It’s amazing how many people you meet at a university. Thinking about how many new people I have met since coming to UVa is quite surprising, the majority of them Americans but a lot of internationals too. Although this is a pretty diverse student population there is definitely a ‘type’ of UVa student and a large number of them have very similar backgrounds (middle/upper-middle class family, probably from Northern Virginia suburbs), clothes (boots or flip-flops with leggings or shorts and a North Face jacket or sorority/club t-shirt for the girls. Button-down shirts with a North Face jacket and chinos or shorts for the boys) and personality (bubbly, talkative, bright, very motivated, constantly busy, perhaps a little judgmental but generally very friendly). Obviously this is a MASSIVE STEREOTYPE and there are all sorts of people here, but that is your classic UVa guy/girl.
One interesting (I find, anyway) cultural difference between American and British students (or people in general, for that matter) is names. Yes, most people here are called Katie or Alex or Matt or something similarly non-noteworthy. However:
People I Have Met Whose Names You Generally Wouldn’t Find Among UK Students:
Kelsey, Hales, Brooke, Wesley, Sydney, Troy, Blake, Austin, Brittany, Clay, Chelsea, MaryClaire, Mary Margaret, Sarabeth
The “Are you a girl or a boy?” subcategory (hint: they are ALL GIRLS)
Ashby, Quinn, Tyler, Alexis, Blair, Avery, Payton, Evan, Kyle, Carter, Carlson (“Carly”)
The “Have I gone back in time?” subcategory
Anne (loads!), Barbara, Maureen, Edna, Moira.
And while two thirds of UVa students come from Virginia, as mandated by the state, the remainder of them come from all over.
I have met people from:
Delaware, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Vermont, Maine, Georgia, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Alabama, Mississippi, Nebraska, Colorado, Maryland.
England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Sweden
The main thing I have discovered though (and I realise this is totally cliched and “I’ve-travelled-therefore-am-so-deep-and-an-expert-on-life”-y) is that we’re all very much the same. Someone can be a Christian Republican from Alabama or from a tiny town in Germany or whatever and we can still have lots in common and get along perfectly well. Awww.
*People really do say that here.