Jimmy: What To Know Before Studying Abroad In Dublin

Hello! My name is Jimmy and I’m an FTV senior. If you’re wondering why you didn’t meet me at your fall orientation, it’s because I’m spending the semester abroad in Dublin, Ireland!

While I miss the comforts of Cecilia’s Warren Tower omelettes and slipping and falling on the metal strip on St. Mary’s bridge, choosing to study abroad has been nothing short of AMAZING! Here’s a few things I’ve picked up since arriving here.

Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland are two separate countries on one island.

I knew this before traveling abroad, but I didn’t know how
touchy it was with the locals.

Quick history lesson: From 1139-1922, the entire island of Ireland was a colony of the British Empire. After war for independence, a civil war, and parliamentary reform, the newly liberated 26 southmost counties of the island went on to form “the Republic of Ireland” (what we just know as “Ireland”) in 1937. Because of a history of Protestant heritage and other political reasons, the 6 north most counties remained under the control of Great Britain and was designated “Northern Ireland.”

There’s a soft border between the two nations so it’s easy to physically move between the two (Belfast is a really cool city to visit!), but there are still a lot of differences in the currency, phone lines, etc.. There is a lot of resentment between the British and the Irish to this day, so don’t get them confused!

English is not the official language of Ireland.

After centuries of English colonial rule, the native Irish Language or Gaelic started to fade away, and only pockets of communities on the West Coast of the Island still spoke it regularly. In order to preserve this tradition, there was a “Gaelic Revival” in the late 19th century during which traditional Irish sports, myths, and were brought back into the mainstream

Since then, Irish language has been taught in primary schools and it was designated the “official language” of the island. Street signs, public transport, and government labels are listed in both Gaelic and English.

Gaelic is a very weird, specific language to pick up. It has much more in common with Russian than English or the Romance languages. But don’t be worried – only 41% of the island speaks Gaelic while 98% speak English.

Cars drive on the other side of the road.

This may not seem like a big deal. I’m not planning to drive a car in Ireland. I barely drive around in Boston.

Wrong. When crossing the street in America, you always look RIGHT first. And you take that for granted. Because when cars drive on the left side of the road, you need to look LEFT to catch them approaching or else you’ll get hit by a car

… I haven’t gotten hit by a car yet. But it was pretty close.

You’re allowed to drink tea any time of day.

This is my favorite thing about Ireland, because I would do this already in the United States but people would ridicule me for it. Now I’m the one ridiculing people!

If you go out to a restaurant for lunch, it’s not uncommon for the waiter to bring a pot of black tea. The Irish drink typically take their tea with milk and sugar, but not too much sugar. It’s very big in the workplace, because the Irish often take longer breaks than Americans.

Get used to reading a 24 hour clock.

I still struggle with this. Every time someone asks me the time at night, I need to do the mental math in my head and subtract twelve. Two months before I booked my flight abroad, I changed the clock on my phone to 24 hours in order to condition myself. But seriously, try and and get acclimated telling time the European way or you’ll accidentally book an Aer Lingus Flight to Paris for 10:00am instead of 10:00pm (or as they say in Europe, 22:00) 🙂

Enjoy the academic opportunities.

It’s a trope that abroad classes are blow off classes and that’s NOT TRUE! I honestly don’t think I’ve been as excited to learn since I arrived. Ireland has such a rich political and cultural history that’s very well preserved in the bones of the city. All of the classes here are very immersive and hands on – my history and Irish society classes took us on field trips to tie in the curriculum with visits to historical sites in the city of Dublin. We’ve been to museums, prisons, nature hikes, and even got to see a play at The Abbey Theatre among other trips.

The country is beautiful.

It’s really easy to get a great insta pic here because the architecture of the cities is charming and the countryside is beautiful. Here’s a few of my favs:

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If you have any questions about studying in Dublin, feel free to reach out to me at jbie@bu.edu.

Avery: How To Take Care of Yourself During Midterm Season

Midterm season is upon us, and basically everyone I know is stressed and overtired. How could you not be? All midterms seem to happen for every single class at the same time, and with clubs, internships, and jobs, having free time is a rare occurrence in many of our lives.

Keeping that in mind, I wanted to take this post to remind people to take care of themselves during this stressful time. It can be so easy to down 3 coffees and pull an all-nighter the day before a big exam, but it can be pretty difficult to actually practice healthy ways of staying stress-free, remembering self care and wellbeing during this busy time.

I have compiled a list of methods that I use to maintain a stress-free life when I feel overwhelmed. Some of these may seem pretty self-explanatory, but I hope that by putting them out there I’m reminding everyone to relax and focus on the positive 🙂

1. Don’t stop doing the things you love!

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to continue to do things that make you happy if you are stressed or overwhelmed. I personally enjoy exercising (I’m on the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team here at BU!), writing (I write for Hoochie, a feminist blog and anthology series), and unwinding by hanging out with friends. Even during busy weeks, I try not to skip too many clubs, meetings, or social gatherings because sometimes taking the time out of your day to do the things you love with the people you love is enough to transform your mindset and help you grind through that last page of your essay.

2. Practice self care.

For me, this means either spending a night in watching Netflix or a good movie, or going out and doing something new and exciting in the city. We have the entire city of Boston at our fingertips, so use it! Last night, after studying for my Comp Sci exam all day, I went out with some friends and tried a new restaurant in the North End. It didn’t take too much time out of my day, but it still got me off campus and felt like a breath of fresh air after working for so long. And if going out isn’t your thing, staying in is just as therapeutic! Have a “treat yo-self” night and watch a feel-good movie while eating comfort foods. Sometimes this simple method of self-care can make all the difference in the world.

3. SLEEP A LOT!!

Okay, we all know this isn’t totally realistic considering the fact that we are all in college and super busy all the time, but even after a night of 3 hours of sleep, napping is your best friend. To be honest, I couldn’t really nap until recently because I’m a very light sleeper and found it hard to nap during the day. If this sounds like you, consider getting an eye mask or ear plugs to help you fall asleep during the day. I did and it honestly changed my life- now I’m a huge fan of napping and you should be too!!

4. Do something nature-y (if that’s your jam).

So not all of us are inclined to outdoorsy things, but if you are, find a nice spot outside where you can study or just take a walk outside! The foliage is beautiful this time of year, and you might as well take full advantage of the weather before it gets insanely cold in Boston. I like taking walks around the Common or Esplanade to destress, or even window-shopping along Newbury Street. If you’re into more rigorous outdoor exercise, the BU Outing Club coordinates weekend hiking trips all over New England, which I would highly recommend!

5. Remember, it’s the little things that count!

Sometimes, it’s the smallest tasks that you can check off your to do list that make all the difference. For you, this may mean making your bed everyday so that your room looks a little neater when you leave for classes. In the same vein, it may mean cleaning your room more often, especially if your desk is your primary study space. I’ve found that having a clear desk to work on clears my mind as well. Other small things may be exercising more, eating healthier, or various other small tasks that have been sitting on your to do list for ages. Even if you feel like you’re all over the place in terms of schoolwork, getting other things out of the way will clear your head and make for a better mindset when attempting to accomplish tasks in other facets of your life.

Hopefully these tips were helpful! I think they are all very doable, but sometimes it just takes the extra push to get out there and get your mind off of schoolwork for a couple of hours. This is your reminder to do just that!! Remember that you GOT this, you’re incredible, and, most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF <3

Hannah: Improv? More like IMPROVE! (How Improv Teaches Business & Life Skills)

Six hours a week I spend my time playing pretend. I am a member of BU’s premier Improv comedy troupe, Liquid Fun, and I often think what we do is the silliest thing in the world. It’s a bunch of adults taking imaginary props and weird voices seriously. 

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1. 
You’ll kick booty at listening
While performing an improv scene, you want to make sure the dialogue is consistent so it makes sense to the audience. Because of that, performers have to listen to every single word their partner says. I used to find myself planning what I was going to say next in a conversation. This caused me to tune out the other person. Improv has taught me to drop that bad habit and have more meaningful conversations. 

2. You’ll be a bravery champion
Improv involves zero preparation. Because of this, you dare to trust yourself and not overthink your actions. After performing on stage without any preparation, you feel invincible!

3. You’ll be a teamwork pro
Improv is all about working together. If your fellow teammates feel supported, they will do the same for you. The best improv ideas are usually collaborative. In the business world, you will most likely work with a team. Rather than trying to think of a better idea or silently competing, improv has taught me to trust that the synergy of a bunch of brains together can create something amazing.

4. You’ll roll with your failures
Sometimes in improv I say unbelievably stupid things! When this happens, I have to justify what I said and go with it. There’s no re-do or apologies. I can bring this into real life. When I make a mistake, rather than beat myself up about it, instead I can build off of it. 

5. You’ll become a great decision maker
Improv forces you to think fast. There’s no time to second guess yourself. You learn to make quick decisions and follow them. In the real world, I often find myself dwelling over decisions for a long time. Improv has taught me is that there is rarely a wrong decision. It’s important to go with your gut rather than torturing yourself with doubts. 

6. You’ll be fierce at being flexible
Sometimes an improviser will start a scene with a certain idea and another improviser will take it in a whole new direction. When this happens, the original improviser can’t be like “um hey, no actually I wanted to do something different.” Instead, they adapt to the new scene and find positive things to add to it. Improv has taught me to work with the unexpected like a boss. 

 

 

7. You’ll always say YES AND
The improv golden rule is to always say, “YES!” This is also a great rule for life. Whenever a challenge comes your way, it’s important to agree to it and then find a way to play with it and create something beautiful, creative and hilarious. Improv will make you a positivity professional. 

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Interested in trying improv? Liquid Fun, BU’s premier improv comedy troupe, has open practices every Sunday from 7-9 PM in CAS B36. No experience necessary!

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Maddy: 5 Best Boston Movie Theaters Where You Can See A Star Is Born

Well friends, I’m happy to report that the most important movie of the year, A Star Is Born, is available for viewing at several fabulous locations in the Boston area. As a COM student, you absolutely need to check out these theaters and, more importantly, ugly-cry over Bradley Cooper’s sultry voice and Lady Gaga’s sheer perfection. So here are the 5 best movie theaters where you can see A Star Is Born, because if you don’t see it, what are you even doing?

1. Regal Fenway

regal fenway

Just a ten-minute walk and one scary intersection away from Comm Ave, Regal Fenway is the perfect movie theater for you to enjoy the third and best iteration of A Star Is Born. Barbra Streisand who? This theater offers comfy reclining seats so you can relax as you violently shake when Bradley Cooper pulls Lady Gaga onstage in that scene from the trailer and she hits that one sustained note and your soul escapes through your eyes.

2. AMC Loews Boston Common

amc boston common

Get on the green line, hop off at Boylston Street, and you’ve reached this extravagantly huge theater that happens to be playing A Star Is Born TODAY at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:45, 3:45, 6:00, 7:00, and 9:15! Also, check out AMC Stubs A-List, Moviepass’s slightly more expensive but economically sound sibling. It’s $20 a month to see three movies per week…. which means–you guessed it–you can see A Star Is Born three times every week!

3. Coolidge Corner

coolidge corner

This historic theater has been around since 1933, and it’s been showing A Star Is Born since October 5th! You can also check out their “After Midnite” showings of inferior movies like The Exorcist and Scream in their original 35mm prints. Lame! Here’s a link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thecoolidge/.

4. AMC Assembly Row

amc assembly row

If you’re ever in the Somerville area, hit up this awesome movie theater! Like all AMCs, it is unnecessarily large, and therefore perfect for bringing your entire friend group to see A Star is Born. Not only that, when you need comfort food after Bradley Cooper makes you puke out your heart and then swallow it again, there’s a Trader Joe’s right next door! Amazing.

5. Kendall Square Cinema

kendall square

Travel to Cambridge and check out this awesome theater, where A Star Is Born is actually not playing but I couldn’t think of a fifth movie theater . Actually, I changed my mind. This theater might be located in a really cool spot in Cambridge near some brunch places and vintage thrift stores, but it’s not playing A Star Is Born, so you should boycott this theater.

 

 

 

Megan: How Studying Abroad ~Actually~ Changed My Life

Why BU?

I have been asked this question a lot over the past 4 years, by my friends, prospective students, and parents. There are so many reasons why I chose to attend Boston University all the way back in 2015, but one of the biggest reasons was BU’s incredible study abroad programs. I always knew I wanted to study abroad in London. And as a film student, I knew “studying abroad” in Los Angeles was the right move for my career goals. But how was I going to do both?

Well, after sitting down with the advisors in COM Undergraduate Affairs, I realized I could do both programs and get credit towards graduation. I spent this past summer in London, and now I’m getting ready to graduate in January while living in Los Angeles. For a girl who grew up on the East Coast, it’s been a life-changing experience.

In London, I learned how to live without air conditioning anywhere and how to look the wrong way when crossing the street. But, I also learned how to navigate a huge city and an entirely new form of public transportation, the Tube. From the Tube I could go anywhere in London, including the outskirts of the city where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake came from.

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I learned all about Britain’s art history and how its television works, plus got to floss (the dance) on live TV (check out the video in this vlog.) I learned how to film all of the big moments so I could remember them forever, but also to appreciate picnics in Hyde Park that turned into evenings sitting in the Churchill Arms.

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My best friend Claire and I discovered the rich history of London, but also Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Dublin. I experienced the wonder of a concert on palace grounds in Oxfordshire. I tried to drink tea, but never got through a full cup. I did, however, enjoy lots of fish and chips.

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In Los Angeles, I’ve learned how amazing it is to live somewhere that’s always warm. I can sit by the pool or go to the beach whenever I’m not working, and take my lunch breaks at picnic tables under palm trees that are too photogenic for their own good.

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I’m learning how to take advantage of traffic. I listen to Harry Potter audiobooks or talk to my Grammie in the morning on my way to my two different internships, and call friends and family in the evening on my way back home. Wanna chat? Call me at 9:00 ET and keep me company!

 

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I’m also learning how amazing it is to follow my dreams in the city where they can come true. I’ve learned what it means to wake up in the morning looking forward to going to my internship, where I see magic happen every day. And I’ve learned that I’m going to chase this feeling for the rest of my life in the children’s animation field.

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Boston University gave me an amazing 3 years in a city I love, filled with Red Sox games and cannolis and the best friends I have ever had. Best of all, it gave me the opportunity to explore the world beyond New England with my best friends, and experience things that have changed my life for the better. I am so grateful, and so happy.

Angeli: Unsolicited Advice from a Resident Senior

I think by now any consistent readers of this COM Ambassador blog will know that I’m the emotional one. Whether it was sappily reminiscing on my first Open House as a newly admitted student or somehow relating my Australian study abroad experience to Lizzie McGuire’s Italian love affair, I’ve managed to make all of my contributions here just the right level of cheesy. And now that I’m a senior, you should expect nothing less, my devoted fandom.
It’s only (already?!) October, and I can just about feel my time at BU slipping through my fingertips. To be as cliche as I possibly can, it feels like yesterday that I was a senior in high school, rolling my eyes as older relatives/teachers/neighbors/my parents’ friends/just about every adult I ever encountered preached to me how college would be the best time of my life. Though I may have gotten tired of that redundant spiel at the time, boy does it sound nice being that annoyed eighteen year old right about now. I never doubted those who set my expectations sky high for these four years, but I also never thought my expectations would be exceeded. Despite any rough patches I may had during college, as I’m sure everyone has, I would not change a single experience at BU, as I feel that all of them having truly shaped who I am today.
See, I warned you this would get sappy and quick. But please, if you’re a prospective student or underclassman especially, stay with me a little longer because I have some wisdom that might actually be helpful. I’m not going to sit here (in the Questrom library to be exact – great study spot btw) and act like I’m all high and mighty just because I’m a senior. Three years and two months in college has taught me a lot, but it sure as Rhett hasn’t taught me everything. I can, however, say that I know what it feels like to be a freshman, worried that you’re not taking the right classes or making the “friends for life” that your parents have…to be a sophomore, uneasy about declaring your major because what if you end up hating it in a semester or aren’t actually good at what you’re interested in..to be a junior, feeling on top of the world when on campus but far less confident in professional settings because that other intern seems to know a lot more about x, y, and z. Yep, that’s right. You’re not the only who’s had such insecurities nor will you be the last. Those times of unease and discomfort and maybe even a little embarrassment are as much what college is about as the courses you take or dorm life you have. Better yet, there’s no better feeling than being able to look back at an insecurity a year (or two or three) later and say that you’ve conquered it and that it maybe was a little silly to have in the first place.
Before I really go off on a motivational speaker tangent, I’ll leave you with a final anecdote. A couple of weeks ago, I had my COM Ambassador group over for cookies and updates. They all filled me in on their freshman/transfer transitions thus far and seemed to grow gradually more anxious as they asked me questions like “How do I know if  *insert major* is right for me?” or “How do I get an internship?” The question I was most surprised but also most glad to be asked, however, was “I know that good grades are obviously impressive, but what else do you think is important to have on your resume?” I reinterpreted this one a bit in order to fill them all in on advice that had been passed down to me through former peers, employers and professors alike, which I hope will only continue being shared. Yes, grades are important. And so are internships. And so are extracurriculars. And so is any and every other endeavor you pursue in college so long as you enjoy what you’re doing. Join a club because you want to, not because you think it’ll look impressive in the future. Then stick with it if you like it or quit and join another! Take classes and pursue those degrees that interest you because I promise, no matter how hard the material gets, you’ll want to master it. A minor in Comp Sci, for instance, won’t make you seem smarter or more “employable” if you never really put your all into it anyway. Bottom line, the only person who can waste your precious time these four years (because it is precious) is YOU. So take control of how it’s spent.

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Shaun: Five Things You Can’t Be Afraid of if You’re Going to Study Journalism

1. Talking to strangers

This might sound obvious, but when you’re standing in Kenmore Square on assignment to talk to five strangers, it can be very intimidating. The truth is that most people will give you their time if you identify yourself as a reporter and are respectful of their personal space and opinions. That said, you’re going to get rejected, sometimes with a polite “I don’t have time, sorry,” and sometimes with any number of rude gestures. Subway stations and bus stops are great places to find strangers who have nothing to do but talk to you anyway.

2. Phone calls

You can’t interview everyone in person — in fact, you can’t interview most people in person. A lot of the reporting process is spent on the phone, which means phone anxiety has to go. I came to college with major phone anxiety (I think it’s common for people our age), and the first time I had to call a source for a Daily Free Press article, I was terrified. Phone calls are awkward, and depending on who you’re calling, they can be intimidating. Just remember to talk clearly, listen closely, and offer verbal affirmation that you’re listening every 10-20 seconds. You’ll be dialing like a pro in no time.

3. Criticism

It’s the only way you get better. You might come into COM as a first-year thinking you know how write a good news story, but chances are you’ll be amazed (like I was) at how you actually don’t. COM, and all the extracurriculars that go along with it, are full of people who have climbed the ladders and done the nitty-gritty and want to help you succeed. Take advantage of them and the feedback they give you.

4. Competition

I want to be a White House reporter one day, and maybe you do too, and so do a thousand other people, but not all of us can do it. There are a TON of jobs in journalism (despite what your parents might be telling you) across an incredible array of areas. That said, you don’t get a job just because you want it (insightful, I know). Competition for internships and jobs is palpable, but I think in some ways that’s a good thing. It encourages you to push yourself to better.

5. Anti-journalism rhetoric

People will argue that journalism is dying, but I’d argue that journalism has never been stronger. I know people whose parents hate that they’re studying to be a journalist, because they don’t believe the profession is noble or fair. And even a cursory scroll through Twitter will show you that it’s far more popular now to say “fake news” than it is to actually read news articles. You have to take anti-journalism rhetoric in stride, and use it to motivate yourself to be the best, most accurate, most factual reporter you can be.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

Jon: The 4 Most Underrated Study Spots for Midterm Season

Midterm season is officially in full swing. Stress levels are at an all-time high. Students are cramming into Mugar like sardines. The GSU Starbucks is running out of coffee. Sleep deprivation levels are skyrocketing. And it’s only October!
It’s okay if you feel like pulling your hair out – we all do! But if you’re looking for some peace and quiet in these trying times, and you actually want to get things done without dealing with swarms of people, check out these 5 low-key study spots that will help you retain your sanity.
1. Boston Public Library – This is the Godfather of all study spots. People don’t even consider the largest library in the city when they think of places to study because it’s not on campus, but its just a quick T ride over to Copley Square. At the BPL, quiet is the law, so you never have to worry about people bothering you. Not to mention the building itself is incredible, and you feel as if you are studying in a place that was actually designed to let people relax and read. There are no Mugar cubicles here!
2. The Dean’s Lounge – On the Third Floor of the GSU, the Dean’s lounge is a little area that has big tables and big chairs. You’ll be studying in comfort for sure, and the chairs are always prime to take a nap in. Also, did I mention that there are no people? There is almost always a space open at the Dean’s Lounge.
3. Barnes and Noble – So believe it or not the B & N in Kenmore square actually has a space for people to sit and read. (Reading in a book store? Who’da thunk it!) There usually aren’t many people there and it’s really quiet. Just go up to the second floor of the store and you’ll see a little area lined with magazines thats just a prime-o spot for reading.
4. CAS Classrooms – If you really want to cheat the system and find a place with complete peace and quiet – then pop into a classroom somewhere in CAS sometime in the evening. By about 7, classes are pretty much done with, and there are plenty of open rooms scattered throughout the building. If you really just want to work without anyone else, then this is maybe the quietest way to do it. You could even bring in some friends and study using the white board if ya want.
Happy studying and good luck on midterms!

Sophia: What to Do With 500 Envelopes

Recently I had to mail in an application for an absentee ballot (make sure to vote kids!) and came across a problem, I own no envelopes. In the age of email the need to send a real actual letter is not an eventuality my stock of office supplies was prepared for, and so I did what any college student who suddenly needed snail mail would do, relied on the Internet. I figured I would use this one use of the postal service as an excuse to get some envelopes to have on hand, if for nothing else than yearly ballot applications. I selected a 50 pack on Amazon, hit order, and two days later received 500 envelopes. Turns out I am worse at numbers than I thought.
Now came the tough part, with 499 envelopes left unused, I needed to find a purpose for some of them or else lug around 500 envelopes through junior year and beyond. So I wrote letters. Grandparents, Dad, brothers, that one friend from high school whose address I actually knew, everyone got a letter. I will not lie, I put off some very important assignments to write letters, but once I started I just couldn’t stop! It was fun to write down what had been happening to me recently, to update relatives I didn’t get to see that often, and to spend some time thinking about friends and loved ones I missed. I don’t often take breaks from the chaos of junior year, but writing these letters let me stop and reflect, and having an audience made me more motivated to write than I ever was with a journal or diary. It became a task I was doing for me, and I never stopped to think about receiving a response.
One trip to the mailbox and a week later, and I started receiving responses. I guess in the back of my mind I knew that was what occurred when you sent a letter, but in my frenzy to make use of envelopes I hadn’t stopped to think about what would happen once my letters were received. There is no rush like opening a mailbox to find it full of letters, especially when all you usually receive is jury duty or Domino’s pizza discounts. It made me excited to check the mail, and reading the letters I received was always a nice boost in my day. Hearing from friends and family is always nice, but being able to read and reread how they’re doing is something special.
It’s easier now to keep in touch than ever before, but sitting down to write shows how much you care, and makes catching up a little more special than before. So send letters. Maybe don’t send 500 letters, but write to the people you care about. You’ll brighten their day, and who knows! You might even get a letter in response.

Lauren: Study Abroad Sydney 101: Tips and tricks on how to survive in the Land Down Under

G’Day, mates! CA Lauren coming to you all the way from the Land Down Under. I’m currently spending the semester in Sydney, Australia. We’ve been here a little over a month and a half now, and it’s been anything but boring. From classes to internship preparation to weekend trips around the continent, it’s still hard to believe that my time here is almost halfway over. Nonetheless, study abroad has taught me a few things that I think other students who are hoping to go abroad in the future might find useful. While I don’t claim to be a study abroad expert in any way (this is actually my first semester abroad!), here are a few tips and tricks that I personally have picked up during my seven weeks abroad:

1) Keep your luggage to a minimum

The day comes that you’re heading off to abroad, and you’re hit with that inevitable fear of missing something that you’ll need in another country. Surprisingly enough, Australia isn’t as different from the U.S. as you might think. Sure, you probably can’t find a few American brands of toiletries, clothes, or groceries here, but there is a bit of a thrill of testing Australian brands like a true resident. I minimized my packing to a checked luggage, a carry-on luggage, and my school backpack, which proved to be more than enough. Make sure to pack an extra duffel bag or backpack in case you find yourself buying a lot of souvenirs!

2) Do some independent research on your destination

This is true for any destination you might visit in your time abroad, but make sure to do some research on the country as a whole. Despite the many similarities between the U.S. and Australia (predominantly English-speaking, same stores and brands, a bunch of other American students), there are still a lot of differences that can be pretty jarring to adjust to without prior knowledge. It’s inevitable that you’ll go through the stages of culture shock upon arriving in a new country, but to minimize the effects of it as much as possible, preliminary research of Sydney and Australia in general could be really helpful.

3) Set up a budget spreadsheet

Before coming to Australia, I already kept a budget spreadsheet to hold myself accountable for all of the expenses I had, from rent, utilities, groceries, and the like. I could also factor in the income from my co-op this past semester, so I never felt too guilty when I went a little over-budget for the month. That being said, this semester is the first semester since my freshman year that I don’t have an income, making it even more important for me to maintain my budget. Between groceries, weekend trips, and eating my way through Sydney, maintaining a budget spreadsheet was the only thing that is keeping my bank account from fully depleting. Seeing it all organized into a spreadsheet made me conscious of my spending on a daily basis, thus preventing me from making unnecessary purchases that would make me go over my budget. Even though you’re in a new city and exploring it will definitely cost a few dollar signs, as long as you spend your money right and are smart with your budget, you’ll surely end the semester with a few dollars left in your bank account without having to ask your parents for a loan here and there.

4) Travel, travel, travel!

... As long as your bank account can handle it. But if it can, definitely take advantage of the free time you have in your time abroad to see as much of the new country as you can. For the Sydney internship program specifically, you’ll have plenty of time to travel during the academic phase of the program (as the study abroad program is split up half for academics and the other half for the internship). We have three day weekends for the first six weeks of the semester, which is plenty of time to explore different parts of Australia. I personally went to Tasmania, Cairns, and will soon travel to the Gold Coast in November. Not to mention the BU Sydney program also includes a four-day trip to Melbourne as well! There is a mid-semester break between the academic phase and the internship phase of the program, which most students in the program take advantage of to travel to farther destinations, like New Zealand or Bali, Indonesia. Long story short, don’t get too comfortable in your Sydney apartment, because you just might find yourself in the air more than in your dorm.

5) Making friends isn’t as scary as you think

f the one thing holding you back from going abroad is that your friends won’t be there to join you, don’t fret. Making friends may seem like a scary endeavor at first, but the program becomes so close-knit and friendly as soon as the first few weeks of the program that you’ll hardly feel alone without your Boston friends at your side. Take it from me, I didn’t know anyone in the Sydney program prior to going abroad, but now six weeks in, I’ve found some amazing friends and travel buddies along the way. It was definitely difficult to go outside of my comfort zone and fight the urge to just stay in my room and video chat my family and friends back home, but it will all be worth it in the end. What’s great about these friends too is that you can still meet up with them in the States once the program ends!