Kate: The Countdown Begins…

As the countdown to summer was highly anticipated by many, my countdown is just beginning. The countdown for September 1st, the day that I will board a 747 with 200 other BU students to London for the next three and a half months.  And something tells me that with classes over and that diploma in hand, a few of you have a very similar countdown as you look forward to beginning your freshmen year at BU.

This summer, I’m laying low in preparation of a fantastic three months abroad. No internship, just working, seeing friends and enjoying Boston.  And I pass that same advice along to you as you prepare for the next step in your life.  Many you are probably feeling the pressure to brush up on high school skills or get an internship related to your intended major. My advice to you: just relax.  You will have plenty of time for that once you’ve arrived, trust me. Take this time now to enjoy your home life, your high school friends, your summer freedom and lots of yummy graduation cakes because once all the thrill begins in September, it won’t stop and you won’t want it to.

My countdown says 72 days. What does yours say?

Mike: My Final Days Abroad

Mike Image

Hey all,
I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of the semester and my time abroad here in Madrid. These past few months have been the best of my life and I am so sad to leave Spain. The people I’ve met, the amazing places I’ve traveled to and the delicious food– it has all been such an incredible experience. If I have one piece of advice for underclassman, it is to go abroad. And try to go to a country where they speak another language and you can stay with a family because it really is the best way to master the language and immerse yourself in the culture.

We finally wrapped our documentary last week and have the screening this week. After months of hard work filming, interviewing and editing, we assembled a final product that i am really proud of and can’t wait to show everyone.

I’m currently writing this from my hostel in Portugal. This is my final trip before the program ends. We have a 5 day weekend because of the Spanish holidays next week. I am finally able to relax a bit and enjoy the last few weeks abroad.

It is bittersweet to leave Spain. I know how much I am going to miss Madrid but I am excited to go home to New York City and hopefully get an internship there this summer. I also was accepted into the Los Angeles internship program for this fall so I will heading to LA in August to get some hands on experience in the industry. Its going to be a very different “abroad” experience from Madrid, but I’m excited to meet new people and conquer a new city.

Unfortunately  I will be apart from Boston for yet another semester but I’ll be back in the spring to spend my last semester on campus. See you all soon!

Kate: Tips for Tackling the Study Abroad Application

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This semester, I began the grueling process of applying to a study abroad program.  When I was on the college hunt, I realized that studying abroad opportunities was a must where ever I ended up.  And I definitely picked the right place for that.  BU has programs all over the world doing any types of program you could think of.  A girl in my sorority just got back from a Creative Writing Trip to Greece.  My other friend spent a semester at sea.  My plan: London Internship Program for Fall 2012.

The following are a few tips I have for those beginning the application process and how to make sure you get accepted to the program of your choice!

  1. Plan ahead. There a certain requirements to go on a study abroad program, especially ones that have an internship component (check out those requirements here).  Decide early what semester or summer you want to go abroad and plan your schedule accordingly.  There are no exceptions for the class or GPA requirements so make sure you’re all set when it comes time to apply.
  2. Get your recommendation letters. Most applications require 1-2 professor recommendations.  Contact your recommenders early.  It is not okay to expect them to finish it in a day so consider reaching out to them at least a month before the application is due.  Don’t be afraid to send them a reminder email if the deadline is closing in but don’t badger them.
  3. Apply early! This may be the most important piece of advice I have to offer you.  Applications and decisions are made on a rolling basis a.k.a. the sooner you get it in, the sooner you find out your decision.  I had one friend who turned the application in almost two months before it was due and heard back in 12 days (the usually time is about four weeks).  Also, many of the popular programs will fill up before the application deadline.  Procrastinating your application may lead to a rejection from your program of choice.

Once you’ve been accepted (congrats!), get all your forms and deposit payment in fast! Once you do that, you can select your housing and classes for your upcoming time abroad.  It is a very exciting time–remember these tips to make sure you have a semester you will never forget!

Check out the study abroad website for more information on abroad programs and to being your application!

Mike: Abroad in Madrid!

Mike Image

Hola chicos!

I can’t believe I’ve already been in Madrid for almost three weeks now! I’ve been going nonstop since getting here and I’m still completely exhausted. I feel like I’ve been here for ages, it’s very strange. But so far I am absolutely loving it. It is so different from home– the culture, the food, the people, the nightlife. Every street I walk down I have to stop and take pictures. The architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen. The people here are all very friendly (so much nicer than New Yorkers), and I am definitely glad I’m being forced to speak Spanish all the time.

My host family is wonderful. My mom, Pilar, is so kind and welcoming. We call her “mapi,” a term of endearment her kids called her when they were young. Her daughter, Maria, is also very sweet. She’s a lawyer and is always starting up conversations with me, even if I have to take long pauses to try to respond. It has been a lot of head nods, smiles, and “si’s” while I’ve been here. Neither of them speak English. They’ll know a few words here and there but I have to speak to them entirely in Spanish, which is certainly frustrating because there is so much I’d like to speak to them about but I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough to carry on full-length conversations. My comprehension is definitely much better than my speaking. My classes are all taught in Spanish so my understanding of the language is rapidly improving.

I’m enrolled in the documentary filmmaking program here (there’s only 3 of us!) so I’m taking four classes: documentary filmmaking, Spanish cinema, colloquial Spanish, and translation for film and theater. So far they are all interesting. In Spanish cinema we are covering a bunch of Almodovar movies, and in the colloquial class I am learning all kinds of Spanish slang ranging from casual greetings to ordering beers at a bar. In the translation class, we are translating scenes from classic movies like Annie Hall into Spanish. Woody Allen is definitely not an easy writer to translate, so it’s pretty challenging. The documentary class will consume most of my time as the three of us begin pre-production for the film we are shooting. We’ve been looking around the city the past few weeks to find a topic to explore. We decided to focus on the cultural significance of “pan” or bread in each meal in Spain. We are traveling to different panerias to film the process of bread making and interviewing different families to see how bread plays a role in their family dinners. I’m sure we will be eating a lot of bread along the way so I definitely don’t mind that. Overall, the food here has been delicious. There is ham and egg in everything! And they also barely refrigerate anything! The eggs, milk, and juices are always left out. So strange.

I’ve already visited Toledo, a small village about an hour outside of Madrid. It was so quaint– cobblestone streets and beautiful churches and synagogues. I felt like I had stepped into a scene from Don Quijote. Next weekend, we are traveling to Granada, which is supposed to be filled with Moorish architecture. I can’t wait. We have already booked other weekend trips to Sevilla, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. In March, I have a two week spring break where we are planning to go to Dublin and the southern coast of France– Nice, St Tropez, and Monaco, and then venture over to Italy to cover Florence and Rome. Yup, I know you’re jealous.

I will be sure to keep you guys posted on my travels! I miss Boston and hope everyone is off to a great semester.

Hasta luego,
Mike

Brittany: COM-portunities

Brittany

The last time you heard from me, I was interning at Chronicle on Boston’s WCVB Channel 5. I told you all what a great experience it was for me, but the best had yet to come. By the end of the summer, my hard work earned me the opportunity to be an associate producer for a segment of a show! I came up with my own story idea, organized, planned, made contacts, filled out paperwork, and accompanied the crew on the day of the shoot—all the responsibilities of a real (read: salaried) producer. The episode aired a few days after I left for school, and it was the best way I could have ended my time at the station.

After Chronicle, I started working for New England Sports Network (NESN) in the fall. I’m a Boston Bruins/Hockey East Studio Production intern—a position I’m convinced is the best job in Boston. When the Bruins are home, I ride along to the Garden, where I do one of many things—learn how to run tech equipment from the truck, stage manage the pre-, post-, and intermission reports from the in-house studio, or stage manage the color and play-by-play commentators from their booth. After the game, I usually run tapes of post-game interviews from the locker room to feed them back to the office. There’s a lot of running around the Garden, but there’s no place I’d rather be on game day.

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work for Hockey East. I was the time out coordinator for the Frozen Fenway games (check out the picture that Dean Sabovik took off of the TV that day!), and I’ve put in countless hours working on Beanpot features in preparation for the tournament in February. My internship at NESN is so multifaceted, I never know what to expect as I walk in in the morning. COM has given me the preparation to handle whatever is expected of me at any given time, and complete the task at a professional level.

Last semester, I applied and got into a class going abroad to London this summer to cover the Olympics with COM. Come next year I will have graduated, and I’m so thankful that I will be able to cap out my three years at BU with such an amazing work experience. You can read more about it here: http://www.bu.edu/com/2011/12/13/students-tapped-to-cover-olympics-in-london/.

The point of my post is this—everything that I talked about truly is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Through COM, I’ve had opportunities and experiences that many college students can only dream of. I’m happy to answer any questions about internships that you might have, and I look forward to sharing my contacts with the next batch of COM students!

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Tiffany: Updates from the London Study Abroad Program

Tiffany Feng
Tiffany Feng

Happy summer everyone! Hope everyone is soaking up the sun and getting a nice tan.

Unfortunately, London isn’t too warm right now and the sun loves to play hide-and-seek with the clouds, while surprising everyone with a little rain here and there. But other than that, if studying abroad is of interest to you, I would definitely recommend it!

You will be surprised how much you will learn about other cultures, while also learning a lot about yourself. On one of the first days of class, my International Brand Management professor stated, “It is only after you’ve spent time abroad and are forced to not be American, will you truly understand what it means to be American because you will, again, be forced to realize and reflect on your values, customs, speech, media, and everything that used to seem so ordinary.”

I’ve only been here for 6 weeks and have already seen, learned, and experienced so much! For the past 6 weeks I took two courses, International Brand Management and European Marketing Strategies, and am just about to start the second half of the program where I will be interning at a fashion PR agency called Bryan Morel PR.

Other than coursework, I’ve been exploring London quite a bit and even traveled to Paris for a weekend (travelling within Europe is so cheap in comparison to what you would ever pay to travel from the States).

BU London is located in a really convenient area with lots to do right in our own borough of Kensington. It is in the most posh part of town, right down the street (literally a 2 minute walk) from Kensington Palace, past residence to Princess Diana, and where Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge have chosen as their London home. Right next to Kensington Palace is the gorgeous Hyde Park where you can paddle boat, ride bikes, go for a run, or just sit by the pond and watch the swans. We are also located right next to all the big museums like the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum that are all free admission!

There is seriously and endless amount of activities to do and places to visit throughout London. Some of my favorite places so far are Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, and Regent Street (really good shopping). Also for my fellow foodies out there, there are Portobello, Camden, Borough, and Greenwich Markets that are a foodies dream come true.

I really recommend looking into study abroad and if anybody has any questions about London in particular, I’d be happy to answer them or, pardon my shameless self-promotion, you can select me as your COM Ambassador!

Cheers from across the Atlantic!