities. We started with some sledging and I fell off straight away and almost crashed into a tree. After discovering my talent for sledging I decided to take it one step further and try snowboarding for the first time, that was also a struggle but really fun! We also did some cross-country skiing and learnt how to drive a snow mobile. The day was so fun and I was so grateful for Mikayla and her welcoming family. Living in Minnesota is something so different from being in Ireland or Manchester. I would never get to experience these activities at home. I have even become accustomed to the winter temperatures as anything above -5 degrees I now consider to be warm!
We are currently planning our Spring Break, we are hopefully either heading to Mexico or California in March. American’s only get a week off compared to our month off during Easter. I am hoping to get in a few more trips to new states before my year abroad is finished.
This semester is a little different from last semester as I find myself counting down the months that I have left in America. Time has really flown by and I will be so sad to have to say my final goodbye to Minnesota. I am excited for the months ahead and for all the memories that will be created.