1.1. Why Boston University?
In my search for a suitable university for a semester abroad, I used various university rankings as a selection aid. After a language course of several weeks in Canada and a stay of several months at boarding school in England, I really wanted to get to know the USA. According to the Princeton Review, the BU is one of the “Best Northeastern Colleges” and one of the “Best 373 Colleges”. In the QS World University Ranking 2008, the BU was among the top 50 universities worldwide. Even from the practical world, I have only received positive feedback on my decision to spend a semester at the BU. According to Abbreviation Finder, BU is the abbreviation of Boston University.
1.2. Application process
The application for the semester abroad at the BU was incredibly straightforward, simple and fast. At this point we would like to take this opportunity to thank MicroEDU again for their great support!
1.3. On-site support
All international students were looked after by Mrs. Neus Codina, who always sent us important information by email and was always available as a reliable contact person at all times.
2.1. Study effort
One often hears in Germany that school and university are much easier in the USA than here. BU was easier than my university in Germany (LMU Munich), but by no means a walk. At least not if you intend to get very good grades. There is always a lot of “reading material” for homework and depending on the course you have to give weekly lectures or submit essays. In any case, it is worth doing your homework regularly right from the start so that you are not under time pressure during the midterms preparation and learning for the final exams.
2.2. Learning atmosphere
The learning environment at the BU is significantly different than at most German universities. The classes are small and you can often quickly develop a personal relationship with the individual professors. Many are used and it is not uncommon to have a little personal chat before or after the lesson. The American way of working was unusual at first, but I think it is easy to get used to it. Whereas the requirements for scientific work in Germany are characterized by detailed research and error-free content, in America the focus is more on the interesting communication of a topic. For example, I was amazed when in a presentation it was not the content, but rather the gestures, posture, volume of speaking, in short: the way of presentation was decisive for the grading.
2.3. University books
Make sure to order the books in good time! It is no exception that shipping takes two weeks in the States. The books should not be bought in the BU bookshop, as buying them over the Internet can save a lot of money. I bought my books on www.half.com and spent just under $ 300 instead of $ 700. The books are also selling very well again via half.com. The university’s book-buy booths along Commonwealth Ave at the end of the semester offer ridiculously little for used books. There are international versions of many editions that can be purchased even more cheaply. However, I was told that caution should be exercised with these international versions, as pages may be missing or the book is printed on such poor paper,
2.4. Course selection
During my semester abroad at MET, I took the courses listed below. First of all, I would like to note that I am happy to send the complete course descriptions to anyone who is interested and will be happy to answer individual questions about the respective subjects. The fact that the internationality of the students was an enrichment not only applies to international management, but also to every course.
- International Management (Prof. Talay): I had a lot of fun with international management, especially because there were so many international students here that you learned about the different cultures personally from many and not only had to learn the material from books. The professor himself also comes from Turkey and has dealt with the handling in his home country in various situations.
- Introduction to American Management (Prof. Berman): This course is not very demanding and opinions in the class about the professor and the subject matter were very divided. Personally, I really enjoyed the lessons with Prof. Berman. A lot has been learned about the history of Boston and current problems have been discussed (e.g. building projects). We also went on some field trips, on which the stories in the classroom were practically explained to us.
- International Business Law (Prof. Greiman): One of the more demanding and learning-intensive courses, but all the more interesting. The professor is great and I felt like I was actually learning something.
- Project Management (Prof. Warburton): Project Management was also one of the more demanding courses, but it was still very interesting. You could get a taste of MS Project and learn useful things about project management.
- Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management (Prof. Holmes): An interesting course in itself. At first I didn’t get along with the professor because, in my opinion, he worked in a very unstructured manner, constantly deviating from the topic. In any case, Prof. Holmes knows an incredible amount; however, it was sometimes confused when he repeated formulas that were completely irrelevant for the course and were only supposed to answer the questions of individual students. You should work well right from the start, do your homework regularly and get into the habit of immediately following up on difficulties.
- Living in Boston
3.1. Boston and the surrounding area
Not only the university, but also the city of Boston has a very good reputation. Indeed, Boston is a great city with tons of cafes, bars, restaurants (be sure to walk down Newbury Street and have a cocktail at the Top of the Hub (bar on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Center!) And shopping. Opportunities (especially in the outlets a little outside the city you can get incredibly good bargains!) There is also a good cultural offer, for example in the form of the “Freedom Trail” and several museums. In addition, due to Boston’s location, trips to other great cities such as Salem, Montreal, Chicago, New York, etc. are easy to do. Since domestic flights are cheap, it is worthwhile to cover longer distances on extended weekends (there are sometimes tickets to San Francisco for $ 80 one-way). Nevertheless, it is best to book early, because prices go up significantly during Thanksgiving break and Christmas time. Cheap hotels and flight options can be found at www.orbitz.com, and cheap bus trips are offered by Megabus, among others.
There are basically two options for living at the BU in Boston during your studies: on campus or off campus. I had initially planned to take my own apartment or move into a shared apartment. Looking for an apartment from Germany is not that easy and since I was also in the middle of my exam phase, I decided to live on campus for the sake of simplicity. Was it the right decision in retrospect? I think so! All international students were quartered in Danielsen Hall. Many Americans also live there. The decor is not particularly modern, but functional and the rooms are all well laid out. My roommate and I had a walk-in closet and some friends of mine had an amazing view of the Charles River. Most of us internationals lived on campus and therefore in Danielsen Hall. That was of course great, because it gave you the opportunity to meet and visit a lot of friends in a very short time, and someone often came by. You could go to the dining halls and class together and, above all, go out and come back together in the evenings. While Boston is a fairly safe city, going home with a group later that night makes you feel safer. Since clubs and bars in Boston close at 2:00 a.m., small after-parties often take place in one of the rooms. to visit and someone often came by. You could go to the dining halls and class together and, above all, go out and come back together in the evenings. While Boston is a fairly safe city, going home with a group later that night makes you feel safer. Since clubs and bars in Boston close at 2:00 a.m., small after-parties often take place in one of the rooms. to visit and someone often came by. You could go to the dining halls and class together and, above all, go out and come back together in the evenings. While Boston is a fairly safe city, going home with a group later that night makes you feel safer. Since clubs and bars in Boston close at 2:00 a.m., small after-parties often take place in one of the rooms.
Since I had booked a meal plan, I ate most of my meals in one of the dining halls. I especially loved the breakfast. In Myles there is an egg counter where you can order “Eggs to Order”, ie you can get fried eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets, but also pancakes with various ingredients (blueberry, raspberry, chocolate chips,…). There is also fruit, bagels, toast with spreads, muffins, yoghurt, waffles and a huge selection of cornflakes. Lunch and dinner are also extensive, especially at Warren Towers. I definitely recommend booking a meal plan. Cooking yourself is nowhere near as cheap as it is in Germany and friends of mine who lived off campus have complained several times about the high food prices.
3.4. Public transport
At this point I would strongly advise against buying the completely overpriced semester ticket. The campus bus runs regularly and is free for all students. Most of the buildings are also easily accessible on foot. Alternatively, you could look around for a bike.
3.5. Health insurance Health
insurance through, for example, Hanse-Merkur is far cheaper than health insurance from the BU.
3.6. Bank card
You can open an account with one of the American banks in Boston. Personally, I found it easier to set up an account with Deutsche Kreditbank Berlin (DKB) before I left Germany. With the DKB credit card it is possible to withdraw money free of charge worldwide. After my return from the USA, the DKB account helped me to withdraw money easily and free of charge on the spot, even on shorter vacation trips.
- In summary
All in all, it was a great time at BU and unfortunately the months went by in a flash. I unreservedly recommend the BU to all those who not only want to use their semester abroad for extensive celebrations, but are also keen to get to know a great university and a wonderful city, who like to go shopping, are interested in culture and have fun traveling.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (please ask for contact details via MicroEDU).