If you asked me what I liked best about my time in Boston, I would say: “Everything!”. In retrospect, I can’t remember anything that I didn’t like or that didn’t help me personally.
But one after another. Paperwork for the application, visa etc.? Really no major effort thanks to the professional and friendly help from the MicroEDU team. Book a flight? Preferably as soon as you have the acceptance from the university! I can’t remember ever hearing from US travelers that there were visa problems.
Looking for accommodation? Perhaps the only somewhat frustrating aspect of the semester abroad and probably more in Boston than anywhere else. This is because Boston, with over 40 colleges and universities, accounts for about 50% of the total student population in Boston. You should expect that most of the flats, shared flats, apartments and rooms are already occupied when you arrive. Also make sure that the photos you see of accommodations on the Internet are in the rarest of cases the actual rooms that the realtors will then show you. In addition, they often require you to sign a 12-month rental agreement and usually collect a hefty commission. Some landlords also generally do not rent to undergraduate students. Still don’t let it get you down
Before the day-to-day work at the university begins, you will be required to take part in an Orientation Week, which, however, did not necessarily appeal to me personally. At the age of 29 it is rather strange to be shown three times within this week by a drama performed by students how dangerous alcohol is and how quickly it can lead to unwanted pregnancies.
The classes themselves start at the beginning of September, and I’ll put it this way, the level of most of the courses is low. And by low I don’t mean that you have nothing to do (you will have to give several presentations and do other homework such as writing papers), but the academic level is well below the German level. I have to say that I only took three courses and therefore my share of free time to university tasks was around 80:20. With a little effort and motivation, it is easily possible to get a GPA of 3.5 (I achieved 3.7 with a maximum of a quarter of the effort at my home university) or higher. In addition, Boston University has a pretty good international reputation;
Brief description of my courses (two of them in the evening, one at noon):
Business in a changing Society with Steve Leybourne – Quite a relaxed course, but interesting in terms of topics. If you are interested in topics such as sustainability or corporate social responsibility, I can recommend the course. Steve is pretty easy going, but his lectures sometimes turn into never-ending monologues. The grade consists of participation in class and attendance, a short weekly group presentation, individual paper, your own presentation and an exam at the end of the course of medium difficulty (multiple choice, true / false and essay questions)
International Marketing at Donna Slattery – Great course that doesn’t teach you too much if you’ve already had one or the other marketing course at home. The focus is on behaviors in different cultures around the world and their impact on business processes and marketing in particular. Donna is an absolutely nice and motivated lecturer. Composition of the grade from participation and attendance, individual paper, group presentation and two exams of low difficulty (multiple choice and true / false)
Advertising with Ron Harding – Interesting course with a fairly experienced lecturer. Advertising was the only course that I hadn’t come into contact with before, and was therefore able to teach me a few new things. Most of the lessons, however, consist of copying things from the blackboard most of the time. The grade consists of attendance, a group project with paper and presentation and an exam of extremely low difficulty.
- Check topschoolsintheusa for more about Boston University Rankings.
Fun in Boston, and there’s a lot of it:
Boston is primarily a student city. And that’s why it’s easy to keep finding new places, bars and clubs where you can spend your time meaningfully. Two things about this: If you are not 21, you have to be prepared not to be admitted into many of these places. Others allow admission, but then check that you are not getting anything alcoholic when you order the drinks. Second, yes, Boston is expensive! Depending on where you go out, sometimes very expensive! Evenings when you leave 50 to 100 dollars or even more in a bar or several are not uncommon. Even though every bar and club closes at 2 a.m., without exception. But don’t let that put you off, because there are plenty of other things too,
Do not fail to take the various sporting events with you. Boston, with its sometimes more, sometimes less successful teams, is a Mecca for sports fans. And even if you are not, a visit to the legendary Fenway Park, for example, where the Red Sox play (and won the World Series in baseball last year) is incomparable. Tip: Buy a hot dog in front of the stadium and take it with you, it’s tastier, bigger and cheaper!
Short digression on the weather: Even if often unpredictable, the weather during my semester was perfect. The rather hot summer dragged on forever, with stays at the beach until October, and the winter was freezing cold and mostly sunny. In addition, I was lucky enough to be able to see Boston completely covered in snow in mid-December, and still managed to fly home in time for Christmas. The rainy days in the four months can be counted on a maximum of two hands. This is of course not a guarantee, but it will still be better than in most regions of Germany.
What else can you do? A lot! Besides all the partying and eating, a little culture can’t hurt. With the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Gardner Museum, Boston has two world-class institutions that can be visited free of charge as a student at Boston University. The latter in particular is more than worth a visit. In addition, the Boston Common, a huge and beautiful park in the middle of the city center, invites you to relax, learn, do sports, etc. Beacon Hill and Back Bay are probably the prettiest parts of town I’ve ever seen, and Cambridge, with the beautiful Harvard University campus, is less than 10 minutes away by tube. The university itself provides a first-class equipped fitness studio,
And when you’ve had enough of Boston, buy a bus ticket for around $ 20 to $ 30 there and back (sometimes even cheaper, with a bit of luck for $ 1-5) to New York and spend a long weekend there. In addition to New York (twice), Cape Cod (absolutely worthwhile), Vermont (beautiful in autumn) and Montreal in Canada, I was even in San Francisco for half a week at the end of November. Riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge was probably one of the best moments of my life.
As you can see, it never gets boring, I promise.
I can understand that many of you who consider spending a semester in the US think of the cities of California first and dream of four months of beach and surfing, but I guarantee Boston in no way is a worse one Choice is. My time in Boston was more than varied, I met tons of interesting and nice people, ate even more tons of fantastic food and simply had the best experiences that I would never have dared to dream of before.
I would be happy if one or the other of you had the same experience. If you have any questions or need tips, feel free to write to me.
- Unfortunately, you have to get your semester ticket for public transport before the beginning of the semester. The deadline is already in August, so it is better to contact the university early on
- Get yourself a credit card that you can use to pay abroad for free. In the US, pretty much everything, everywhere, is paid for by credit card rather than cash
- When you go out, don’t take your ID card with you, but your passport. In many places, German ID cards are not accepted
- Go to the sporting events at the beginning of the seasons. In the playoffs, the tickets sometimes become unaffordable or are no longer available
- You have the best chance of finding affordable accommodation in Allston and Brighton to the west of Boston