Decision-making and application process:
At the beginning of 2010, after gathering a lot of information about different universities in Great Britain and the USA, I decided to spend my semester abroad in autumn 2010 at Boston University. The main reasons were the university’s location in one of the most beautiful cities in New England, the easy accessibility of other large cities, especially New York and Washington, of course, good experiences from other students and an appealing course program at the BU. According to AbbreviationFinder, BU is the abbreviation of Boston University.
To put my plans into action, I soon got in touch with MicroEDU to receive and fill out the extensive application documents. This turned out to be extremely time-consuming, especially because you also had to obtain very extensive medical evidence and possibly catch up on vaccinations. The financial proof, in which you had to show an account with the required amount for tuition fees and accommodation, was an important aspect of the admission.
The good thing about this rather time-consuming process was that you could always email questions to the appropriate contact person at MicroEDU (in my case Aline Meyer) and always get a helpful answer very quickly. In the end, every hurdle could be overcome without any problems and nothing stood in the way of my studies in the USA!
In mid-August 2010, I traveled to Boston with a friend who also opted for the same study program.
We chose this rather early point in time because we had decided to live off-campus and therefore had to look for an apartment before the start of the semester at the beginning of September. It was impossible to find an apartment from Germany, but we immediately contacted an agency that was recommended to us and found two nice rooms in a five-person shared apartment within 2 days. Our roommates also came to Boston for their semester abroad, but since they were all native speakers, living together was very helpful for our English skills.
In retrospect, I am very happy that I did not take advantage of the on-campus housing with meal plan. On the one hand, I made this decision for financial reasons, because then, in addition to the tuition fees of about $ 7,000, I would have had to pay an additional $ 7,000 to the BU at the same time. A room in a shared apartment in Boston
costs between $ 700 and $ 900 a month, which is also a lot, but with purchases for food and drink it is still below the cost of the complete BU package.
The BU’s dining hall wasn’t bad, but the meal was repeated very soon and many who used the meal plan weren’t very happy about this decision after a while.
We also had the advantage that everyone had their own room in the flat, whereas the on-campus residents shared a room with two or three people.
Nevertheless, I would like to mention one major advantage of on-campus living: the contact with other international students.
So they found each other very quickly, of course, we went out to eat together, did something during the day and went to bars together in the evening. For me it was a bit more difficult to get in touch at the beginning, but after a few weeks they also knew each other well and there was more and more mixed up between on-campus and off-campus residents!
Unfortunately, the introductory week in our year was quite disappointing, as there were almost no special events for the students of the “Abroad at BU” program, so that you only got to know most of your fellow students in the courses. The reason for this was probably planning difficulties in advance and since we all complained, things should go better for the next fall semester.
When the right course of study began, the exciting question was whether you had chosen the right courses for yourself in advance, as you also had the opportunity to swap courses or completely deselect courses in the first few weeks.
I have chosen 5 courses, which other students found a lot, but personally I am very happy because the workload still left me enough free time and I now hope that maybe all courses at my university in Germany will be credited to me allow.
Overall, the course was very different than in Germany. Most courses start in the evening at 6:00 p.m., as our program also includes American workers who of course only have time to study in the evenings. We were mostly groups of around 30 students, which was reminiscent of studying at private universities of applied sciences.
Another big difference was that the final grade was made up of several partial grades. Most of the chores from 5 to 15, presentations, oral participation as well as midterm and final exams were frequent components of the final grade.
What may sound like a lot more work to some, I actually found much more relaxed than in Germany, since in most cases it was easy to get good grades for written work and in the end the pressure and learning effort before the final was much less.
In leisure time, both Boston itself and potential travel destinations had a lot to offer. Boston is a beautiful city that has its highlights in every season. The club and bar offer is also very large and varied, but all locations were closed at 2:00 am, which unfortunately often meant that very funny evenings often ended much too early and I was not so aware of this rule in advance.
You can travel to New York really well, for which there are super cheap bus offers. I also flew to Washington, drove a large part of the New England coast in a rental car, and admired the Indian Summer over a weekend in the White Mountains.
Despite the rather complex application process and the high costs for studying and accommodation, I would always spend my semester abroad in Boston. Especially for me as a newcomer to America, everything was very exciting and the location of Boston was just perfect. In addition, the entire stay was very varied, you constantly met new people, went on trips or took advantage of the extensive range of leisure activities in Boston.
I hope that this experience report can help many of you with the decision for the location and the university for your semester abroad and that you will remember this time as positively as I did.