Megan: Life Lessons from BU

After 7 semesters and 3 summers, my time at Boston University is drawing to a close. I will carry the memories and lessons I’ve learned long after I graduate in January, but it feels very bittersweet for my time as a student to be ending after such a wonderful experience! I’ve decided to go through and reflect on what I learned during the time I was a BU student.

Fall 2015
I was so nervous before I moved in about making friends and getting to know a city I had only visited for short periods of time. But, I was able to form a community by doing FYSOP my first week of college, befriending all of the people on my floor in Warren Towers (5C!), and joining lots and lots of clubs. It seemed silly to be afraid after meeting so many people I could relate to.

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Spring 2016
This was the semester that I found my home at BU: COM Undergraduate Affairs. I really looked forward to being, and to stopping by whenever I was in COM. It was where I really found people with similar interests and passions. I also learned how much fun PDP’s are while I took a golf and swim class!

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Summer 2016
I spent my first summer after college back home in Maryland, and it was the second-best summer of my entire life! It was so important for me after a school year of change to be able to come home and be with the friends I had grown up with, to nanny for the kids I love, and to sleep in my own room.

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Fall 2016
This was undoubtedly the best semester of my college career. I became best friends with the greatest friend I’ve ever had, CA Claire, and realized what it meant to find a near-perfect friendship. I also worked harder than I ever had on Bay State, the BUTV10 show, and felt more confident than I ever had in my classes and what I was doing.

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Spring 2017
I went from my best semester in college to my worst. Though I was doing lots of fun things, like being an assistant stage manager for BU On Broadway’s Legally Blonde, and directing on Bay State, I was doing totally too much and my mental health suffered. But, I learned how to prioritize the activities and friendships that matter, and to stick close with the friends that would be there for me through the tough times.

Summer 2017
Staying in Boston for the summer was an outstanding experience. The weather was great, I was working for Orientation, and I did my first internship. Claire and I did our fair share of cooking, and visited as many beaches as we could. We also took time to visit family in NYC and Maryland, which was super important after not being home for so long.

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Fall 2017
This was the semester that I had an hour long lunch break at my internship in the heart of Boston, meaning I was constantly exploring and visiting my favorite place, the Boston Harbor. I also got to read feature film scripts for the first time, and made some really wonderful new friends as I took on bigger leadership roles.

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Spring 2018
My last semester in Boston was amazing because I interned at WGBH in their Children’s Programming department, and finally felt like I had found where in the entertainment industry I belonged. It was the best feeling in the world getting to go there, while also experiencing my favorite things in Boston for the last time. I miss Regina’s Pizzeria in the North End every day.

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Summer 2018
The BEST summer of my life! I got to go abroad to London and explore England, Ireland, France, Belgium, and Amsterdam, and learned what it meant to really fall in love with a city. I had never felt so clearly that I belonged somewhere, and I miss it every single day. I also got to teach a bunch of Europeans how to make s’mores, and changed their lives forever!

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Fall 2018
My final semester of college has been devoted to “studying abroad” in Los Angeles, and preparing for a post-college world. I have had the opportunity to intern at what I think is probably the best place in the world, DreamWorks, and feel ready to enter the workforce and begin to make the magic I always dreamed I would.

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There are so many opportunities I haven’t gotten to mention in my final blog post, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how much being a COM Ambassador has meant to me. I have been able to make wonderful friends, meet amazing prospective students and their families, and share my love of BU to thousands of people. That’s craziness, and I am so so thankful for COM. I’ll miss college very much, but I know it has helped me get right where I need to be.

Laurel: How to Be Fashionable and Sustainable

Given the recent midterm elections, it got me thinking a lot about policies, especially environmental policies. To me, some of the most important votes are the ones about our environment and how we choose to treat it. Thinking too much about its current state of the environment could get you depressed quite easily but what always uplifts me is the amount I can do as an individual to change that.

Now, we all know by now to use a reusable water bottle, take reusable grocery bags to the story and so on. There are tons of tips and tricks to make your life more sustainable: use a soap bar of shampoo to not use a plastic bottle, ditch those plastic straws. But did you ever think about the clothing you wear daily is both capable of harming the environment and helping it depending on how you shop?

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Clothing is being vastly overproduced around the world with many of the unsold items being wasted. This creates a chain of problems for the environment especially considering how harmful some clothing material can be to the earth when not disposed of properly. That is why I have made the conscious effort to shop more sustainably and have created a short list of the brands you can shop to do the same.

 One of the easiest ways to keep on trend while remaining sustainable is by shopping at stores that make their clothing out of recycled materials. One notable company is Everlane, who now makes winter coats out of water bottles. Of, you can opt to shop local with a brand that uses old fabrics, deconstruct them and turn them into something new like Elliot Clothing who uses recycled materials such as repurposed raw silk.

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Then, there are other brands that don’t produce the item you want until you buy it. What that means is that they are not overproducing so their materials will not go to waste if no one buys a certain style. Though this slows down the buying process, it forces us to think about how much we buy compared to how much is produced. A great brand that keeps demand and supply curve steady is Only Child based out of Oakland, CA.

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Some of the biggest negative environmental issues that arise from clothing brands are poor factories that pollute the air and create unsafe human working conditions. Everlane has been transparent about their factories and working conditions making a movement to be completely plastic free in packaging while creating safe environments for humans to work.

 Other notable brands that focus on environmental sustainability are Reformation, J. Crew and Madewell. Both J. Crew and Madewell have made strides toward sustainable clothing by repurposing old jeans to insulate houses and creating eco-friendly jeans. One of the easiest forms is simply shopping at local thrift stores and repurposing clothing so it does not add waste to the world.

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I encourage you to take more care in where you shop. Anything from workout leggings to swimsuits are being made out of plastic that is repurposed. There are so many more brands trying to create a world of fashion sustainably.  

Sydney: How to Live in the Moment When Time is Flying By

It’s the beginning of November, and I can’t believe this semester is almost over. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in school work, jobs, and other responsibilities that the semester passes by in a blink of an eye. I try to live in the moment, but I’m sure many can agree that it’s not that easy. This is my last semester in Boston because I will be spending my final semester in LA through the COM Internship Program. I have come up with a few ways to help me live in the moment and enjoy my last few weeks in Beantown before heading out for good!

Set time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment, but it is so important to set some time apart for yourself. With stress from classes, internships, and other extra-curriculars, prioritizing “me time” helps you take a step back, relax, and appreciate everything you have accomplished so far. I try to do this by working out, going on a walk, watching a movie, or meditating. This helps me live in the moment and enjoy a break from everything else in my life.

 Don’t plan too much.
I feel like I’m constantly planning throughout the semester, between setting time for club meetings, work schedules, and other activities, it’s difficult to live in the moment because I am always thinking about what’s ahead. But, a goal for this month is to not plan too much during my free time and to act spontaneously. Instead of constantly thinking about what’s next, I will try to live in the moment and enjoy what is going on in the now.

Make time for friends.
Although there may be a lot going on between school and work, making time for friends is essential. Especially since I only have a few weeks left with my friends in Boston, I am trying to enjoy my time with them as much as possible. After a busy week of classes, homework, and work, I find hanging out with my friends is a great way to take a break and relax. With time flying by, spending time with them helps me live in the moment and enjoy the now.

 With this semester going so fast, I hope these tips help you learn to live in the moment and enjoy every second at BU!

Claire: Boston Taught Me to Love Sports

Listen. I’m not a sports fan. Not at all. Ask me to name almost any player… I can’t. But, sports have provided me with some of my favorite moments in college and in Boston. I mean, we are in the City of Champions after all.

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It was freshman year that I rushed over to the hockey games with my friends to cheer on the BU players. Just yesterday my friends and I were reflecting that going to these games were some of our favorite times freshman year. We didn’t care as much for the hockey as the being together and being part of BU. I’ll keep those memories with me a long time. The Beanpot is highly recommend for all BU students to go at least once.

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Sophomore year the Pats won the Super Bowl and the city went wild (let’s not discuss what happened last year). I was gathered around a screen with my closest friends. We watched tense and filled with snacks we had all contributed. And, when they won (YES!!) we cleared our schedules to go to the Patriots Parade. It was freezing and pouring at the parade but I have never felt so much a part of Boston as during those few hours.

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I’ve watched the marathon every year I’ve been in Boston and every time I tear up. I cheer on strangers, and sometimes friends (shout out CA Rachel), as they run through all kinds of weather to achieve a lifelong dream. I mean, Marmon is one of the best days of the year. If nothing else, we get class off for people to run through the city.

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While studying abroad in London over the summer I watched every game that England played from the comfort of an overcrowded pub pretending to be a local. Watching in those hot, crowded pubs were some of the best moments of my life. CA Megan and I got so invest in the games we learned all the songs and cheers. We even picked our favorite players. Shout out to Harry Kane, the fourth best Harry in England.

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And, this year the Sox are in the World Series! I’ve had the pleasure to watch a few games in Fenway, I can hear the crowds from my apartment, and I cheer them on in every game. I love seeing the city like this. Everyone is feeling the love for Bean Town. It’s lovely, and exciting, and bustling.

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Boston, I love you so much and occasionally I really like your sports too.

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Hali: You’re Studying Abroad? But Aren’t You a Senior?

To answer the questions posed in this title, yes! And yes! 

I think an overwhelming majority of COM students choose to study abroad during their junior year. I don’t have any stats, but I’m sure someone in the Undergraduate Affairs office can give you some numbers. By the beginning of my junior year, however, it became clear that this wasn’t the best choice for me. And guess what? That’s okay! 

After I made the decision to study abroad senior year, there were plenty of times when I worried I was making the wrong choice. The idea of coming back to campus and only having one semester left terrified me. I couldn’t bear the thought of missing Splash. My heart yearned to see the fall leaves cover Bay State Road one last time. 

But as this semester approached, I grew more and more secure in my decision. Being abroad as a senior has given me an opportunity to reflect on my time at BU. As a senior, I feel so much better equipped to handle some of the challenges that come along with studying and interning in this new environment. 

Just to make myself feel ever more sure that I’ve made an excellent life decision, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why it’s a great idea to study abroad during senior year. PHOTO 1I’m studying abroad in London, but here’s a photo of me in front of the Colosseum. Go abroad so you can book cheap flights to Italy!

#1: Seize That Senior-Year YOLO Attitude
As a senior, you’re constantly aware of the fact that you’re doing things for the last time. You only get to experience college once, and it’s so easy to forget that as an underclassman. Being a senior has made me seize every opportunity I’ve had abroad, because I’m hyperaware of the fact that I’ll never have an opportunity like this again. I’m so lucky to be here, so I’d better act like it, right? 

#2: Take time to get experience, experience, and more experience
Did someone say experience? If you’re a COM student choosing to do an abroad internship program, it feels SO good to go abroad knowing a thing or two (or a lot more than a thing or two) about your field. Junior year me wouldn’t be as confident at her abroad internship as senior year me is. I don’t regret taking the extra time to build my resume and recognize what I wanted to get out of an internship. 

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetFollow me on Instagram @halisimone for more cloudy-sky London content.

#3: Gain New Appreciation for BU
It’s going to be so sad to leave London in December. But when I come back to BU, I know I’m going to cherish every moment. Knowing that I have such little time left to appreciate the COM lounge and the Warren Towers Starbucks makes me — dare I say it — excited (and emotional) to return back to campus. Wow, can you believe I’m weeping now? 

This post isn’t here to convince you to go abroad senior year instead of junior year. It’s to remind you that you should go abroad whenever you want to! Think about what’s best for YOU, and how you want to shape your college experience and timeline. If that means having a little less time to enjoy the BU Pub, so be it (I hear the pubs are better in London anyway).

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.

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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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!

 

 

Sophia: Why We Still need to Talk About Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka

Happy autumn, Terriers! Hope everyone’s enjoying the wonderful weather and all the amazingness that is fall baseball (shoutout to my boys the Red Sox for clinching the AL East Division Title #proud). There’s been a lot on my mind in the world of sports lately, so enjoy a long-winded rant about the Serena Williams/Naomi Osaka debacle.

While the fairness of the events that transpired between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos during the Women’s US Open this year is debatable, this simple fact is not: the outcome of high caliber sports matchups should never be the result of questionable officiating.

We’ve seen this happen before, and we’ll see it happen again. One of the most contested sports moments to this day remains the infamous “Fail Mary” call of a Packers-Seahawks game in 2012 (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary that was caught by both a receiver and a defender. One referee called it a touchdown, the other an incomplete pass. Ultimately, it was ruled in Seattle’s favor, and fans are still pulling their hair out over it five years later). So my only question is this: why is the world acting like they’re surprised?

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Serena Williams had a rough year. While her fans will will be the first to remind the world of her strength and determination as one of the greatest female athletes ever, they’ll also be quick to point out her troubles this year as a mother. The narrative for this US Open suited her just well. Look at all that Serena can do! She can be both a mother and an athlete; simultaneously tough and feminine; career driven and conventionally fulfilled in her personal life; competitive, even at the highest level, even after enduring years of sexism and criticism, even while pregnant, even while in pain, and even after an emergency c-section threatened the life of both her and her child; and she can win a 24th Grand Slam title, tying the record for most Grand Slam wins ever. Yes, the narrative was on Serena’s side for this match, all right.

But Naomi Osaka had a narrative too, albeit a lesser one. Osaka, the ruthless underdog, was going to beat out Serena Williams and secure her place as the first Japanese tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam. Osaka was vocal about her admiration for Williams and her desires to beat her, to prove to herself and the world that she could. The matchup between the two would be legendary regardless, a fierce competition between two top female athletes looking to make history.

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That is why the Ramos call will rival the Fail Mary in the Questionable Officiating Hall of Fame. Not because he undisputedly pushed the Grand Slam in Osaka’s favor by docking Williams a whole game, but because he made this match about something it was never intended to be about: him.

While the Ramos call in of itself can be looked at and learned from in the world of tennis, it cannot be separated from the Williams/Osaka narrative that made this Grand Slam the sporting event it was already cracked up to be. If you were to show someone who didn’t know anything about tennis the match itself, most would agree with Ramos. But when you consider all that Williams (and Osaka, too) has fought against in the world of tennis, all the Williams has done despite her personal battles that the very establishment of tennis has thrust her into, there is no room for anything other than disappointment and frustration at the complete disrespect shown to both Williams and Osaka by Carlos Ramos that day.

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The negative coverage that Ramos received from mainstream news outlets and tennis junkies alike accurately reflects the true absurdity of the situation itself. You cannot separate the penalties received by Williams from her narrative as an athlete or tennis’s sexist past. A match that was predestined to one of the greatest between two of the world’s best female athletes in is now about a call made by a male referee, a fact that is more than just irritating and disappointing, but completely disrespectful to Williams, Osaka, and the world of sports itself.