During the winter break, third-year Bachelor of Software Engineering student Jessica Hutcheson travelled to Michigan State University (MSU) to study an intensive short course in big data and social network analysis.
Jessica, along with three of her peers, made the most of their travel time by arriving in the US three weeks before the courses commenced, and used the time to explore.
Visiting LA, Vegas, New York, Washington DC and Chicago, the group stopped in at many of the popular tourist spots including Universal Studios, the infamous Las Vegas Strip, the world’s largest regional theme park, Six Flags and admired the New York City skyline at night.
Jessica also enjoyed the vast variety of food-related tourism, visiting the likes of M&M World, Hershey’s World and Coca-Cola World.
“Culturally, the biggest difference I found was the food. Almost everything is fried and covered with cheese!”
After three weeks of exploration, Jessica settled into her residence at Phillips-Snyder Hall on MSU campus to start her studies. It was here she met the rest of the students attending her course, all of whom were from Australia.
Jessica found the course to be more technical and harder than she expected, but well-worth the challenge. An average day saw her attending classes and lectures from 9-2pm, with homework and reading assignments given each day.
The program was designed to give international students of IT disciplines an understanding of the latest trends in big data and how to use them, from a US perspective.
“Overall, the course was really interesting. I would recommend it to students that are more technically minded with coding experience.”
It wasn’t all hard work for Jessica. The American Semester Program team also organised a number of cultural activities for the students including attending a baseball game, visits to the Ingham county fair, the Transverse Cherry Festival, the Motown Museum, open-air art installation the Heidelberg Project, Pewabic Pottery ceramic studio and a shooting range.
“If I was given the chance to do it all again tomorrow, I would do it in a heartbeat!” said Jessica.
Read more about the Aim Overseas courses.