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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Welcome to the Dirty T: International student Kieren Pascoe highlights the unique dynamic of American college life

Daniyal Ashad
Kieren Pascoe, an exchange student from Australia, discusses how campuses in the US are a lot closer and more social than they are in Australia on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Originally from the bustling streets of Melbourne, Australia, international student Kieren Pascoe found a new home in the Dirty T.

Pascoe, a law junior, came to the U.S. on a study abroad program through Monash University, he said, because he wanted a change from life in a big city, and out of all the college towns in the U.S., Tucson was a perfect fit.

“As soon as I started at my university and was exposed to study abroad, I knew I wanted to go because I thought it would be such an enriching experience,” Pascoe said. “I had always dreamed about an American college and thought it would be heaps of fun.”

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Pascoe said there are more degree options available to undergraduates in Australia.

Though he currently studies law as his main degree, he also majors in music and minors in criminology.

He intends to pursue a career that combines these interests.

“I’m interested in intellectual property within law because I am doing a music degree at the same time,” Pascoe said. “I would like to fuse the two together and do music copyright law or something, but I haven’t restricted myself to that.”

Because the law program at the UA is primarily postgraduate, Pascoe spends his time here enrolled mainly in music classes.

But he said his favorite class wasn’t a major-focused one.

“My favorite is probably Politics of Happiness,” Pascoe said. “I picked it last, because I needed a fifth class and I thought it would be easy. But it’s actually been really, really good and the lecture is amazing. I’ve learned so much.”

Pascoe found considerable differences in regards to the way college academics work in the U.S., which forced him to develop different habits in order to adapt to the change.

“There is a lot [more] homework than back home,” Pascoe said. “A lot of it feels unneeded sometimes, like when you are constantly hammered with little things. But back home, you would have four weeks to do one massive assignment and still wait until the last two nights to do it. The counterargument is that it keeps you busy and you don’t fall as far behind, [but] I feel like I don’t cram as much here, it is easier to keep up with it.”

Pascoe said traveling abroad taught him how to be more independent.

He said studying in the U.S. has allowed develop as a person and has given him a chance to organize his life.

One of the major differences between college in the U.S. and Australia, according to Pascoe, is that you live at home while you attend school in Australia.

“I was just used to my mom making me dinner and all that, but now I have all these other responsibilities and it’s made me more organized,” Pascoe said. “I can run my life better now.”

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In addition to academic differences, Pascoe pointed out how the closeness of the campus affected the large social aspect of American college life.

He said colleges in Australia are more commuter-type campuses and lack the larger social structures you find at colleges in the U.S.

While he favors being immersed in a more social college environment, Pascoe said he discovered how the nature of the social life differs, particularly went it came to parties.

“Here, people just pile into a house for an hour and cops come, and it’s crazy,” Pascoe said. “We had much more organized parties [in Australia]—they were all ticketed. They were weekly, but were run by the student society, so you would buy a ticket and go to a booze cruise or something like that. The drinking age is 18, so it was all about organized parties, but here it just seems like it’s all run amuck.”

While he’s enjoyed his time here at the UA, Pascoe said exploring the country has been his favorite part of studying abroad. He plans to travel more over winter break not only in the U.S., but in parts of Canada as well.

“I’m doing a lot of the things I wanted to do, like go to San Francisco and go to [Las] Vegas,” Pascoe said. “I definitely plan to come back, I want to keep exploring.”

Follow Lindsey Otto on Twitter.

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