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Campus life in the USA

While universities in Germany are primarily perceived as centers of academic activity, universities in the USA are also known for their unique campus life. Student life at US universities has been the inspiration for many college films.

Some university locations in the US are so big that the Comparison with a small town certainly offers. Supermarkets and art galleries, huge football stadiums and large-scale parks - all of these can be found in American universities.

The number of students at universities and community colleges in rural areas is often smaller than at universities in large cities. Since there is usually limited entertainment and catering outside of larger cities, that matters Campus life at rural universities traditionally one bigger role. Also the Community spirit is often very pronounced there.

In contrast, large metropolises in the USA such as Los Angeles, New York or San Diego attract with an almost limitless range of leisure activities and a lively nightlife. Hence comes campus life at inner-city universities partially one less important too and student life is more focused on the cities.

US campus facilities

© California State University Long Beach

Generously dimensioned pools are part of campus life in the USA.

Many US colleges and universities have so many facilities that students could theoretically only be on campus. Generally you can certain types of facilities that are available at almost every university in the United States.

Teaching and research institutions

American colleges are for theirs excellent technological equipment in research and teaching known. Lecture halls (Lecture halls) and seminar rooms are available in all sizes. Some classrooms have interactive whiteboards, in others every seat is equipped with a PC.

In addition, there are rooms that differ according to subject area. Modernly equipped research laboratories, radio and television stations, photo studios or writing laboratories are just a few examples.


The university libraries are an integral part of campus life in the United States. Some are among the largest library systems in the country. Here, some students have access to several million volumes.

Many libraries are open late and some cater to students 24/7 study areas. Depending on requirements, there are computer workstations, group and individual rooms, workstations in Media Labs or, in some cases, workstations with a 3D printer to choose from. Most of the universities also have one Bookstore, in which students can buy specialist literature and often acquire lecture notes.

Student Union

The Student Union is a popular contact point for students and an ideal place to pass the time. It is usually a building where a variety of student activities take place. Often there is Game Rooms with pool tables, table football and game consoles. A pool, cinema or your own Food court are often also in the building of the Student Union to find.


The departments are among the best-known administrative institutions of American universities Student Services or Student Affairs. Here students can find contact persons for all questions regarding the organization of their studies.

They can also be found at universities in the USA classic university administrative institutions. These include, for example

  • Admissions Office
  • Division of Business and Financial Affairs
  • Facilities Management Services
  • Academic Personnel Office.


The gastronomic offer at US universities and colleges is very diverse. The main starting point are those cafeteria-like Dining halls on the campus. In many cases there are additional ones Food courtsin which restaurants, snack bars, cafés, salad and snack bars adjoin each other.

Some universities also have one own supermarket or offer students the opportunity to buy small snacks or drinks at the kiosk.

Student residences and apartments

Different than in Germany the majority of students usually live on campus. especially the Undergraduate-Students typically live in a dormitory while studying in the United States On-campus. Two students often share a double room there.

However, there are also universities and colleges with you Apartment complexes on or near campus. In contrast to a room in a dormitory, apartments are usually equipped with a kitchen and a bathroom and enable students to cater for themselves.

Sports facilities and recreation center

What would campus life in the USA be without spacious sports and leisure facilities? University sports play an extremely important role in the United States. Fitness studios, multi-purpose halls for basketball, volleyball and badminton, Tennis courts and swimming pools are almost part of the basic equipment. Some universities also have their own football stadiums, with golf courses, climbing gyms and indoor jogging tracks.

Many sports facilities are at the US universities in the so-called Recreation Center, REC for short. As a rule, students have to pay a certain fee per semester in order to use the sports facilities of the university. The Recreation Centeroften offers outdoor activities at discounted conditions. Registration for a sports course or a sports club is often also made via the Recreation Center.

Service facilities

The service concept is very strong at colleges and universities in the USA. That is why there are various service facilities like that International Student Services Office or one Accommodation Service in the dormitories. There are also career centers (Career Center), IT service centers, health centers (Health center) or security facilities (Campus Police). Centers for students with disabilities (Office for Students with Disabilities) or students with children (Children's Center) can be found many times.

Leisure opportunities on campus

© California State University Los Angeles

Dance clubs and cheerleading are just one of hundreds of ways students can spend their free time on campus in the United States.

The Social life is very important at American universities. The range of leisure activities at universities and colleges is correspondingly diverse.

Lots Students spend a large part of their free time On-campus. This is especially true for Bachelor students, who are generally more active in clubs and student associations than Master and Ph.D. students. The latter tend to be more focused on studying and less involved in US campus life.

Student clubs and organizations

Student groups and clubs are inextricably linked to campus life in the United States. In American universities there are groups on just about every topic. Many universities have more than 100 clubs. Those who join a club get to know other fellow students and often make connections more quickly.

Although the individual clubs are different, several types of student organizations can be distinguished:

  • Academic and subject-related clubs: At every university there are clubs that are assigned to the academic departments or individual colleges. They offer students the opportunity to to be exchanged professionally and are a good networking opportunity. Some of these academic-related associations are only accessible to students with excellent academic performance (Honor Societies).
  • Political Clubs: Political student organizations are also widespread. Members identify with a particular party or discuss issues affecting regional, state, or national politics. Often the clubs also have an influence on the cultural and political life at the university.
  • Cultural connections: Cultural groups are not directly related to studies. It is primarily students who come together here who feel connected due to their ethnic and cultural origins. The clubs are also open to those interested in deal more intensively with a culture want. For example, there is one depending on the university Spanish Club, one Indian Students Association or one African Student Association. Cultural groups often organize events to introduce their own culture.
  • Religious groups: Religious groups are also part of campus life in the USA. The members share a common belief or they are interested in a particular belief or worldview.
  • Leisure and sports clubs: At the American universities is found a dedicated sports club for almost every sport. The offer ranges from ice hockey Martial arts all the way to Quidditch. The sports are offered at different levels. There are also a large number of leisure clubs such as board game, hiking or debating clubs.
  • Social groups: Even social groupings that share a common civic engagement links are common at American universities. The members perform Community Service in neighboring communities or districts and try to raise awareness of certain social issues.

Student Fraternities in the US: Fraternities and Sororities

Phi Delta Kappa, Sigma Phi or Kappa Sigma - Student links can be found at almost every college in the United States. They are traditionally gender segregated and can be divided into Fraternities"(Brotherhoods) and"Sororities"(Sister creation) distinguish. The members of a brotherhood or sisterhood often live in a common house on campus.

Student affiliations in the United States have one centuries-old tradition. Each house is usually named after two to three Greek letters. For this reason it is dated Greek System the speech. Depending on the connection, the members are involved in social causes, do voluntary work in communities or share a common academic commitment. For this reason, membership in a Greek Organization often good on the résumé.

Fraternities and Sororities however, are not only notorious for their commitment, but also for theirs Greek parties known. In the US, it is by law Only allowed to drink alcohol at the age of 21. Therefore, many Bachelor students come to the Greek parties the first time in contact with alcohol. The media mostly report on student connections in connection with alcohol and drug excesses and sexual assault. But Greek Organizations Reducing it to wild parties fails to recognize the community character, the often widespread alumni network and the commitment of many student associations.

In general, American fraternities are a great way to meet other students, experience campus life in the United States, and plan activities together. However, students usually have to pass several admission rituals to become a member, some of which are described as discriminatory and harassing. In some cases it drags on Admission process over several months down.

In addition, usually fall for membership not insignificant membership fees at. Prospective students should therefore consider in advance whether they want one Greek Organization want to connect.

Events on campus in the USA

© University of Minnesota

Workrooms with computer workstations can be found at many universities and colleges in the United States.

Boredom doesn’t come up so quickly at American universities - not even with students who do not want to join a club or student association.

Even before the beginning of the academic year, the so-called traditionally takes place at colleges and universities in the USA Orientation or Welcome Week instead of. International students receive useful information about their studies and are shown around the campus. In addition, the university organizes or that International Office During this time there are usually various events such as barbecues or excursions in the area.

During the semester, international students also have the opportunity to participate in different activities, be it on excursions to well-known sights or day trips to amusement parks.

Cultural and sporting events

Events and events take place at American universities throughout the semester. Quite a few universities have own museums, concert halls, cinemas or art galleries. Film evenings and readings, concerts and band contests, theater and dance performances alternate.

The atmosphere is particularly exuberant during the many Sporting events. Whether basketball, football or hockey - when the university's own teams compete, the rule is Exemption at American universities. Tickets are usually available free of charge for students. The demand is correspondingly high.

American college parties

Of course, parties are also an important part of campus life in the US. Some universities are even considered Party schools known. There is a strict ban on alcohol in American student dormitories. Nevertheless, some unofficial "Dorm parties" instead of.

In larger cities in particular, there are various nightlife options near the university that students are happy to make use of. The famous house partiesthat regularly in the Frat Houses occur. Many parties have a motto. For example, there is "Toga parties"Or"Anything But Clothes Parties"-" ABC "for short.

The so-called Spring break forms that Party highlight of the academic year. American students use the one to two week short vacation in March or April to party extensively. In the USA there are various places where party-willing Bachelor students particularly like to gather. Many students are drawn to Florida, such as the Panama City Beach. Other students end up in Cancun in Mexico or on the Caribbean islands - also because there are less strict alcohol laws there than in the USA.