It's been a week and half since I arrived at Cornell and during that time I've pretended to be a freshman. It was fun for the week because I did all the freshman things - stand up comedy, rock concerts, casino night (I have much more sympathy for people addicted to gambling now), movies and an endless number of icebreakers which failed to break any ice.
But soon my residence hall friends saw through my charade and realised that yes, I was three years older than all of them. It felt kind of funny being the odd one out - but I guess any exchange student is always going to be the odd one out. You're always kind of alone - you've left everyone you know/care about back home, and you have to form new friendships with people you know you'll have to leave soon.
But I really like the place I'm living at the moment. Each residence hall has a faculty-in-residence which means an academic from the university lives in the hall - our one decided that the theme for this semester would be India, so we had a cricket game yesterday. That was good - I've always been below average at cricket, but yesterday I was amazing! Mainly because people were still trying to figure out the rules...but it still felt good being better than everyone at something. But everyone loved it and had a good time.
Anyway, I managed to get into all my classes. In America, the system's a bit different - class sizes are limited (which is good because you get more attention, but bad because if you don't get into the class you don't get any attention) - so you have to convince the professor to let you into the class. I personally think all my courses are fascinating - well at least the titles are - I'm taking Cognitive Neuroscience, Evolution of Language, Psychology of Emotion and Drugs and the Brain. Thats 14 credits which is about average - the minimum is 12 credits - and there's no maximum but doing about 18 is a little strange.
I'm also taking beginner swimming, intermediate tennis and going on a canoe camping trip. Cornell has this whole range of physical education courses that you can pick from and take for credit - meditation, martial arts, rock climbing, dancing etc.
Nothing too funny has happened to me except a freshman from New York asking me where Australia was, meeting another Australian exchange student whose favourite pastime is telling Americans false stories about Australia, finding out there's an organisation called SHAG (sexual health awareness group), and watching Dodgeball. There's a funny movie. And someone asking me to put another shrimp on the barbie - I saw that coming sooner or later though.