Category Archives: Graduate Life

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Spotlight Abroad: Angela Milinazzo

By: Angela Milinazzo

Having been before, I was already enamored with London, its culture, and its people – both those who are proudly self-proclaimed Brits and those who, like me, have fortuitously found themselves welcomed into the diverse and dynamic city. When presented with the opportunity to return to London, I didn’t even give it a second thought.

Throw in the fact that I would be completing my master’s degree here and it was a done deal. A few weeks into the program and I have no doubt that this was the best decision for finishing my master’s education with Boston University.

“A few weeks into the program and I have no doubt that this was the best decision for finishing my master’s education with Boston University.”

Located just minutes away from Kensington Gardens, I live in the London borough of South Kensington with my fellow COMrades in BU’s Crofton building. I share a bedroom and on-suite bathroom with my roommate, Katie, and share a kitchen with six other COM students. We frequently congregate in the kitchen, where we, most obviously, share meals, but also share plans as we all are excited to explore both London and the other European cities close by.

Of course, we’re not just in London for the ample travel opportunities or the frequent adventures exploring London’s streets. A quick 15-minute walk takes us to Harrington Gardens, where I, along with the other 21 students attending the London program, go to class.

For the first half of the summer, I’m taking two classes, Global Marketing Communication and International Mass Media and Political Systems, which take place four hours per day Monday through Thursday.

After a weeklong summer break at the end of those courses, I start my internship with Purple PR, a fashion/beauty/lifestyle public relations agency, and work on a final project to help close out the master’s program. The second half of the summer will test not just our independence, but also our ability to adapt and integrate into London’s work culture. As we grow more confident and knowledgeable about both London and working/thinking from a global perspective, we will also be able to apply what we’ve learned through our final professional project. This gives us the opportunity to work with Tobe Berkovitz and Otto Lerbinger, two BU professors working with us here in London, to come up with a project that will effectively synthesize our work from previous semesters with our experience in London.

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Though the summer seems endless, I know that I, as well as my classmates, are very much aware that our time in London is fleeting and precious. Many of us already have trips booked for future weekends in places like Paris, Edinburgh, and Galway. Others are working through their lists of must-see spots around London, such as the National Galleries, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, and Westminster Abbey. We’re all trying to make the most not only out of our invaluable experiences inside the classroom, but outside of it as well – an exciting and apt way to end our academic careers at Boston University.

*Angela is a graduate student in the Public Relations program participating in BU’s London Study Abroad Program. For more information on the program, click here

A Floridian takes Boston

Yesterday morning I woke up to snow falling outside of my window. Coming from the Sunshine State, this was one of the moments I had been anxiously awaiting ever since the leaves started changing in October. With the snow came a realization: I’ve been living in Boston for four months. Where did the time go?

As any COM student by now knows, time flies by when you’re having fun. It may be hard to imagine that there is much time between going to class, reading for class, and sleeping, to do anything else for a grad student. But COM has helped me keep a balance between school work and a social life.

So far in this semester, COM has hosted six events for grad students. From dancing at the ritzy Hyatt in Cambridge, to cheering on the Red Sox, and exploring the Freedom Trail, COM has made sure to plan fun events that have helped me take a break from the books, get to know this amazing city, and make new friends.

COM has also helped me get more involved on campus, too.

As a teaching assistant for COM 101, I’ve been given the opportunity to help BU’s undergrads on their journey toward an exciting degree at COM. This class is the introductory course to a degree in communication at BU and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my semester working with the students in my discussion section.

Though this responsibility comes with a lot of hard work with planning discussion sections and grading assignments, it has also come with instantaneous friends and fun among the group of 23 teaching assistants.

Coming to Boston without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but COM has made the transition fun and exciting for this Floridian.

COM in a Day #myCOM

This past Friday, COM took part in something new: COM in a Day. It was a chance for everyone at the College of Communication to show what happens over the course of a day. From 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. we asked COM students to use Twitter, Instagram, Vine and whatever else they could think of to show pictures, videos, etc. of what they were doing.

The response we got was amazing.

Students were told to use #myCOM so that we could keep track of all the posts. On Twitter alone, there were almost 1,500 uses of #myCOM over the 24 hour span. It was trending in Boston along with “Red Sox” and “World Series”, which are kind of popular at the moment.

What was also great about it was that we were able to document it. Using our Storify page, we were able to show what people were doing as it happened. We were also able to create a page dedicated solely to COM in a Day, which we can use as yet another tool to help show those interested in COM just what we are all about.

But my favorite part about it was the fact that so many people involved with COM (undergrads, grad students, faculty, staff, alumni) participated. It was awesome to see us issue a challenge to the student body and to have them respond the way they did. Of course, competitions with prizes and potential extra credit helped to play a role in getting the word out, but once the entries started coming in, they kept flowing. So thanks to everyone who participated, and if you would like to get a sense of what COM has to offer in just one day, check it out.

My Summer Internship

This time last year I was still settling into Boston. Classes started in September and I finally felt like I was getting into the groove of grad school. And had you asked me what I was planning to do over the summer – my answer undoubtedly would’ve been BU’s London program.

But that all changed, thanks in large part to one of my professors. As the spring semester came upon us, I applied for both the London program as well as a variety of public relations agency internships for backup. When I received an interview opportunity for Weber Shandwick, one of the leading global PR agencies, I found myself between two very appealing choices. Do I go to London, an experience of a lifetime, where I’m guaranteed an internship? Or – do I risk it for a potential paid agency internship that could likely set me up with the connections I’d need for a job? As appealing as London was (and still is), I knew New York was the smarter option. Agency experience is key in working in public relations – and I had yet to have the chance to work in one.

After I took the trip back home to New York and interviewed, I contacted one of my professors, knowing he had a lot of connections in the field. He reached out to the agency and put my name out there. I was hopeful. So, I waited and waited and waited…and waited (so forth) to hear back from Weber. Finally nearly a month and a half later I heard back. I got the internship! My professor really put himself out there to push for me to get the spot, so if there’s one thing I can tell you about BU it is: take advantage of the faculty and resources you have here. We all know communication often involves not only what you know but also who you know. Career services and your own professors can be a huge help in that regard.

Do I regret not going to London? Yes and no. Yes because, well…it’s London – that chance doesn’t come around too often. No, because a) I’ve been there before and b) I was able to meet and interact with vice presidents, account executives and group supervisors at the agency. I gained that agency experience that I knew I needed, I worked on a launch campaign and I was able to set myself up as a strong candidate for a future job. My summer in New York was a success and as I continue to make connections, I know I will put up a good fight in the job search after graduating. And who knows – maybe I’ll be lucky enough to live and work in London in the future.

Summer in Boston

This is my first summer as a Bostonian, and the final season in my first year here in town. I moved here last fall, I braved the winter and its blizzards, and I sneezed my way through the spring with the help of lots of Claritin. But now it’s summertime, and Boston is a very different place this time of year.

A big part of the difference is that Boston is chock-full of students for 9 months of the year. With over 30 colleges, there are 150,000 students living in the city.  This is what makes living here so much fun during the school year. With so many people of similar age, there is something fun going on 7 nights a week.  But when school lets out at the end of May, the mass exodus turns Beantown into a much quieter city…which is great!! Without actually going anywhere, I feel like I am getting a summer vacation right here at home. There are no lines to get into bars, I never have to wait for a table at restaurants, and the train is so empty I feel like I paid for a first class ticket. What is really great about the smaller crowds, is now that classes are out I actually have time to enjoy all the fun sites the city has to offer. We have been to Charlestown to see Bunker Hill. We have gone to Fenway to see the Red Sox. We went to Maine for a weekend where we saw a moose.  There is so much to see and do in the city and the surrounding area that it’s great to have the summer to explore.

There is work to be done, however. That’s what we are here for after all.

Plenty of BU COM Grad students stay here in the summer for internships. My buddy/classmate Greg works for the Red Sox television broadcast. My friend, and PR student, Emily is interning with a local PR firm. My friend, and Journalism student, Loren is working for a travel blog as their social media guru. I was lucky enough to convince the general manager of the campus radio station, WTBU, to let me do a daily sports radio show for the summer. Two of my fellow broadcast journalism classmates and I do a show Monday-Friday from 3-5 PM. The experience has been invaluable, as I don’t know many students who are getting the opportunity to do a live radio show every day. Between the hours of practice, the interviews we are doing, and the technical skills we are learning, we are getting a crash course in how to do live radio.

I have really enjoyed my first year in Boston, and each season has shown me something that I’ve never seen before. Fall was filled with new experiences, since I was just moving here and starting classes. Winter taught me what it really means to be cold, and that college hockey is amazing. In the spring the Red Sox got off to a hot start and showed me what it’s like to live in a great baseball city. And now it’s summer, and while the heat is giving me a true appreciation for air conditioning, Boston is proving to be a great place to live year round.