I’ve had the amazing opportunity of spending last semester abroad, at Purdue University in the USA, and I thought I would share my experience here – hopefully this will come in handy to anyone else considering going to Purdue.


Once I’d actually made it to Purdue, in West Lafayette, after having departed rainy Southampton a mere 40 odd hours earlier, I was warmly greeted by several members of staff, and with what would become a rather typical snow storm.

Weather in Indiana turned out to be rather unpredictable, with sunny weekends being followed by snowy Mondays, in turn followed by tornado Tuesdays, and wind storm Wednesdays.

My first week was a bit hectic, with most of my classes already assigning homework / quizes, and having to sit exams for my first semester classes. Luckily everything was reasonably well organized.

Breaks are few and far in between, but some other exchange students and I rented a car (more like a small armored vehicle by European standards) and headed to the Smokey Mountains for spring break! Turns out everyone in Tennessee does actually wear cowboy boots and hats. They’ve also managed to put Taylor Swift’s macbook in the Country Music hall of Fame, which I really can’t recommend.

They have an airport on Campus, along with a pilot club, which is awesome if you fancy going flying – some of the approaches are right above campus. Here are a couple pictures I took whilst on a trip to Rantoul:

Purdue Campus viewed from one PPI's PA28's
Purdue Campus viewed from one PPI’s PA28’s


Final approach into Purdue Airport
Final approach into Purdue Airport

As far as accommodation goes, I had a room in Hawkins hall, which turned out to be rather nice (though not nearly as fancy as First or Third Street). I had a Korean roommate, and we got along as well as two pod-less peas. Food-wise, I bought a meal-plan (13 a week), and the food in the dining courts turned out surprisingly good! There were five different ginormous dining courts, and menus changed constantly.


My first impression of the campus turned out to be rather mistaken as I somehow managed to get on the wrong bus in Indianapolis (the capital of Indiana), and ended up at Indiana University. Of course I only realized this as the bus driver was announcing our imminent arrival at IMU (Indiana University Memorial Union) instead of the anticipated PMU (Purdue University Memorial Union).

Campus turned out to be huge. If it were in Southampton, one corner would contain Highfield Campus, and the other corner would contain Southampton Airport. Luckily, they have a surplus store that will sell you a bike for 10 dollars. The campus also contains every imaginable thing: from a basket ball stadium, to an airport. Some of the buildings are a lot older than I expected, dating back to the mid 1800s.


I study Computer Science, and took three relevant courses:

  • Operating Systems (CS503)
  • Cryptography (CS555)
  • Compilers (CS352)

All three of these were a lot more work than typical classes in Southampton, but well worth it! They’re all laden with homeworks, quizes, courseworks, and midterms, but feedback is prompt, and the profs are very knowledgeable.

I also took a history class which counted as my “broadening” module in Southampton, History of Aviation (HIST384), which turned out to be particularly good due to the historical importance of Purdue in aviation (Neil Armstrong and Amelia Earhart amongst others studied at Purdue).

Purdue also offers a bunch of fun classes that we wouldn’t even dream of having in Southampton, such as Wine Tasting, Golf, or Bowling. I ended up taking the latter, which consisted in showing up twice a week at the bowling alley in the basement of the student’s union, and well.. bowling. It was positively awesome (and I now hold an A in bowling!).

A semester at Purdue

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