So I've been in America for almost 2 weeks, although only one day of that has been at work so far. I figure I should write out some of my thoughts about what seems to be the same and what seems to be different.
Firstly, Rutgers seems to run in a similar way to every other University I've been at. I've probably been to every admin building in the several campuses we have, clutching various forms. I now have an email account and login, but it's Department of Life Sciences specific, I'm still working out how to get the full one. My login card now lets me into my flat (it didn't to start with), but I've discovered this weekend that it won't let me into my department out of hours, I suspect I'll have problems with the Library too. But I'd expect this sort of thing at a UK University as well!
There are two main things that seem to be very different from the UK. Firstly, alcohol. The age limit of 21 in the US means that the vast majority of Undergrads aren't allowed to drink. Therefore, you can't get a beer on my campus. There's no bar - the student centre has fast food outlets instead. But more than that, you can't buy alcohol in the convenience store. This is the first way that it's a very different experience to being in the UK.
The second way is all the 'School Spirit'. It turns out that the weekend after I arrived was Homecoming. There were banners everywhere! Even now that Homecoming's over, there are pennants saying Rutgers on every single lampost on campus. I guess they think we might forget where we were otherwise. Probably a quarter of the people you see are wearing some kind of Rutgers themed clothing and the Barnes and Nobel store has a whole floor of the stuff. They have every type of clothing you could imagine, rugs, cushions, bottles, mugs, banners. But it's basically all in either red, or grey or black. Scarlet is the school colour, so that's the colour (sorry color) you get!
I'm guessing I'll get used to these things eventually, and I'll probably find all sorts of other things that are different, but these are the things that seem to be standing out right now.