- by Samantha Tinsdeall
‘Rock Chalk, Jayhawk! KU!’, sunflowers and a sea of red and blue aptly covers the most memorable motifs of my year abroad in Lawrence, Kansas. The Midwestern College is as invested in ‘school spirit’ as the portrayals of US uni life lead us to believe on screen. The sprawling campus (hills included – the complete flatness of Kansas being a myth) is home to three sporting grounds for football (American of course), Basketball (pretty big deal at KU) and Baseball. The nature of these sports naturally leads to tailgating, cheerleaders and subsequent Frat parties, all of which are incredible things to see and partake in -especially being British; the accent goes a long way across the whole of Lawrence as well as campus. In particular the basketball games at KU are, in a word; insane. The stadium is routinely sold out and the Jayhawks make it the loudest stadium nationally, just to give you an idea of how incredible the experience is! No matter how involved with sport or like me how little you even registered it happening around you, at Kanas you can’t help getting excited about game days, even if your excitement simply comes from standing in a crowd of ten thousand with red and blue stripes on your face rather than excitement for the actual game.
As well as ticking many of the ‘all American school’ boxes KU is also home to Massachusetts Street (Mass Street), the main high street in Lawrence. The street is made up of lots of little one-off shops that are quirky and quite ‘hippyish,’ as well as a ridiculous amount of small restaurants that are there to feed you dishes from around the world (personal fave being a Mexican restaurant). Along with a whole host of bars each offering something a little different – from live music, classic cheese (cocktail with beads included), a take on both Irish and English pubs and also a few ‘clubs’! On the whole KU is a College that is made up of a lot of students from both in-state and out, surrounded by one of the friendliest towns I’ve been to. The whole experience for me was so laid-back and to re-emphasise, unbelievably friendly. This is a simple gloss of my year abroad in Kansas, so please if you have any questions feel free to ask!
Sam is in her final year at University of Birmingham studying ACS and English Literature