American versus European Universities

Updated: May 19, 2021

As you can imagine, US colleges and public European universities share similarities, but vary immensely culturally and institutionally. I began my college career in 2017 at UCSB which I resided for two years. Then as my friends and fellow peers were "studying abroad" I thought why not just finish college abroad too?

After a successful application, I was accepted into an entirely different program at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. The past year and a half I have spent here have been magnificent yet still shocking at times, which has pushed me to grow as a person. I wanted to share with you a comparison of my experience' attending university in the US and in the EU. Along with how I have managed to rediscover my passions and change my life for the better. See how I fell in love with my life all over again!


Life at UCSB was incredible, to say the least. I value my time spent there very much. I got to experience all the best aspects of American college life firsthand at a beachside college. I spent 2 years living in Santa Barabara first living in the on-campus dorms then the second year, living oceanside on Del Playa (the main party street of UCSB) in Isla Vista.

Two years at UCSB were filled with fun, adventure, and some studying of course. Life in Santa Barabara was very much connected to nature. We would spend our free time laying in the sun, being active, playing sports, surfing, hanging at the beach, hiking, and the occasional shopping trip to the downtown area. The best thing about being at a beachside college was being able to socialize and party on the ocean.

Parties were super essential to the college lifestyle and consistent throughout the week, we would often go out 5 to 6 days of the week! Even though the “daygers” in the sun were so incredible at the time and the nighttime-themed parties were crazy, it was very much so a culture of binge drinking, especially at such a young age. I was leading very unhealthy lifestyles there my first year with the dining halls, late-night food orders, and binge drinking, leading me to ‘the freshman 15’ of course. However, it is completely normal for any young adult’s first time away! My favourite thing I now appreciate about the parties was the regularity of meeting people since most everyone would go to the same few parties each time, especially once I officially joined the greek life in the spring of my first ye