Heading to the Madtown


After about three months of anxiety and panic, I've finally found out about my exchange prospects for the second half of the year.In short, I'll be in America.

While I have not achieved my top 3 preferences due to the large number if applicants (the same thing I can blame for the four week delay in the release of the nominations) and my slightly less competitive marks (my own fault I know), I've been educating myself about the college I will be attending, University of Wisconsin-Madison. And with the combination of inspirational tunes from Mulan (I'll Make A Man Out Of You), research on my slowly dying phone, and the best, most encouraging friends, I'm feeling better and better about this.


I don't have the first clue about Wisconson, Madison or the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My first step was to find out where Wisconsin was in the US.

ps. I found it


My knowledge of Wisconsin has been purely of their appearance in various media. It was the place they travelled to in both Prince and Me and Love Actually - its reputation for drinking and partying the primary reasons they were featured in both movies. It also appeared as Sonny's hometown in Disney Channel's Sonny with a Chance - this time, their famous cheese-making on full display.

But thanks to Wikipedia, my knowledge and appreciation for this town (Madtown as it is apparently affectionately known) is gradually building.

  1. Wisconsin was the state that gave birth to the Republican party, yet is now a Democratic-leaning state.
  2. "Drinking has long been considered a significant part of Wisconsin culture." Particularly binge drinking.
  3. It has a "humid continental climate" with large variations between seasons. Winter sees plenty of snow and temperatures well below freezing and "high" temperatures in summer - though high in America is apparently 27-28 degrees.
  4. The city of Madison is dominated by liberal and progressive activists.
  5. Madison ranks 2nd in the nation for education.
  6. There's a high-speed rail route to Milwaukee and Chicago - for the weekend trips down. There are also daily services to Portland and Seattle - oh all the travels.
  7. It was identified as the best place to live in the US (in 1996).
  8. The city's "downtown" area is lined with restaurants, espresso cafes and shops.
  9. Farmers' Markets provide FRESH PRODUCE (yay health in America) every Saturday in the Summer
  10. The vibrant music scene encourages the many music festivals in the City throughout the year. ie. Mifflin St Block Party.
  11. It is one of the best-college sports towns in America. School spirit is high for UW-Madison Badgers.
  12. UW-Madison ranks amongst the top colleges in journalism (yay #mediastudent); and was the place from which The Onion began
  13. And what is the most important sentence that seems to encompass everything else I've been seeing from students and alumni of the college: "UW–Madison has long held a reputation for academics, political activism, and drinking; the last of these can be understood in the context of the state's traditionally high level of alcohol consumption in general"