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.

 

Grace: How to Make the Most of Your Abroad Experience: Tips and Tricks from a Travel Enthusiast

The study abroad opportunities offered at Boston University attract many students to study here, and those within the College of Communication are no different. While COM students can go on most programs available through the university, there are four COM-specific programs in London, Dublin, Sydney, Washington D.C., and Lost Angeles. These are internship programs in which students complete three courses and an internship in their field for academic credit.

I am a dual-degree student studying advertising and international relations, and I chose to study in the London internship program. I’m currently interning in digital marketing at Brevia Consulting, a public affairs agency. When you apply, make sure to research and find out what program is best for your interests and career goals.

As I reach the beginning of the end of my incredible abroad experience, here are my key insights and recommendations:

  1. Network at your internship placement – don’t be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you work hard. You never know what a connection could lead to later on.

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2. Travel on the weekends – if you do leave the US, take advantage of this time to visit neighbouring countries you may never be able to return to.

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3. Spend ample time exploring your home city – this is a unique opportunity to become a local in a foreign place.

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4. Try the local cuisine – there’s no better way to experience a new culture than to sample its food. Fish and chips, mate!

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5. Experience nightlife (if of age) – try an electronic club in Berlin or an underground arts festival in London for a truly unforgettable experience.

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6. Befriend locals – they will show you the ins and outs of the city and help you avoid the super touristy stuff.

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7. Call back home occasionally – don’t forget that your Mom misses you!

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Trust me – you will fall in love with your abroad experience and never want to return. Live your best life while you can, make some memories, and earn credits at the same time. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

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.

Angeli: Sing to me, Sydney!

I’ll spare you the cliché colloquial greeting used by ever-the abroad student, and just start off this post by channeling one of my childhood icons with an ole GOOOOOOOD MORNING, BOSTOOONNNN…ston, ston, ston…

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It is I, CA Angeli, reporting live from the land of Aus, with my signature curly locks a little frizzier and sun-soaked Cuban skin a whole lot tanner to prove it. As I write this, I’m celebrating my one-month anniversary with my current continent of residence, and I frankly cannot believe it. Studying abroad has been a dream of mine since I was in high school, so the fact that it has manifested in Australia of all places feels just too good to be. Stay tuned for the first morning that I wake up in Sydney and it’s not surreal!
Until then, I’ll just keep living out my Lizzie McGuire Movie fantasy. I haven’t quite been mistaken for an international pop star or, to my greater disappointment, been gifted an absurdly large wheel of cheese, but I do find myself deeply relating to Lizzie’s awe, bewilderment, and (occasional) public embarrassment. After all, being in a whole new country is a challenging adjustment for even the best of Disney channel characters. Due to a shared language and cultural similarities, I’m sure that many of you are skeptical as to how much that principle might apply to living in Australia. I thought the same before getting here. My 28 days down under, however, have proven my formerly naive self wrong time and time again.
Here are 7 instances and counting that Australia’s tested my largely Outback Steakhouse-backed knowledge…and I failed.
1) That first time I opened my apartment’s powder room door.
Picture a toilet with a sink coming out of it. The water that comes out of the faucet is used next time you flush. Pretty eco-genius but not the easiest hygienic concept to get used to.
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2) That time I tried to drive my own Uber.
I had been warned before my arrival that, like in the UK, driving is done on the opposite side of the road here. No one informed me that steering wheels are also on the opposite side from what I’m used to. What’s Aussie for awkward?
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3) That time I ordered an iced coffee and got a milkshake.
For whatever reason, Australians have decided that iced coffee does not obviously entail coffee chilled with ice. They have instead deemed it code for coffee chilled with ice cream. I’m not saying this is the worst mistake I’ve ever made, but my doctor would sadly not be pleased with this new breakfast routine.
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4) That time I tried to use public transportation, but no one knew where I was going.
Though incredibly convenient when understood, the train and bus system in city is vastly different from that of the MBTA and thus takes some getting used to. Possibly the hardest part is knowing how to pronounce station names. Let’s just say no one will be able to help you get to “Circular Quay,” but someone will happily give you directions to Circular Quay (pronounced “Key.”)
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5) That (very bittersweet) time I saw a koala and couldn’t hold it.
So it seems that Google Images is a liar. To my continuous dismay, carrying koalas is not a casual pastime over here and not every zoo will let you do it. Due to (very important) conservation efforts, it is apparently pretty rare to get this photo.
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6) That time I thought I was being generous to a cashier.
Though also called dollars, the different kinds of Australian currency are a bit different (and a lot prettier) than ours. For example, there are $1 and $2 coins. There is not, however, an equivalent to the US penny. Paying $30.55 for $30.54-worth of groceries and telling the clerk to “keep the change” will thus get you nothing but a laugh back.
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7) That time a local was speaking English, yet I had no idea what he/she was saying.
I’ll be honest, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. Aussies have the tendency of speaking really fast, shortening their words, and using a lot of slang. Top all of that off with their often thick accents. Now try to guess what “arvo” or “Macca’s” might mean.
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So if it isn’t obvious by now, studying abroad entails a daily pop quiz of some sort. I might still be getting the hang of it, but trust me when I tell you, the last thing I’m doing is complaining.
AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE!

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

Jason: Madrid Retrospective

Yesterday, December 5th 2012, I officially finished my classes and my internship here in Madrid and I have 8 days left until I return to the states.

As I’m sure you will here from every person who has studied abroad this has been by far the best experience I have had in my life. I have learned so much at my internship; not only technical skills but also many aspects of the cinema industry in Spain, the United States, and around the world. All of the three classes I took here (Spain and the European Union, The History of Spain through documentaries, and Advance Spanish Language) are all on my list of favorite classes. These professors are some of the best in their field and I have never learned so much in a class before.

Madrid and the entire country–the food, the people, the culture,–are incredible. Above all, the opportunity to live with a family (There is no question I had the best family of the entire program) hanging out with my host brother and his friends, and watching my Spanish improve every day… it just could not have been better.

I’m extremely exited to get back to the states though to see my friends, family, and SNOW! (I’m going through skiing withdrawal) And I’m very excited for my classes next semester! I’ll be taking my first creative television producing, understanding of film, production 2, and advance french language (yup that’s 2 foreign languages for this kid)

Anyway, good luck with all of your exams, papers, etc., happy holidays, and go abroad!!

If you have any questions about the Madrid program, going abroad, etc. please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!!!

 

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

Jason: Madrid!

¡Hola! In case you haven´t been following COMlife, Kate and I are both abroad this semester so this blog is coming all the way from Madrid en España!

Normally my blogs are more or less stream of consciousness but I´ll try to organize this one a bit because I have a lot to say. Also sorry if my English sounds funny but I´m at my internship now and it´s sometimes hard to switch between 3 languages (English, Spanish, and French- because my supervisor is French so I speak with her in French from time to time)

So today marks my 13th day in Madrid- although I have to be honest, for both my friends and me, it feels like we´ve been here for much longer than that; all for the better of course. It´s crazy thinking about how much my Spanish has improved in barely two weeks; to the effect that I can understand almost everything. And although I don´t speak perfectly, I´ve got the confidence to try now and thats 50%!

I have three classes and one internship. My classes are Spain and the EU, Advance Spanish Language, and a documentary class. All of my professors are beyond incredible and are so passionate about what they teach. Of course my favorite class is the documentary class because it´s a mix of European/ Spanish history and sociology with technical documentary through out.

My internship is with Lopez- Li Films, located only one block away from the Instituto Internacinal where we take classes. It´s a documentary company of about 8 people and just happens to be one of the most well respected documentary production houses in Spain. I´ve been working here less than 10 days and I´ve already been working with Photoshop and After Effects on real projects for the company. Yesterday I got to help out with a set of interviews for a new documentary that the company is making about professional story tellers- actors who recount fables that have been passed down through out the generations. We heard from someone from Galacia, el Pais Basco, and Madrid- three places in Spain that speak very different languages. My official title was auxiliary camera man (I think.)

But yeah, everything has been going extremely well so far! I´ll post some photos from the interview below. If you guys have any questions about my experience so far feel free to send me an e-mail or a message on Facebook!

¨Ta logo!