My name is Aidan and I am a former exchange student at UW from England! I studied in Wyoming for two years from 2019-2021. I thought that as a prospective exchange student you may be interested in some advice on what to expect, and some tips to help maximize your time at the University of Wyoming.
Soon you will become a Cowboy or Cowgirl.
Whether you have selected classes now or still need some time it is important to be aware of a meaningful change in the style of teaching you will experience at UW. The American system offers a greater sense of collaboration and flexibility in classes. Students are often given weekly quizzes or assignments based on the readings or study material for the week. Higher-level classes will discuss the material in class in the form of debates or discussions which are likely to count towards your participation grade for the class. In addition, classes can have exams or short essay assignments usually due at the middle and the end of the semester. These are referred to as Mid-Terms and Finals.
Although these assignments will form the majority of your grade, just completing those alone may not be enough for you to pass the class. There may be many opportunities to build on your grade which could be different from the single exams or papers which you may be used to at your home institution. Another difference is that student-professor interaction is encouraged. You should expect to spend between 2 and 8 hours a week per class reading or doing homework. Office hours are a great way to talk through parts of the study material you find challenging or get to know your professor better! You will receive or have access to a syllabus for each class you are enrolled in. The syllabus will tell you what will be covered in the class, how it will be graded and what homework or reading should be done before each class meeting. It is a very good idea to refer to this regularly throughout the semester.
The University of Wyoming is the only university in the state of Wyoming and at UW you can find a lot of school pride. In fact, school pride is a significant part of being a student at any American university. You will find many students representing their school colors by wearing hats, t-shirts, and sweaters all in the school branding. You may purchase clothing at the bookstore on campus or you can find free t-shirts at events such as sports games or giveaways. At UW, students may attend all sports games for free!
You can join a club or intramural sports team at UW. Club teams may require trials to join but your chosen team will compete against other university teams in the region. Intramural sports have a casual feel, and you only compete with other UW students. Opportunities such as e-sports, soccer, volleyball, and canoe battleship all await and provide a great way to make friends. Students will advertise their clubs and teams towards the beginning of the Fall semester. They can be found on Prexy’s pasture and in the Wyoming Union.
Laramie is the gateway to the Snowy Range. You can ski, snowboard, snowmobile, and snowshoe from October until the end of March. A great way to indulge in all things snow is to make use of UW Outdoor Programs. You can affordably rent equipment for the semester and return it when it is time to go home. Outdoor programs also run classes to learn snow sports, and run trips to neighboring Utah and Colorado so you can hike the Rocky Mountain region.
Many exchange students arrive in Laramie and find initial difficulty with transportation. Outdoor programs have bikes available for students to use for the semester. Cycling is a good way to get around Laramie in the warmer months and you can even make use of local trails and parks to cycle through. UW operates a service known as “Safe Ride” which is a free taxi that will take you around the town. Many students make use of this to return from Downtown Laramie to their accommodation. A free local bus service runs around campus and between Downtown Laramie and the local Walmart (Grocery Store). You may make use of this service to attend class or pick up a bite to eat at the local restaurants. No regular public transport will leave Laramie. A Greyhound Bus to Denver operates on a restricted schedule and boards in West Laramie. This is not easy to access by walking. The Green Ride airport shuttle service is the only other bus service that leaves the town.
The nearest city to Laramie is Cheyenne (45 miles) which has a rich railroad history and a small mall. Fort Collins, Colorado has a large range of restaurants, events, and shops and is located 65 miles from Laramie. Many UW students visit these cities on the weekend and it is a good idea to make friends who own a vehicle. UW students recognize the remoteness of Laramie and are often obliging to help you visit the neighboring cities.
American universities often have a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) located on campus. These are students who attend the university but also perform objectives as they train to become US Army or Air Force Officers. You can expect to see them in your class or around campus wearing a military uniform.
During my exchange at UW I lived in a UW Apartment in the Bison Run village. I found that it was a great location, and I had access to a community of friends almost instantly. All accommodation options are also nicely situated near a cinema, restaurants, and a grocery store which I loved! If you do purchase a TV you can access many channels for free in any UW accommodation.
You may reach out to UW Residence Life and Dining to inquire about the names and emails of your future roommates before you arrive. I would recommend this so you can start to get to know students and maybe even plan some exciting adventures before you arrive. In my experience, I arrived in Laramie the week before classes started. My roommates took me to Yellowstone, Idaho, and Salt Lake City in 4 days so I could experience hot springs, theme parks, and the beautiful scenery before the semester began.
I hope you have a fantastic time in Laramie. Check out the explore tab (linked above) on this booklet for more information!