Anneliese: Make the Most of Abroad

Hello from the future, my sweet Terriers! It’s currently 10:08am on Saturday, October 4th in Auckland, New Zealand, while it’s 5:08pm on Friday, October 3rd in Boston. Weeeird right? It’s also strange to think that my school semester here ends in 3 weeks, since I started in mid-July, and you guys are only a month into yours. Talk about trippy. (If you didn’t pick up on it, that was an extremely desperate pun because, you know, “trippy,” like I’m on a “trip” since I’m studying abroad. I’m sorry.)

Anywho, I’m not going to write an entire blog entry trying to convince you to study abroad by telling you how beautiful and wonderful the experience is. I’m sure most of you don’t need convincing and I think everyone understands how awesome it is to get to live in any country of your choice for 4 months. However, I do want to share with you the ways in which you can make the most of your time abroad and how you might deal with some unexpected challenges.

Pick where you want to go and avoid tagging along with friends.

This was the toughest one for me. I’ve been obsessed with New Zealand since my senior year of high school—take one look around my apartment and you’ll pick up on the Kiwi paraphernalia lying around. But most of my closest friends are film majors and will be spending their spring semester in LA. Since this is my senior year, it was hard for me to decide to essentially spend my entire senior year without them. I was so close to ditching New Zealand and going to LA in the spring for that reason, even though I have no desire to live and work in LA. Luckily I have the most awesome friends who told me that they would shun me if I didn’t go to New Zealand, because they knew how important it was to me. Yeah, it has been insanely hard without them—especially for someone as sentimental as I am. But I’ve kept in touch with everyone and I know I will see them in December when I head back to Boston. I’ve also made amazing friends here in Auckland, with people in the program, as well as with Kiwis I met through class and my internship.

Do some research and make a list before you go.

Make a list of places you’d like to visit, events that may be happening, or restaurants you want to try before you arrive in your country of choice. I made a list before coming to New Zealand and though I definitely won’t hit all of the spots because I’m so busy with classes and my internship, it’s a good thing to have on quiet weekends when my roommates and I feel like we’re getting lazy. Here are some great websites for travel advice: www.matadornetwork.com & www.lonelyplanet.com

Say YES to everything.

Well, say “yes” to everything within reason. This is something else I struggle with since I usually overthink everything and I consider myself a reserved person. But I made a promise to myself that I would say yes to every opportunity that pops up, no matter how far out of my comfort zone or scared I feel. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it so far: I’ve jumped off a cliff into the black sand dunes; I’ve driven on the “wrong” side of the road; I couchsurfed with strangers in Melbourne; I’ve been on some really awkward—and a few nice!—dates with random Kiwis. I plan on backpacking in the South Island by myself and skydiving in Queenstown and maybe getting a tattoo. (Just kidding about that last one.) I realized early on that my time in Auckland is basically a reprieve from my real life in Boston. Who cares if I have embarrassing moments or I make some mistakes? None of that (within reason) will affect anything back home, so now is the time to try new things. I’m proud of myself because I feel as though I’m becoming more assertive and independent, and those qualities are something that will come back to Boston with me.

Save up your money before you go.

As I mentioned, studying abroad is kind of like a break from real life where you get to try all kinds of new things. Unfortunately, experiences can be quite costly. You should really save as much money as you can before you go so you are able to say “yes” to every opportunity. I lucked out a bit because the American dollar is stronger than the Kiwi dollar, so when I think I’m spending $75 on a ticket to Hobbiton, I’m really only spending $58. Yeah, things can be expensive in New Zealand, especially groceries—$4 for a single cucumber!—but after speaking to my friend who studied abroad in London, it’s definitely cheaper overall than places in Europe.

Meet and hang out with locals.

It’s so easy to hang out with your BU group when you’re abroad, and there’s nothing wrong with that. My two roommates and I do almost everything together. However, we’ve also made friends in classes, through our internships, and from going out and about. Kiwis are notoriously friendly and we’ve been lucky that it’s been so easy meeting people. My roommate and I started going to pub trivia every Thursday at The Fox, where we’ve made friends with another team and have beers with them after each game. And today I’m going to a picnic birthday party for a make-up artist I met on a film shoot through my internship. Our Kiwi friends have pointed out cool bars and restaurants we wouldn’t have found on our own, suggested day trips for us to take, taught us the best public transit routes, and introduced us to different neighborhoods around Auckland. Having friends outside of the BU group makes me feel as though I’m really living in Auckland, rather than visiting, and it’s comforting.

 

Yes, I miss my family, my friends, Boston, and BU terribly. But I wouldn’t trade my experience here in Auckland for anything, because I feel like I’m taking the time to learn how I want to live my life and become the kind of person I want to be. And that’s the true luxury of going abroad, because you don’t have that kind of time in the chaos of real life.

 

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Me and my couch surfing host Laura enjoying hot donuts at Melbourne’s Victoria Markets.

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The unreal Uretiti Beach

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The Auckland skyline

Steph: Travel the World with COM

I recently found out that I will be spending my Spring semester abroad across the pond in London! I absolutely cannot wait to begin my adventure. The best part about it is, through COM, I will not only be living and studying in a totally different country, but I’ll also be working there!

When you study abroad through COM’s programs, you get to fulfill an internship while you’re there too. How cool is that?! And, you’re guaranteed to find an internship, with a little help from a placement agency that the Study Abroad office works with.

COM has study abroad programs in London, Spain, Dublin, Paris, Sydney, and “abroad” in D.C. and L.A. Want to write for a music magazine down under? Wanna make documentary films in Spain? Or maybe you want to work PR in London? All those options are open to you through BU COM Study Abroad.

Stay tuned for my blogs from across the pond! Cheerio!

Dany: A Summer in Sydney

G’day from the land down under! I hope everyone has been having a great summer (even though it’s technically winter over here!) I have been having the most incredible year traveling the world through BU’s study abroad programs. Last spring, I spent four months working in London and I am now wrapping up two months living in Sydney. Only a few more weeks before I get back to Boston for my senior year!

That said, I don’t know how I’m going to leave Sydney. Our program ends on Tuesday but I get to stay a few more days because of my internship. I’m working as a publicity intern at eckfactor, a public relations agency focusing on entertainment. It’s a small team (I’m only the 7th person in the office!) but I have learned and done so much in the past two months, it’s going to be really hard to say goodbye.

The reason I’m staying is to work an event called the ASTRA Awards (basically the Australian Emmy’s for subscription television). The event is on Thursday, so since I have been working on it the whole semester, my supervisor and internship advisor worked it out so that I would be able to stay a few days after the program and see it through.

Our office has been working hard, especially this past week, to put it all together. I have met so many great people, both in talent and behind-the-scenes, through photo-shoots and media calls, and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

Besides work, I have been having the time of my life exploring this city and safe to say, I’ve completely fallen in love. I am seriously considering returning for good after I graduate. I can either hope to get sponsored (maybe through my same internship!) or get a year-long work study visa. Two months just isn’t nearly enough time. I’ve done so much, but I know I’ve just barely scratched the surface.

Either way, there’s plenty to look forward to in the fall! I must say I really can’t wait to be in Boston again. And I’ll also have one month to just relax back home with my family in sunny South Florida before classes start, so no complaints there.

If anyone is thinking about going abroad, I have one thing to say: stop thinking and just do it. I can’t even begin to tell you how much these experiences have done for me. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to shoot me an email (vasquezd@bu.edu) or check out my blog (www.danyvasquez.com). Hope you guys have a great rest of the summer, and can’t wait to see you in Boston!

Until then, cheers mate xx

 

Tom: The Best Broadway Summer

Hey all! After spending the past two summers in Boston, I am finally back in my home state (NY) spending the summer interning in the greatest city in the world, New York City! After coming back from London, I transitioned right into my summer internship at AKA NYC, a live-entertainment marketing and advertising agency right near Times Square. I am interning in the Marketing & Promotions department, which basically means all of the promo deals, events, and corporate sponsors you see sprinkled through the Great White Way come from our department.

Meeting Zachary Levi and Krysta Rodriguez at 'Broadway Rocks'

Transitioning from my soon-to-be-completed degree in Advertising to the world of Marketing & Promotions was an interesting jump, but my time at BU has helped me in more ways than one to navigate my first real-time Broadway internship.

BU Lifesaver #1 – The COM Connection

While I am sure you are tired of hearing “network with COM alumni” – this advice could not be truer. While searching for NY internships while I was still out in London, I messaged a past “BU On Broadway” President, Abby Schreer, for any leads for Broadway advertising internships. She sent me the contact information for my now-supervisor at AKA. I sent an email with my resume, had a phone interview two weeks later, and finally got the confirmation email a week after that. Word to the wise – join clubs and meet as many people as you can. Friends can end up being your greatest lifeline.

BU Lifesaver #2 – Presentation 101

For our summer intern project for the company, all of the company interns are collaborating to create a mock advertising pitch for the fake musical adaptation to “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (the 90’s, Julia Roberts and Burt Bacharach, anyone?). While this project would seem daunting, I am helped by class experience (shout-out to Intro to Advertising) in presentations that have made this project a bit more manageable. Powerpoint is every agency’s best friend.

The AKA Marketing Team

BU Lifesaver #3 – Know the Industry

The biggest lifesaver of them all was my knowledge of the industry. Back in Professor Cakebread’s Account Management class, we had to research agencies that interested us, which is how I stumbled upon the Broadway agencies. Having a working knowledge of the theater industry and how it related to advertising have helped me every day. Most importantly – my recent internship in London Theater was even more helpful, especially since I now intern at a global agency (with a base office in London!).

The big take-away is make the most of your time at COM, because you will find little “lifesavers” that will help you throughout your internship and eventual job search. Without these BU connections and experiences, I am not sure I would have been able to make the most of my dream internship.

See you all on campus in the fall!

Hanging Out with Spider-Man at the Brooklyn Cyclones

 

Julianna: Finding a Place in Journalism

Happy summer, everyone! It feels as though the days until the start of the semester are whizzing by. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was writing up features for World Travel Guide in London or spending a weekend in Prague? Now, I’m two months in (and exactly one month to go) at Time Out New York where I’m interning in the travel & guides department. As I prepare for my last year at BU (yikes!), I’m starting to see how past decisions and goals are stringing together into my future. I came to BU knowing that I wanted to pursue print journalism, but was unsure of my direction. Should I write about politics? Music? Or both? And so, along the way I’ve reported on various topics – fashion, concert reviews, neighborhood hard news from a school board meeting to business stories. In the spring I had my “ah-ha” moment at my London internship when I realized that I want to pursue a career in travel, life&styles  journalism.

Just as my future career became a clearer vision I was offered my dream internship at Time Out New York. I’ve been reading and using TONY as a source of NYC recommendations since the beginning of high school. Plus, I read Time Out London religiously in the spring. To have my own desk at my favorite media company feels surreal even if it’s just for three months. I work under one editor who has assigned me to several projects such as fact-checking listings for an NYC guide book and writing up pieces that will be published in the coming weeks. This internship has been a change of pace from previous ones where I was doing extensive reporting and writing. At TONY I’m honing my editorial skills, which will prove vital to my dream job in magazine journalism.

The point of my ramblings is make some suggestions to other aspiring journalists. If you’re looking to pin-point what drives your desire for journalism then work your way through writing about different topics for on-campus publications and consider an internship at a newspaper so you can experience reporting as a trade. It’s okay to be “all over the map” in terms of figuring out your place in journalism because after all this is a vast, ever-changing industry. As the semesters roll on you’ll start to see your role as a student journalist take shape into visions of your ideal beat, company or editor position. My path in journalism at BU isn’t over just yet, but at this point I could already say that it’s been so exciting. So embrace bouts of uncertainty, feel the pressure of deadlines and as always, stay curious.

 

Julianna: Make the Most of your Internship Abroad

Hello from London! It’s been an incredible semester of traveling, exploring London and getting to learn more about myself outside of my comfort zone. Allow me to digress on the latter. As the cliche goes, studying abroad really is a life-changing experience. Since January I have tackled bouts of homesickness, eased out of culture shock and got into the habit of taking myself out on day-dates to markets, museums and cafes (my next “date” will be a spa day in Bath!). As the semester winds down I find myself not only reflecting on my growth, but on my time at my internship. Since the end of February I have been working at Columbus Travel Media as an editorial intern for its website, World Travel Guide (www.worldtravelguide.net). As part of the in-house editorial team I have written and pitched feature stories, worked the company’s social media and learned how to edit photos and publish content to the website. With only one week left at my internship, it’s the perfect time to give some tips to those of you who plan to do a BU abroad internship program.

1. Be specific about the type of internship you want

Internships at BU London are sourced by a private placement company called EUSA. This means each student in the program is assigned a EUSA placement manager who goes through the process of finding and landing an internship for you. Sigh of relief. With having to apply for a VISA and other important preparations it really is such a plus to not have to worry about the internship hunt. However, your input is extremely important. Several weeks before leaving for London I had a meeting with a EUSA representative to discuss my internship preferences. I was very specific about my interests in journalism: please, nothing to remotely do with hard news and instead more along the lines of travel, life and styles. Since I aspire to work in magazines, I also mentioned specific London-based magazines that interested me. Well, I ended up not being placed at a magazine, but I definitely got what I asked for in terms of travel journalism, which leads me to my next point…

2. Be Open Minded. Always.

Okay, so I wasn’t placed at a glossy. At first I was a little bummed, but as I prepared for the pre-internship interview I got even more excited about the opportunity to work in travel media whilst experiencing a semester of frequent weekend jaunts to mainland Europe and other UK destinations. And so I started off my internship with a) a gut feeling that I would love it b) an open mindedness to honing my skills in online journalism and social media. On day one my positive initiative proved successful. Right away my editor put me on assignment to write a feature and offered me the opportunity to go on an overnight press trip to Oxford and to write a feature out of it. Well, two weeks later after going on this awesome press trip I came to one of the most important realizations since coming to London: I definitely want a career in travel journalism.

3. Prepare for your interview

Get to know yourself. Well, your professional self. Think up potential questions that your interviewer will ask such as, what are your strengthens and weaknesses? Then jot down your responses and say them out loud to hear how you will respond. Have your resume, or as they say here across the Atlantic, CV, in tip-top shape and know what certain past projects or jobs you would like to delve into during the interview. Always do a thorough Internet search on your company. For journalists, find out the company’s targeted audience and read recent articles or watch/listen to the latest programs. Since you’re in a foreign place look into how to get to your office several days before the interview, so you can arrive with time to spare and a good sense of your travel route.

4. Immerse yourself in the office culture

Interning abroad means you will undoubtably experience a different professional environment than what you’re used to in Boston. For instance, I’ve learned that it is common courtesy to ask the rest of the staff if anyone wants tea before I go to the kitchen to refresh my cup. Oh on the topic of tea. If you come to London get used to tea as your new pick-me-up — you can drink lots of it throughout the day without getting caffeine jitters.

 

Sarah: Things I’ve Learned Abroad

Hey there, terriers! Long time no see!

To those of you recently accepted to Boston University – congratulations! You are among the best and brightest in your class, and your reward will be the best four years of your life!

At exactly this time three years ago, I was about to turn 18, had just been accepted to BU and was already planning my semester abroad in London. An application, a few semesters and a long plane ride later, here I am writing to you from foggy ol’ London Town. For those of you considering studying abroad, I have one piece of advice – do it. Just do it. Forget your reservations, pack your bags and get away for the semester. If you give it a decent shot, you won’t regret it.

For those of you who know you want to study abroad – or for those of you who might be getting ready to jet off – here are a few things I’ve learned about being a student in a foreign city.

It is OK to be American. Or Chinese. Or Italian. Or Tanzanian. Or whatever else you may be. One of the best ways to understand and appreciate your own culture is to remove yourself from it. After about a month in London, I realized that I was trying too hard to be British instead of fully embracing the experience of being an American in Britain. It is a wonderful thing to be immersed in another culture. I now know how to navigate the Tube and make a proper cup of tea. I’ve even adopted a few British phrases – “take away” instead of “to go.”  But I’ve also learned that enjoying another culture does not mean giving up your own. It is ok to ask questions, get lost and be disgusted by black pudding. Being aware of a stereotype is the first step in beating it, or at the very least having a laugh at it. In Barcelona, one café featured a “sandwich Americano.” It was a hotdog.

Learning is essential. You must not forget the study part of studying abroad! It is the reason people go abroad and the reason BU supports these programs. Fortunately, I use study in a liberal sense. Most of the learning one does while studying abroad does not happen in a classroom or from a textbook. While classes are important, learning opportunities come in various and often unexpected forms. I have learned all about the NHS and the history of British cinema. But I’ve also learned how to decipher between North England and South London accents and how to find the best hostel on a budget. I’ve learned that Keira Knightley got her start on a cop drama series and that Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be” for his mother. I won’t say that school work is not an important part of the program, but don’t let it hold you back! As they say in England, “get on with it” and get out!

Traveling is both a blessing and a curse. I chose to study in London partly because of its location. Europe is at my disposal. My travel itinerary this semester includes Budapest, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin, Athens and various cities in Italy. It is pretty amazing to jet off to a new country almost every weekend. However, I would advise future abroad-ers to plan wisely. You can book trip after trip after trip and return home knowing very little about your host city. I have seven weeks left abroad, but only one weekend left in London. Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to call a foreign place home for a few months. It is learning the in and outs of London – the slang, the hidden treasures, the best grocery stores – that make the experience truly amazing. I know I will make time to travel throughout my life, but I will never have this opportunity again.

So as I said before, do it! Study abroad. You know you want to!

Maria: How to Spend your Summer

Unfortunately, spring break is coming to an end. But that means that you’re halfway done with the semester, and only 8 weeks away from the summer! That’s probably a lot sooner than you thought, huh? If you’re still not sure about how you should spend your summer, here are some ideas:

Get an Internship

Many of us, especially in the communication field, know that internships are not only great resume boosters, but are amazing real world experiences. You get to learn so much about your field and you’re able to take what you learn in your classes and apply it to actual companies.

It’s definitely not too late to still apply to summer internships! Some places don’t close their applications until April, but at the same time there are lots of places that have closed their applications or will soon. Make sure you get a list of places you would be interested in interning, check out when the deadline is to apply, and get your documents in as soon as you can.

Study Abroad

Taking classes abroad through BU’s programs over the summer is great for two reasons: one is because well… you get to live in a new city, country, or continent! You can still fit in educational time abroad that won’t interrupt your normal fall and spring semesters on campus. Another reason is because you can still get class credit and that can help you take fewer classes when you get back to campus.

One thing that some people forget is that studying abroad doesn’t mean you have to fly across the world to get the abroad experience. BU offers domestic programs in LA and DC, and those are two awesome programs to take advantage of. If you don’t feel like spending the summer out of the country, those are great options.

Work at Home

Sometimes, it’s nice to just get out of the Boston area, head home, and simply take on a seasonal summer job, like working at an ice cream store, a summer day camp, or at a pool as a lifeguard. It’s a great way to make money (side note: there are still many internships that do not pay their interns, so this is another reason to consider this idea!). Summertime is always known as a relaxing time, so why not take on a more laid back job, make some money, and enjoy the warm weather?

My spring break trip to Mexico has made me way too excited for the summer’s warm weather and relaxation as you can probably tell from this post… Hope you all had a great break!

 

Dany: Lessons from London

Hello everyone and greetings from across the pond! For those who don’t know me, I’m Dany and I’m currently studying abroad in London (along with fellow CAs Tom, Julianna, and Sarah!) It’s crazy to think I’ve been here for nearly two months. These weeks have flown by and I hope the second half slows down somehow because I honestly never want to leave.

Though I’m only halfway through my semester, this experience has taught me so much about everything from traveling to cooking. So I’m going to do what I do best and give you a list.

What I’ve Learned from London:

1. How to cook.

Before London, my complete menu boasted scrambled eggs, easy mac, and the best bowl of cereal you’ve ever had. Sometimes I would be adventurous and microwave a frozen dinner. But here in London, I share a kitchen with 14 people and they all cook. And they like it. And they’ve encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone (the fridge) and splash around the deep end (the stove). I am proud to say that I can now successfully fry an egg, cook chicken, make rice, prepare vegetables, and create some really good pasta meals. Yeah it’s still pretty standard but believe me, it’s a significant improvement from my frozen dinner days.

2. How to travel.

Sometimes things go exactly like you plan. Sometimes plans fall completely apart. Traveling, unfortunately, is not as easy as clicking a button, hopping on a plane, and taking selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower. When you’re on a budget, it may take a while to find the best prices and deals for flights and hostels. There’s a lot of details that need to be worked out beforehand so that once you actually arrive, you can throw away the map and forget about planning and explore. But at the same time, it is just as important to not let that stress overwhelm you and take over the excitement of the entire trip. In the end, these are your adventures, and it’s about what you want to get out of them. You don’t need a first class flight or the perfect hostel or even a huge group of friends to do what it is you came here to do: get lost in a beautiful city you’ve never been in before.

3. How to be British.

Three things: tea, accents, and the Queen. Although the last point is tricky because I do believe Queen Elizabeth shares her throne from time to time with Queen Adele and Queen Rowling. That said, the best way to really take advantage of being abroad is to fully embrace the culture you’re in. Learn how to make an authentic cup of tea. Try fish and chips everywhere you go. Ask people about their accents and where they are from. Introduce yourself in an intelligent manner and dispel the stereotypes about Americans. Be proud of who you are and where you come from and show a genuine interest in where you are and what you’re doing there.

I encourage everyone to go abroad at some point during their college career. This has been the most rewarding experience and it’s not even close to over. I’ve met some really great people, explored some fantastic cities, and done some really amazing things in the past few months. I can only hope the second half is just as good. I do miss Boston a lot but at this moment, I honestly don’t know how I will be able to leave.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a fantastic semester! If you have any questions about abroad or any tips or recommendations, please drop me a line at vasquezd@bu.edu! Also if you’re dying to go abroad and want to live vicariously through me until you get your chance, check out my blog at danyvasquez.com!

Cheers!

Tom: Traveling All Around Europe for Dummies

Hello all! And “Cheers” from across the Atlantic, where I am studying abroad at BU’s London Internship Program. I arrived in London a little under two months ago and have been having the time of my life: from taking in all the culture and theater London has to offer, along with getting to travel around Europe on the weekends!

Now the thought of traveling around Europe and studying abroad can seem daunting but with a few tips, you can make travelling around Europe easy and seamless (and most importantly… cheap). This is precisely why I have titled this short guide: Travelling Around Europe for Dummies.

Plan, Plan, PLAN.

  • When choosing to go to a specific city, make sure you know what you want to do and how long you want to stay there. As a travel tip, get together with your travel companions the day before to plot out what you want to do and how you are going to navigate the city (walking, metro, bus, etc.). Also make sure your hostel (the cheapest and best way to book places to stay) is near all the major sights.

Pick your travel buddies carefully

  • When you are choosing to book a trip with a group of friends, make sure everyone is on the same page with what you want to do. I was lucky enough to have great companions for all the trips I’ve been on so far – but some other friends were not as lucky on other trips.

Make a Checklist… But be flexible

  • The greatest suggestion I have for travelling is to make a checklist for everything you want to do. For example, when I went to Paris, some of the things on my checklist were “See the Eiffel Tower, Visit the Louvre, Eat a Crepe, and buy a Baguette.” Make sure you allot enough time to do everything, but also be flexible.Some of the greatest things you’ll do abroad will happen spontaneously (such as when I found the beach in Barcelona or stumbled onto a parade in Paris).

No matter what happens… Stay Positive

  • No matter what may happen, always stay positive and remember you are having a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel. Many people don’t get the opportunity to gallivant around Europe like BU Study Abroad students, so take in everything that the cities have to offer and don’t get worried if you don’t do “everything”.

Those are my top tips for travelling which have been helpful in my weekend trips to Paris, Barcelona, and Cardiff. I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester travelling to Rome, Venice, Dublin, Prague, and more! (and of course, getting to find all the hidden gems of London).

Thinking about going abroad? Shoot me an email (tschrank@bu.edu) and I’ll offer you plenty of tips and advice.

Cheers,

Tom