For the average WSU student, coming to Winona State University wasn’t that long of a trek or much of a difference culturally. Well, for me it was the biggest change of my life. My name is Rachel and I am originally from Danbury, Connecticut.

You’re probably thinking, why is she here? What made her chose Winona? How did she even find Winona? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. My mom grew up in Goodview, a five-minute drive from campus, and actually went to Winona before moving to Connecticut. My aunt also works in the IWC. And who doesn’t want to get away from home, right?!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed some huge differences between my childhood home in Connecticut and my new home here in Winona.

For starters, Minnesotans say some pretty weird stuff. Don’t get me wrong to all of you, I say some weird stuff too but come on, freez-ees? Pop? Bubblers?

I was confused for a good week trying to learn all your Midwestern lingo. Your accents aren’t that strong (though I’ve come to realize the pronunciation of certain words differs greatly from person to person) but some words just sound off to my New England ear, such as flag, bagel, roof and milk. In the video below, you can see how frustrating it is.

Let’s move on to transportation and city life. Where I am from everyone needed to have a car. Not just because they wanted one and because it was “cool” to have one but because there was no other way to get to the other side of town! You had to take the highway and bikes weren’t allowed on the highway. In a town of more than 80,000, you either have a car or you don’t go anywhere.

There was literally nothing to do in my town even though we had so many people. There was only one hiking trail and nowhere to canoe or basically do anything remotely outdoors based. You guys don’t realize how good you got it here.

I also can’t believe how friendly people are here. Back home, if I said hi to everyone I passed on the street or held the door open for I would get the dirtiest looks so when I got here, I kept that same attitude. It makes me seem rude, I know, but that’s what I grew up with and that’s just how I reacted.

I am working on developing my “Minnesota nice” manners.

I’m sure few of you traveled to WSU from the east coast, or as I call it New England, but I’m sure most of you have seen differences between your hometown and here. I just thought I’d share my thoughts with you.