I would also like to tell you something about my semester abroad at Boston University. Due to the plan of my studies, I had to go to Boston in the spring semester, which is from mid-January to early May. According to AbbreviationFinder.org, BU is the abbreviation of Boston University.
The application was relatively late this year compared to other universities in the US. I only got my approval a long time after my fellow students, almost all of whom went to California, because the application deadline dragged on into August for a long time. I don’t think I got my approval until October. Of course, you also need the TOEFL test in order to be able to apply successfully. The requirements at the BU are relatively high, so if you are not so confident in English, you should perhaps prepare a little more for this test. The BU also expects a relatively high grade point average, on the website it says 85% or higher. However, I do not know to what extent this will be followed up.
Getting the visa was relatively unproblematic after successfully applying and receiving the necessary documents, you just have to take the trip to Frankfurt (in my case) and after a few days it will be sent home.
I have to admit that I booked the flight before I received my confirmation, i.e. in September for January and directly with a return flight at the end of May. That’s why I got away cheaply with € 550 from Düsseldorf to Boston and back with Lufthansa. I rebooked the return flight afterwards, which then costs about 120 € extra.
This is probably the most difficult, expensive and annoying part of the whole semester abroad. There is basically the option of living in the dorms, but since I went to Boston with my boyfriend who did an internship there, this was out of the question. In addition, it is far too expensive, for the price you can rather look for your own apartment and then not have to move out for a week during spring break and pay the hotel in Boston again. So we looked for a long time and couldn’t believe how expensive rents are in Boston. In the end, we found a studio through the Craigslist portal. We had about 35 square meters, unfortunately the apartment was in the basement, had only one window and the kitchen was very improvised. There was also only limited privacy, because the landlord still used a room next door and the door there was so thin that you could hear everything. The only good thing about this property was the price, which was around € 1000 per month. This was very cheap for the area (Brookline, right next to the train station, 20 minutes to the university), but you had to make compromises.
Mobility in Boston:
Through the internship of my friend, who was dependent on the car, we had the luxury of a car (long-term rental with Sixt, relatively cheap if you register with USAA, as it eliminates the Young Drivers Fee, membership is free). This enabled us to go on short term weekend trips (Washington DC, New York City, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Long Island). It is also possible to drive your own car in the city, but it is not as relaxed as in some of the smaller German cities. I always took the train to university, for which I ordered a discounted monthly ticket from the university in December, which is really worthwhile if you use the train at least 4 times a week. The train that runs at the BU is the oldest line of the railways in Boston and accordingly not up to date and not particularly reliable, but ok for a limited time. Otherwise you can discover a lot in Boston on foot, as everything is relatively close together for a big city and you can see a lot more.
You have to be aware that you only have classes with international students (in my case a lot of Mexicans, Germans and French), sometimes there are a few American students who work during the day and study in the evening. But the university really tries very hard, at the introductory event we were covered with BU fan articles (drinking bottle, sports bag, T-shirt, luggage tag) and many activities were offered during the semester (BU ice hockey game, bowling party, Ice skating in the park, Red Sox game…), wherever you were always well catered for. The university’s large gym, which can be used free of charge for students, should also be mentioned positively. Everything was super modern and well equipped, there were also two pools. Although the campus is a city campus, but still very cozy, as you can see almost only students. The classrooms were also all modern and spacious with lots of light except for statistics on what was being taught in the basement. In general, however, as I have noticed, the BU has a good reputation and is probably also considered to be a more difficult university, but what I did not necessarily find that way now, probably still looks very good on the résumé. In the first few weeks you also have to buy books for most subjects, here I would always recommend asking the professor whether you can also buy the older version, usually the differences are minimal and you can save around $ 180. (Otherwise register as a student at amazon.com and rent the new version for less and then send it back after the semester,
- Applied Statistics: Unfortunately I had to take this course because I needed credits in this area for my Masters. However, I have to say, even if this is usually not one of my favorite subjects, that I really understood a lot here, also because we had to do homework every week, which was then included in the final grade. Then there were two midterm exams and a final exam. Overall, I think it is feasible if at least one had already taken statistics 1 in Germany. My professor was an Indian, so you always had to make a relatively effort to understand everything. But he was really good at explaining and often answered long questions after class if you had problems with homework.
- Introduction to American Management: In my opinion, this course is pointless, but it could be that it was up to the professor. I’ve never felt like I wasted 3 hours a week so pointlessly. The professor didn’t try too hard and said the same things every other week. Overall, only recommendable if you just want to get a good grade and get bored for 3 hours every week.
- International Marketing: This course was also relatively easy, the entire material was covered from the book and the exams were also taken online at home and only received questions from the book (documents and book were allowed). However, I found the case studies interesting and learned a little, for example how Americans see Europe.
- International Business Management: By far the best course, the professor put a lot of effort into it and was totally committed. In this class you didn’t even notice that you were sitting at the university from 6-9 evenings. A large part of the grade here was teamwork, which probably would have worked even better with the right team. Current topics from American news were also dealt with here, which can be quite interesting.
Overall, I would say that the university was easier than in Germany, but more effort due to all the homework, essays and compulsory attendance. Frequent absence was also not necessarily recommended, since special attention was paid to it here.
As a small summary, I would like to say that overall I enjoyed it. It was just a shame, which is apparently the case more often in the spring semester, the weather wasn’t exactly great in the first few months and you couldn’t do that much because of all the snow and cold. If you can choose, you should probably go in the winter semester.
Boston itself as a city is great, one of the prettiest cities on the east coast in my opinion, and really great for doing things. You can also travel a lot from there, which is really great for exploring the area (or Canada). The tuition fees and general costs in Boston are of course very high and it hurts to pay so much money for rent and food, but you are only a student once and after that you may not just live abroad for a few months.
I wish everyone the best of luck with their planning and then hopefully a lot of fun in Boston! It’s really worth it and opens your eyes in one or the other situation.