With this being the month of March Madness, let’s take a look back on the time the Montana Grizzlies had in the craziness of March last season. The Griz would draw the powerhouse Michigan Wolverines in Wichita, Kansas. The Griz were ranked as a 14 seed after winning the Big Sky championship game and having a dominant record of 26-7. Montana would fall to the 3 seeded Wolverines 47-61. Michigan would make it all the way to the National Championship game and eventually fall short to Villanova.
It is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).
“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan
“Sacramento, California!” – Me
“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan
“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me
Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”
I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.
By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor
Look, exchange semester/year is just like a life, accelerated on a whole new speed! You never cry about yesterday, you never plan tomorrow and as for today – you just live it! To the fullest! Everything happens with the speed of light and sometimes people do not pay attention how they change while on exchange. They don’t appreciate all the “perks” of it. I as an “experienced” exchange student, will try to give you 18+ reasons why you should go on exchange.
So here we go:
- You live with a host family. But you always wanted to move away from your family, well now you have 2 families to move out from.
- You get to experience different education standards, as well as different learning techniques – no more flashcards.
- You start being concerned about global issues. As if any of those were up to you to decide.
- You travel! Ok, that really is exciting…
- You get out of your comfort zone. Dude, it’s called COMFORT zone because it’s comfortable, why would you get out of it?
- You become more responsible. Now you feel even more concerned about global issues, but still none of them are up to you to decide.
- You get to try traditional food. Don’t go to Italy, it is not too different from food back home.
- You make life-long friends! Exchange ends soon, but your friendship stands strong – in skype.
- You learn about awesome career opportunities and you start planning your life accordingly. But then you find out that 99% of the jobs are restricted to national citizens.
- Now your friends back home have new inside jokes. And no, they will not share them with you, instead they will laugh at you after you go back.
- You drink a lot of beer, but not too much. But unfortunately, you can never accurately measure how much is “too much”.
- Semester abroad will look great on your resume, but 99% of the jobs are still restricted to national citizens.
- You fall in love.
- Everything is so much cheaper. So now you buy expensive stuff.
- You make memories that matter. You will tell about them to your friends, family, kids, dogs and cats back home. They will all hate you for talking about exchange all the time. ALL THE TIME.
- You get to go to your favorite band’s concert. But they never show up(that’s what happened to me).
- On exchange you stop judging the book by its cover and realize that 18+ in the title above is just another way of saying “more than 18.”
P.S University of Montana is where I am doing my exchange. It has shortly become my favorite place. I enjoy every single day here and try to get as much out of my exchange as possible. In fact, I work at the international center specifically in study abroad department. I strongly recommend every student to go on exchange and use this incredible opportunity of finding himself/herself through the adventures of living in a foreign country.
My little piece of advice: Go to American University in Bulgaria – Great school with great people!
Post by Omari Lomiashvili, Junior at University of Montana, School of Business Administration