Sydney: The Different Stages of Studying Abroad

Hola from Madrid! I am currently taking classes and interning in the beautiful country of Spain through the Madrid Internship Program. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity that brings out many different emotions. After also participating in the Dublin Internship Program this past summer, I have observed and experienced the various feelings that come with living overseas. Here are all the relevant stages and emotions during your time abroad:

  1. Nerves

The idea of living in an unfamiliar country that is so far away from friends and family can be pretty nerve-wrecking. These nerves are extremely normal and valid; you are about to embark on a huge adventure and there’s no way you can know what to expect.

  1. Excitement

Along with nerves comes tons of excitement. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and there are so many things to be excited about: traveling to new places, trying new food, meeting new people, and so much more! Once you arrive to the city, you will be excited to explore and take everything in.

  1. Overwhelmed

After the excitement of the first few weeks settles in as you begin classes and your internship, it is very common to feel overwhelmed. Although it would be great if studying abroad was one big vacation, you are there to study, go to class, and work. General school stress that you feel in Boston will also affect you abroad. Additionally, you may be overwhelmed about being so far from friends and family. However, it is very easy to overcome these feelings by relying on your peers in the program who are experiencing the same emotions, as well as distractions such as constantly traveling and exploring new places.

  1. Comfort

After about a month or so of living somewhere, you find comfort in the new city with your new routine and friends. By the time I left Dublin, everything was so familiar and I felt as if the city was my home. After already living in Madrid for two months, I am extremely comfortable with my host family, friends, and the city in general. I am so excited that I still have so much time left!

  1. Bittersweet

As your time studying abroad comes to an end, you experience many mixed emotions. For one, you will be upset that such an amazing experience is almost over. However, you are content with all the time you had getting to know and explore the city. Even though you wish it was longer, you have a bunch of new, extraordinary memories.

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that teaches you so much about different cultures and ways of life. If you have the time in your schedule and opportunity to do so, go abroad! You will not regret it.

Sydney: Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to College

  Although your high school and family members will try to prepare you for college, it’s impossible to actually be prepared for all the experiences coming your way. I had no idea what to expect coming into BU my freshman year. I only knew one person from my high school attending BU with me, so I came in eager to meet new people, but nervous about the unknown. Here are some things I have learned since coming to BU:

1.     You won’t meet all your best friends freshman year.

o   I met a lot of students my freshman year, from orientation, to FYSOP, to people on my floor, as well as through other extra-curricular activities. However, I didn’t meet some of my closest friends until my sophomore, and even junior year. Although I do have some good friendships from freshman year, I strongly encourage you to be open-minded and meet as many people as you can. Don’t stick to the same group you meet in the first few weeks of classes. BU is such a big school that you might miss out on some great friendships.  

2.     Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t as scary as you think.

o   Although it’s frightening, sometimes the best experiences come from putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone. For example, I was pretty shy growing up. I never thought I would be so comfortable giving tours for the Admissions Office at BU, with group sizes ranging from 20-40 prospective students and parents. However, I wanted to share my experiences and my passion for BU, and applied to be an Admissions Ambassador freshman year. The Admissions Ambassador role has been one of my most rewarding experiences, significantly improving my public speaking and communication skills. This experience gave me the confidence to apply to be a COM Ambassador sophomore year. I am so glad I did not let fear or nerves cause me to miss out on these amazing opportunities.

3.     Time management is difficult but possible.

o   If you’re in COM, chances are you will have a lot going on. Between balancing classes, internships, jobs, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, time management is imperative. Although everyone has different organizational skills, you will learn that you can manage your time and fit in the activities that are important to you.

4.     Prioritize making time for yourself.

o   It’s easy to get caught up in your school work, making sure you have a job or internship, or trying to improve friendships. However, sometimes you really need to devote time to yourself. I personally enjoy taking walks on the Esplanade, on campus, or somewhere downtown. It’s really easy to get caught up in college life and trying to make other people happy, but taking time to relax and focus on yourself will positively benefit all aspects of your life.

These are just a few of the many things I have learned since arriving at BU. I still have some time left, and know there is a lot more learning and experiences to go!

Sydney: How PRSSA has prepared me for the real world

I came into BU undecided with my major in the College of Arts and Sciences, completely unsure about my future career path. After realizing my passion for communication and learning more about COM through COM101, I declared my major in Public Relations the summer after my freshman year. But, to be honest, I didn’t really know what Public Relations was, so the best decision I made was joining the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) to help me figure it out.

I attended my first PRSSA meeting the first week of sophomore year. I was enthralled by the opportunity to hear from guest speakers and what working in the PR field is actually like. I attended every weekly meeting, eager to learn from industry professionals about their experiences and advice. By the end of my sophomore year, I was so passionate about PRSSA that I decided to run for the e-board. Everyone running for a position had to give a speech to members in attendance. I was nervous to speak about myself and why I felt I was capable for the position of Programming Coordinator in front of my fellow members. However, I overcame this fear and was elected into the position.

As Programming Coordinator, I am in charge of scheduling our weekly guest speakers. I was intimidated to reach out to industry professionals at first, but realized it wasn’t so scary after all. They are all excited to share their wisdom and experiences because they were once in a place of fear and confusion like us. I came back in the fall semester with the majority of guest speakers booked, and couldn’t wait to hear and learn from them.

PRSSA has taught me so much about the Public Relations world. I had the opportunity to attend the PRSSA National Conference, with over 1,000 PR students from around the country, hosted in Boston this year (shout out to CA Rachel for being one of the students who planned it!). I spent four days learning from industry professionals such as IBM Chief Brand Officer Jon Iwata, CEO of The Celebrity Source Rita Tateel, as well as speakers from PR agencies such as Weber Shandwick and Ogilvy PR. I also connected with other PR students from all over the United States, and Peru, who had similar goals and interests with me, realizing that PRSSA is far more than just our BU chapter. It was a great experience that I am so grateful to PRSSA for.

If you have any interest in Public Relations, Advertising, Marketing, or the Communications field in general, I definitely recommend joining PRSSA. Hearing from diverse speakers at weekly meetings has helped me determine what type of organization and industry I would like to work in for the future. This pre-professional organization truly prepares you with connections and advice for the post-grad world!

Sydney: Summer Study Abroad in Dublin

I had the amazing opportunity to spend this past summer studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland through the COM Internship Program.

We lived on campus at Dublin City University’s All Hallows Campus. This was my view when I left our dorm building.

We all took one class and were placed into an internship. My class was about contemporary Irish society. My internship was at a casting company called Ali Coffey Casting. I was in charge of scheduling and booking actors for castings, as well as managing the waiting room. I was able to meet a bunch of locals and hear about their lives in Ireland!

My internship was located in central Dublin right up the block from the famous Temple Bar.

A university you may have heard of, Trinity College, was nearby. So was Grafton Street! Fun fact: Even though Ed Sheeran mentions Grafton Street in his song Galway Girl, the famous street is located in Dublin. It’s a popular shopping area.

Studying abroad is an amazing experience! For one, you make great friendships that will last beyond your time there. You can travel with them to new, beautiful places and create once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

I traveled to many spots within Ireland including Galway, Cork, the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney, Belfast and the Giants Causeway.

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Giants Causeway
Giants Causeway



I also traveled outside of Ireland to Brussels, Belgium, Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England! Once you’re in Europe, traveling is easy and pretty affordable if you book far enough in advance. Memories made and experiences with friends are worthwhile.






Moral of the story: If you have the opportunity- study abroad!! I personally recommend a summer in Dublin. 

Sydney: Choosing College Confusion

As admitted students face the decision of choosing which college to attend, and prospective students will begin applications in the coming months, I reflect on my feelings of confusion and uncertainty when I was in those positions.

When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future; I didn’t know what I wanted to major in or where I wanted to go to school. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted a small or large school, or urban environment vs a traditional campus. I’m sure some of you can relate.

I applied to way too many colleges my senior year, and to be honest, BU was not my top choice. I imagined myself attending a big state school, specifically Penn State. I wanted to go to a school with a football team, and continue my 10-year-long cheerleading career. I was extremely excited when I was accepted into Penn State, however I was forced to choose among other options- one being Boston University.  After receiving my BU acceptance, I decided to give the school a chance and attend an admitted student visit.

I visited BU on a dreary, cold, and rainy day in March. Upon stepping on the campus and exploring some of what Boston had to offer, something registered in my mind. I realized, how can I attend a school where I am locked up in a gated campus? Since I’m from NYC, I couldn’t imagine myself not remaining in an urban environment. I knew BU offered so much to do on campus, but there are so many opportunities off campus as well!

Although BU wasn’t my original option, I knew this is where I wanted to be. My advice for anyone who is in the same confused and uncertain mindset as I was is that it will all work out! Be open-minded to schools you may not have originally considered. Visit different campuses and imagine yourself there. If you don’t know what you want to major in yet, that’s completely okay! I came into BU undecided in the College of Arts & Sciences, and I finally figured it out my sophomore year as a Public Relations major in COM. Even though it doesn’t seem like it, I know you will figure everything out!

Sydney: An Inside Look at an Internship with NBC

During the summer of 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to intern with NBC New York. I was based out of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in the heart of NYC.   

I was a digital media intern, meaning I worked on the company’s website by writing news articles and creating photo galleries. I also worked on their social media accounts, specifically Instagram and Snapchat.

I was extremely nervous the first day of my internship. NBC is a very well-known, successful organization, and NBC New York is basically the birthplace of television. How could you not feel intimidated? However, I was fortunate enough to have a very friendly boss, and to be a part of a great team. 

Upon my arrival, the company had just started up their Snapchat account. This became one of the main projects for my internship. 

I was lucky enough to attend super cool events around NYC for Snapchat content. For example, The Stonewall Inn National Monument Ceremony, The Liberty State Park Opening near the 9/11 Memorial, Black Lives Matter protests at City Hall, as well as the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (who knew that was a thing?).

My favorite days were when I attended TODAY Show concerts for our Snapchat and Instagram accounts. The concerts were right outside and I used my NBC ID to get good spots. I was probably way to excited for Nick Jonas and Shawn Mendes to perform. Some of my other favorites were Jennifer Lopez with Linn-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton!!), as well as Steven Tyler and Megan Trainor (I got a selfie with her!)

 When I walked off the elevator to get to my office, I passed Studio 6B- home of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Occasionally I heard The Tonight Show filming and would freak out over hearing Jimmy Fallon’s voice.

Stefan Holt, son of Lester Holt, was one of the new broadcast journalists who I worked on several projects with. He is extremely nice and I even had the opportunity to help out at a meet and greet for him and two other news anchors in New Jersey! I rode in the car with them from NYC as they talked about adult things such as past career positions and buying houses, as well as singing songs I had never heard of.

Thursdays were great because I got to play with dogs!! NBC New York has a local TV show called New York Live, and every Thursday they bring in dogs from local animal shelters who are up for adoption. I definitely spent too much time playing with them when I should’ve been working.

 Overall, my summer internship was an amazing experience and taught me how to survive in the professional world. Internships in general help you gain a ton of insight into a certain industry. Although I am a PR major, my internship was very journalism-based. It helped me realize that journalism and the news, especially local news, is not the industry I would like to pursue. It’s okay to not like certain parts of an internship because it only redirects you towards the right path for your future. I know that choosing public relations as my major opposed to journalism was the right choice thanks to my summer internship!