I studied at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas at Austin during the 2020 Spring semester. For me, it was a memorable and fulfilling journey to explore a different culture and a great opportunity to learn, reflect, and develop.
During the exchange, I took two finance courses which are about corporate finance, one business ethics, and two mathematics courses. The study life in UT Austin is quite different from that in CUHK. More discussions and real cases are introduced in the class, and more homework and reading assignments are required after class. Moreover, in each semester, there are two midterm exams and a final exam in finance courses. Therefore, my learning experience there was a little bit stressful and challenging.
Accommodation and dining: UT Austin provides on-campus housing with a meal plan for exchange students. Honestly, comparing with price in the restaurants around the university, the meal plan could save you money. On the other hand, on-campus housing could save you some time from cooking and walking to the classroom. However, if you have no interest in the school canteens, you could book off-campus housing on the west campus or north campus which is relatively cheaper and better furnished in general. One platform for international students to book the off-campus housing is Simply International.
About Austin: Austin is a small but vibrant city. It is a center for business and technology and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The weather there is changeable. In January, it often rains, and the temperature could change from 5 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius in a week.
Traffic & Shopping: There is no metro in Austin but once you get the student ID of UT Austin, you can take the bus for free. Most daily supplies can be bought in Target and CVS which is around the campus, but if you want to go shopping, it takes around 15 minutes to the nearest Walmart by bus. The nearest shopping mall is the Domain and if you need Chinese food and conditioners, you go to China Town and 99 Ranch. You can take Greyhound to San Antonio and use Uber to San Marcos outlets.
Others: Contact UTCSSA (Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the University of Texas at Austin) and join their WeChat group could help you a lot. They also upload some useful tips on their website: utcssa.net. Check it out before you start your exchange in Austin!