Sophia: The Typical “I Am Abroad” Post!

To quote fellow CA Tyler from his blog last week, “Yes, I am abroad, but I don’t want to give you the standard ‘I am abroad!’ post.”

Good for you, Tyler. Except here I am, about to give you the most typical, basic, eye-roll-inducing “I am abroad!” post of all time. So take that! Ha!
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Point is, abroad is as every bit exhausting, delightful and life-changing as everyone makes it out to be. I know, I know: when you’re living in Europe and traveling to magical cities every weekend, how can it not be? But until you come abroad (or in my opinion, specifically to Europe), you never fully understand why no one shuts up about it until you’re two weeks away from leaving and are already feeling nostalgic. Yeah, it’s that bad.
Because everyone’s abroad experience is so different from each other, it’s hard to pin point exactly what the best parts of. I remember that before I came here, I asked so many people what the absolute must-dos of abroad were, and everyone had different answers. But, because this is MY blog post (mwahaha), I’m going to give you the must-dos that I’ve taken away from my time in the London Internship Program.
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I only have three suggestions:
1) Eat everything.
This one is self-explanatory.
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I truthfully think food is the best thing in life (like genuinely, try to name something better than food, because I never can. Love? You can’t survive off of love! Sleep? Pfft, I’ll sleep when I’m dead!), and to have so many authentic dishes as close as a train ride away is the best part of being abroad. I won’t lie, I haven’t loved all of the food that I’ve tried, but I’ve still tried it. And then, there was the food that I was hesitant to try and ended up LOVING! I used to feel kind of ‘eh’ about Spanish food, but turns out it’s my favorite European food…and that out of Italy, Scotland, France, Sweden, Germany and London. I can’t count Greece because that’s where my family is from and my normal diet consists of the best Greek food ever, so it seems unfair to pit other countries against it. Still, not once have I ever regretted spending money on a meal, even the ones that I didn’t like. Order everything!
2) Work your tush off at your internship. 
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My internship is at the Evening Standard, a large scale publication in London. As a journalism major, I had known of the Evening Standard well before even deciding to come study abroad, so when I was placed there, I was more than delighted – I was, somehow, terrified, thrilled, anxious and eager all at once. I had many expectations coming into my internships, and I am delighted to announce that so far, all of them have been met. In fact, most of them have been surpassed.  Having worked for a publication before (Boston Magazine), I was used to writing on tight deadlines, pitching ideas and working in a fast-paced news environment. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the freedoms and responsibilities that were given to me by this publication. In Boston, my pieces had been carefully calculated, planned out precisely with my supervisor down to the very detail, edited and re-edited again and again until they were finally published. But at the Standard, I was published within my first day. In fact, I had published seven articles after my first week’s completion, articles that I had pitched myself and been given barely any afterthought before publishing. “We know what you’re capable of,” my supervisor had told me after my initial surprise. “We trust you, we trust your words.”
And really, I have been treated since then as a full-time employee in the best way possible. The days seem to zoom by; I have my own desk, co-workers who respect me and take me seriously, a supervisor who trusts my ideas and an editor that does my words justice. It is an idealistic set-up, a dream-come-true, and it’s reignited a fresh fire in my pursuit of a journalist career. Having this experience did more than just give me an international resume boost…it reignited my fire.
3) Be bold.
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Okay, hear me out: I’ve jumped into so many bodies of water abroad in the cold, and honestly, it has completely revolutionized my outlook on life. We’re only this young once, and there are only so many times in your life that you are actually able to jump into the freezing cold Loch Ness without the obstacles of life stopping you. It sounds so silly, but every day that I’ve been abroad I’ve tried to do something bold and whimsical, and coming from such a renowned school like BU that can feel so overwhelming at times, it was the best way outlook to have when waking up in the morning.
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So go, try some weird Scottish food, surf in Barcelona, work hard at your internships. This experience gives back what you put into it, so don’t be afraid to go all in.

Tyler A: UK v. US Television: What’s the difference?

Before I landed at London Heathrow Airport this January (yes, I am abroad, but I didn’t want to give you the standard “I am abroad!” post), I thought that at any time I could just plop down and turn on NBC. But nope! I was silly! Maybe I’m not like everyone else, but I really had no idea what television was like in the UK. Since this is a blog for my fellow COM nerds, though, I thought it could be useful to give a broad overview of our differences:

  1. In the UK, public service broadcasting is king (or queen): In the late 1920s when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) received a Royal Charter, one of the agreements was for radio – and later television –  to serve as a public resource, and by extension, became a government agency overseen by Parliament. Users had to pay an annual licence fee to listen, which also funded the organization. The belief was that it would prevent the creation of low-brow programming and instead result in higher-quality to inform, educate, and entertain the masses. BBC ran as a pseudo-monopoly in the UK for decades and arguably still does today. Back in the US, broadcast TV is set up commercially with revenue mainly coming from advertising (though the revenue streams have since slightly evolved in both the UK and US). Regardless, the US took on a much more “free market” idea of television.

  2. The major players in the US versus the UK: What do you think of as the big US TV companies? At least when it comes to broadcast, most people would say NBCUniversal, ABC/Disney, CBS Corp, and Fox. As American media seems to dominate globally, the content produced by these conglomerates still make their way into UK TV in one way or another, but the big players are different here. For years it was only the BBC and for a new channel to be made, an act of Parliament needed to call for it. That’s how in the 1950s Independent Television (ITV) came along as BBC’s largest competitor. Later in the the 80s and 90s, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (now Five) came along. All channels besides the BBC are funded by adverts, and these are the big UK players.

  3. Technological Development: How does your TV work at home? Do you use Cable? Satellite? Or maybe you’re a cord-cutter (or cord-never) who’s only used internet? The options in the US for TV providers feels endless (although it really isn’t, but that’s another story); however, the UK runs quite differently. Cable doesn’t dominate, but people still mainly use aerials (or over-the-air) to receive channels. In the 2000s, “Freeview” arrived and gave all UK TV-users scores of channels for free (or, with your licence fee). Satellite is somewhat common and usually comes from the provider Sky (owned by Fox, which may now be owned by Disney? What’s up, conglomeration! How you doin’?), which opens you up to more options for a larger fee.

  4. The market and the regulations are quite different. What’s the worst thing you could think of happening on air for a US broadcast TV show? Great. That’s no problem here after 9 pm because of a rule called “watershed” where they expect younger audiences have gone to bed. It really threw me through a loop, but it’s definitely nice when they can create such edgy content for widely-watched channels (like my production company’s new show, Kiss Me First, on Channel 4 – catch it on US Netflix soon!). Ratings systems are different, and the markets are different. Of course it would be when you’re in a country of ~65 million compared to ~330 million people.

  5. Don’t fret! US TV is still here: I panicked when I realized that I couldn’t finish off my faves The Good Place or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when I came here. But don’t be afraid. A lot of US content creators strike deals for a second window in the UK. Both of the above shows aired their new episodes weekly on Netflix, as do many other shows. You may even catch some on BBC or Channel 4. I’ve been watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story on BBC2 right with you. Okay, I’m behind. But I’m watching it, and I’m alive!

And there we have it, folks. It’s not a deeply comprehensive piece, but it’s something to start you off. And now, if you ever come to London on study abroad, you can impress your professor with all of this knowledge! You’re very welcome.

 

Life across the pond has been transformative. When you hear the words ‘Study Abroad’ don’t shove it off, instead embark on the experience.

 

1. The classes are extraordinary. Students are taught by spectacular instructors with a wealth of experience and credibility. Who ever thought 4-hour classes could be enjoyable?

+For my core journalism course students were granted the opportunity to visit the broadcast powerhouse for class.

 

2. The residential areas are phenomenal. To say the least, American posture and volume has undergone a transformation.

Oh, I live 15 minutes away from the royal family. #PrinceGeorge

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3. Tea time is the best time- happens everyday.

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For once you can enjoy life without constant Facebook usage or data consumption.

Lets be honest who really wants international charges.

 

4.  The theatre scene is surreal- you never know who you’ll run into. I purchased a ticket to see a production at Royal Court without prior knowledge of the cast.

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MET GARRY CARR #JackRoss FROM DOWNTON ABBEY!

5. Studying abroad offers a chance for students to immerse themselves in the culture of a foreign land, get lost, travel, eat yummy food, network, and create memorable moments that will last a lifetime. DO IT!

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Sad to leave London but excited to rejoin Terrier Nation!

 

Cheers,

Taylor

Follow me: @TaylorReports

Steph: Markets Galore

Since being abroad in London, I’ve come to find a bunch of differences between the US and the UK. For example, you should never tell someone that you like his or her pants if you want to avoid extreme embarrassment. Pants in the UK = underwear. Trousers = pants. Not saying that this comes from personal experience or anything…

One of the more fun, less embarrassing differences is that London is totally on their game when it comes to markets, and America should take note. Any given day of the week, especially Sunday, there are so many different markets in cool areas to explore. Here are a few you must check out if you ever make it across the pond!

Borough Market

Borough is probably one of my favorite places in all of London. Being as obsessed with food (and free samples) as I am, this place is heaven on earth. They have everything from the freshest produce, to fish, to cupcakes, to bread, to food stands, to mulled wine….My personal favorite is the Pie Minster food stand, where you can get any kind of traditional pie with mashed potatoes, mushy mint peas, and gravy on top that looks like this:

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Need I say more?

 Portobello Road

Portobello Road is an antiques market in the super cool area of Notting Hill. All the houses are colorful and you can get some really great leather goods if you don’t mind sifting through millions of piles. It’s always packed, but for good reason. There is always something fun to find.

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Brick Lane

While Brick Lane is mostly known for it’s multitude of delicious curry restaurants, the long street is also home to a flea market on Sundays! If you’re into vintage clothing, this is the market for you. There are tons of stands and shops to browse for authentic clothes from the 1950s, or just some old sweater from a Philadelphia Relay for Life for your hipster self (true story). A must is a stop at Brick Lane Beigel Bake (yes, its Bagels, but they spell it weird. Silly Brits!). I had one this morning with loads of cream cheese and it made me feel right at home

 

Cant believe I’ll be back in the States in exactly 20 days!! While I never ever want to leave England, I have to say that I am really looking forward to being back on Comm Ave. Until then, cheers!

Sara: Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad

I confess I have been a bit of one-track mind lately, and so I apologize for this gushing blog post in advance.  But, wherever you find yourself in your college career please do this one thing: make time to go abroad! I know it can be difficult to work in when there’s so many requirements to tackle but take it from someone who is overloading on credits for two semesters just to make it happen, its worth it.

The last six weeks I have found myself in London and I am completely in love.  So therefore, I present to you a totally buzz-feed style list of ten convincing reasons why you should go abroad (sorry for the lack of gifs illustrating exactly how you should feel).

1. Meeting New People-Not everyone from your program will be from BU necessarily and even if they are, chances are on a campus this big you’ve never even seen their face in a crowd before. There are loads of new people you might never have met otherwise. If you’re lucky enough they just might become your best friends.

2. Easy Travel– With inexpensive trains, planes and buses to take you to wherever your heart desires, it’s so easy to see other cities and countries while you’re abroad.

3. The Food– I personally believe the best way to get to know another culture is through your stomach, or maybe that’s just because I’m a foodie wannabe. But in all honestly, trying new foods has been one of my favorite parts of being abroad.

4. New Perspective– It’s easy to judge other cultures from afar but once you’re standing in the middle another country where you don’t speak their language, I guarantee any preconceived notions you might have had will be erased. And bonus, you’ll also probably gain a new love for your own home.

5. Personal Growth– It takes a lot of courage to put yourself in a completely unfamiliar environment for months but once you do it, you find yourself growing as a person in ways you never thought possible.

6. Getting a Break From Your Normal Routine– Because who wants to be on the same general schedule every day of their college career?

7. Unique Resume Boost– In some programs you get to intern while you’re abroad which is something not everyone can say they did and will definitely set your resume apart from other students in internship and job interviews.

8. The View–  From the top of anywhere, over any city- go on the London Eye, go to the top of the Duomo in Florence, climb up a hill to the castles in Lisbon and appreciate the view. No matter where you go, looking over an entire city is so captivating, its life changing.

9. TRAVEL- oh, I already mentioned this one? Well, I think it deserves to be mentioned again

10. Why not?– The best reason of them all. You’re young! What better time to see the world when college has already allowed you to perfect the balance of minimal sleep and maximum productivity.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about going abroad or need any help with the application!

Cheers,

Sara

Tyler: I Swear It Wasn’t Like This Before

When I got off the plane from London at Logan Airport two months ago, I gleefully welcomed the frigid weather. It was unbearable and exposure to the wind caused concerning pain to my face and hands, but it confirmed that I was home.

 

Don’t get me wrong — spending the fall semester studying abroad in England was the greatest thing I’ve ever done. And that was exactly the problem. I didn’t want to leave at all, but I’d accomplished my academic and research goals and completely run out of money. So, I had come to accept that it was time to get back to campus where I can focus more directly on working toward a career without being distracted by travel, a different social dynamic, and the whimsy of simply being elsewhere.

 

I take it back. I’d become accustomed to such a routine lifestyle of extremes in London. My time was spent in lengthy periods of either sitting quietly and nervously in a massive historical library or taking taxis, buses, trains, and planes to the new coolest place I’d ever been in my life. Classes ran once or twice a week. The weather was a comfortable, albeit often rainy, 50 degrees every single day. Plane tickets cost $40. I could drink legally!

 

Nothing feels right in Boston — the city in which I’ve lived practically all my life. I’m no longer on a cultural crash course disguised as a vacation. It’s not easy realizing that what I learn and accomplish in the next year very much decides how I spend the rest of my life. It’s not easy reverting to prudent financial habits. Fortunately, friends and family remain constant regardless of where I spend my time, and returning to those at home has certainly helped me realize what, or who, truly drives me to achieve my goals.

Kate: London vs. Boston

Hello again from London!

I hope everyone has been having an amazing semester back in Boston and I am looking forward to joining you all in just over a month!  For the past seven weeks, I have been completing the internship portion of my abroad programme and I am happy to report it has been a successful experience! I chose to intern with a small fashion PR firm in central London who work with a variety of clients. I’ve always been interested in fashion PR but I’ve never known if it was exactly what I wanted to do so I decided, why not give it a try in one of the fashion capitals of the world?!

The internship was definitely a learning experience and the best way to get immersed in the culture and work life of London.  Here are the four most valuable (and fun!) things I learned at my internship:

 

  1. Difference in the style of journalism. Each day, I scanned through the local daily papers like The Guardian, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Telegraph for fashion coverage and mentions of our clients. Here, everything is so much more sensational and almost reminds me of the National EnquirerThe Sun even features a nude photo on page three everyday! No daily paper in America would get away with that!
  2. Running PR events. During my time, I helped the team with three client events including our major fall press day.  A press day is basically when you invite all local journalists to your showroom to see you client’s new collections. It’s a really important day for the agency and I learned a ton preparing for and helping at the event.
  3. Sending out press samples. This aspect of my internship may have been favorite.  A couple times a day, journalists sent us stories they were working on so we could send them clothes from our clients that could be featured in their publication.  It was my job to pick out the clothes and accessories and send them to the journalist.  This helped me learn what types of items look best when photographed and the difference between still life shots and model shots.  It tapped into my shopaholic tendencies a bit and I loved it!
  4. The lingo. For the first week of my internship, I was so confused when I would come into work and people would ask if I was alright. Did I look sick? Tired? Sad? I couldn’t figure it out.  Nope, that is just a normal greeting like “what’s up.”  Other confusing terms? A jumper is a sweater. A gillet is a vest. Rocket is arugula. A biscuit is a cookie. Chips are French fries and crisps are chips. The bin is the trashcan. And don’t forget to say cheers before leaving for the day!

Now that the internship is over, I just have my last class and final! I can’t believe I only have two weeks left in this amazing city and I will be sad to leave but it will be good to be home with my family for Christmas.

Happy Holidays COM Family!

 

 

Tom: Take a Break from Boston… Go Abroad

Hello all! I am in the midst of writing this blog post while checking through my London Visa Application – so I figured this would be the ideal time to discuss my own “break” from Boston this upcoming spring. As I alluded to in an earlier blog post, I will be heading to London this upcoming spring with the BU Study Abroad Programme and will be taking part in the COM Internship Program.

After an incredibly exciting and fast paced semester of COM, Advertising and more and more theater, I knew I was ready to take a break from the Boston University Campus Scene. This is why I decided to apply for the London Programme.

I understand that there are a number of myths out there that may make you concerned about studying abroad. I’ve decided to take this blog post to combat those myths and again, encourage you to GO ABROAD!

Myth #1 – The Program is Too Expensive

Undoubtedly, studying and travelling abroad can get costly – especially when you have the opportunity to travel and experience all the sights around Europe. However, the great thing about the BU Abroad Program is that the program costs are not much different than a typical semester at BU. For me, all of my scholarship, grants and loans carried over to the London Program. I also managed to cut down the program costs by applying to be a Resident Assistant.

Myth #2 – I Won’t Be Able to Graduate On Time

Not true! This is Reason Number One Million why COM is the best. COM offers COM Internship Programs abroad in a number of locations (such as London, Paris, Madrid, Los Angeles, to name a few). While abroad, with this internship and some liberal arts classes – you can actually satisfy all of your requirements while travelling abroad. Plus, the internship is so worth it when looking for jobs after graduation.

Myth #3 – I Won’t Be Able to Handle the Culture Shock

Yes, there will be Culture Shock. I won’t lie and say there isn’t. But as someone who’s known many people who go abroad, the culture shock is actually the best part of studying abroad. While some people may be turned away by the idea of a new culture – use this experience as a way to broaden your horizons. The new things you’ll get to experience may pleasantly surprise you.

Long story short – go abroad! You won’t regret it. I’ll keep you updated next semester with all of my exciting London adventures, along with fellow COM Ambassadors – Dany, Julianna and Sarah!

Signing Out,

Tom

Kate: Three Tips to Picking Classes Abroad

I cannot believe I am finally in London! After a six month long countdown, I finally made it over The Pond and have been living the abroad life for the past 10 days. So far it has been everything I had hoped for and more and I am so excited to everything to come. In fact, I just booked my fall break to, wait for it… ITALY! Five days of eating pizza, drinking wine and sight seeing until I can’t walk anymore is just a mere four weeks away (I’ll be sure to catch all of you up on that in my next post)!

However, study abroad is not all about traveling the world, there are courses involved too. So here are my tips to getting the most out of your classroom experience:

Find the Program you will get the most out of. You don’t necessarily have to do the same program as your major. Do something that interests you or that you have always wanted to try because that is what your core class will be in and the field in which you will do your internship. For me, I live and breath PR so that decision was a no-brainer. However, I know a fellow COM student who is majoring in Journalism, however he chose to do the Pre-Law program because he has aspirations of attending law school when he graduates. The Study Abroad office offers hundreds of options (there are at least 15 just in London!) so you will definitely something that works for you.

2. Take one class that takes care of a requirement. Whether it be a liberal arts requirement or a class towards your minor, find something will check another class off your list. All your major specific classes must be taken at BU so don’t spend all your time taking electives here and then stress about getting all your requirements done in Boston. There are a lot of options for CAS courses and you will easily be able to fulfill at least one required course.

3. Take something fun! Again, as someone who dreams about PR in her sleep, I took a COM-related course for this one. Its called International Brand Management and I am literally jumping out of my pants excited. BUT, my best friend is taking a British Pop Culture class. Hello, Beatles! Also, every class in the London program has at least one field trip (and I am sure this applies to other locations too) so a fun class equals an interesting field trip!

The first word in Study Abroad is study so make sure to work hard in your classes and get good grades. But, have fun and learn a lot because most people will never have this experience again. I have already learned so much about British culture and daily life from my professors (who also happen to have fantastic accents). And if I have any other advice it is to STUDY ABROAD. Go. Do it. I’ve been here a week and I already never want to leave.

 

I’ll be sure to update y’all later in the semester (be sure to follow me on The Twitter @KateScott10) and I hope you are loving BU so far!

Cheers!

 

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!