Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
typical American college experience

Do you ever think about your old college days?

Do you ever hear people talking about their college experience in the US?

This is a big topic of conversation in English, and so you want to know how to become a part of that.

We’re going to look at some questions you can ask to get this conversation started, and understand some phrases that you can use too.

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We have a great question about college in the US that may be something that you’ve thought about.

Dear Lindsay, Michelle and Jessica,

I hope this e-mail finds you well. My name is Carmen and I’m from Spain. I’m a media consultant and a writer. First of all, I’d like to let you know that I’ve been listening to your podcast for almost a year. It’s really helped me to become more fluent in English, and to seek a deeper connection. I work remotely in a multicultural team and sometimes I struggle to understand native accents from Australia, England and the US. You can’t imagine how helpful this daily program has been for me. I feel much more confident in meetings and e-mail exchanges.

I’m hoping you can explain your experience in college. Can you tell me about the courses, your degree, and just campus life in general? I have learned a lot in movies, TV shows, and books, but I’d love to listen to your real life experiences. I’m very curious about the path that you walked to get to your current job.

Once again, thank you! You rock and really have a big impact in our lives.

Have a nice day,


Understanding Some Background

This is a great chance to hear some of our stories about college.

This will help to give you a taste of college life in the US.

We have done some episodes on college in the past which may help for some background.

Check out these episodes so that you can understand a little bit of background about college life in the US.

This is a big topic of conversation because it’s a stage of life that many of us go through.

You may have gone through the college experience, or yours may have been much different than what you will see happens in the US.

Start with these episodes to give you a little bit of background.

Looking At The Questions

We’re going to look at some of the best questions that you can ask about somebody’s college experience.

This listener’s question was a big one, so we will touch on some of it today.

These questions allow you to share experiences, and then teach you some good English idioms and phrases to use too.

There are a lot of questions here, and that’s because this is such a big topic of conversation for so many.

Try some of these out in conversation and see how they flow–and see how they help you to learn more about the true college experience.

  • Where did you go to school?
  • What did you study?
  • Why did you choose the school you attended?
  • Where did you live? What were the dorms like?
  • Would you say you went to a typical school–like the movies, campus, etc. or was your experience different?
  • What kind of food did you eat at college? What was the cafeteria like?
  • Did you put on the freshman 15*?
  • What were your hobbies?
  • Did you like it right from the start? How was your adjustment to college life?
  • Did you go home a lot?
  • Funny memory?? – stay up all night-went to my high school
  • Were you in a fraternity or sorority? Greek life?

Some Vocabulary Words On This Topic

When you think about college life, you want to know the right things to say.

There are some great words and phrases that you can use in conversation about college life.

Once you know what these mean you can try to use them in your conversations to get to know more about somebody’s college experience.

  • State school: This is typically a college within the same state that you live in. This is often a larger school that many attend after high school.
  • Meal plan: When you live in the dorms especially you typically have a plan that you can use to pay for meals. This is something that is prepaid and allows you to eat all of your meals in the dorm cafeteria.
  • Tuition: This is the price paid to attend a college or university. It is usually a very high price and it is often broken up by semester.
  • Study abroad: This is an opportunity that many college students are given. This means that you take some of your studies or courses in a different country. It’s a great way to experience a new culture while still earning your college credits.
  • The old college try: This is an expression used to say that you’re giving it all that you have. It means that you will do whatever you can to try to reach a goal in some way.
  • “Freshman 15”: It is said that a lot of freshmen gain 15 pounds when they get to college. They have newfound freedom and almost unlimited food options and some may go crazy. So gaining 15 pounds is actually quite easy!

These are all great words and phrases to use when you’re talking about college, so they are well worth trying out.


Talking about college usually brings on some amount of nostalgia for native English speakers in the US.

The questions here are great to ask if you want to start up a conversation about college with a colleague or a friend.

If you want to learn more about somebody’s college experiences, you now have some great questions and phrases to use.

Try to start up a conversation using these, and then compare the college experience in the US with the one you had in your home country.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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