Most international students, like myself, arrive at the University of Wyoming in Laramie in the beginning of Fall. The weather is great, with the leaves on the trees taking on a colorful, vibrant hue. Nothing however, prepared me for winter.  But, if you do wind up in Wyoming, please heed my advice and buy warm clothes. Thermal underwear is a must along with a cold weather jacket and a nice woolen cap. It does occasionally get cold in Laramie and the wind can blow. On the positive side, the snow covered place has its own beauty. Bare branches and rooftops covered in snow looks mesmerizing.  A snowstorm doesn’t last very long  – the roads might be covered with snow a foot high in the morning, and then suddenly by mid-afternoon there is nothing on the roads, and it could very well be the other way around. So in short I’ve learned to be prepared, dress warm, and in layers.

As a student I’ve found life at the University of Wyoming rewarding and enriching. I am a different person now and for the better. The people in Laramie are friendly and caring, the staff at UW and the International Students Office even more so. But I’ve learned that it all depends on me, and whether Imake the best use of the resources the University has to offer.

If you love the outdoors, this is the right place. Wyoming has beautiful mountain ranges, and vast forests including two of the most exciting and beautiful national parks in the world are within a day’s drive. The beautiful Snowy Range Mountains are only an hour’s drive from Laramie and a favorite with skiers and for those into snow-mobiles in the winter. It is even more beautiful in the summer for hikes and fishing. Do not miss an opportunity to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Teton national parks; go here once and I bet you will want to visit these beautiful places again. Yellowstone sits above a volcanic caldera and has more natural geysers than anywhere in the world. Another reason to visit is the abundant wildlife including wolves, bears, elk, and bison. The first time you see the Grand Tetons, your jaw will drop, and it is a sight you will never forget. While driving around the park, you will feel that every turn is picture perfect. The mountains seem unreal. Going on a hike lets you lose the crowds, and is also the best way to experience the beauty of the parks. Wyoming is the 9th largest state in the US and the least populated, and you can spend a lifetime exploring and still not scratch the surface. Other places I’ve visited and strongly suggest are the Fort Laramie National Historic site, Aspen Alley near Encampment, Cody, Devils Tower, and the Big Horn Mountains.

Road trips in Wyoming are my favorite!! Driving in Wyoming gives you a feeling that the roads belong to you because of the long endless highway, with no one in sight.

Don’t blink or you might miss a town and the sign that says – ELEVATION 6000, POPULATION 10!!

—Joyce Macarenhas, Senior in Geography, Goa, India