Wenjing - Northeastern University

B Engineering
Semester 2, 2018
This is a big big world.

Academic experience

In Northeastern University, I had three equivalent courses in mechanical engineering, which were ME4508(equivalent to MECH3300), ME3455(equivalent to MECH2210) and MATH2341(equivalent to MATH2000). As some courses in engineering were only available in one semester a year, I went through a hard time making my study plan, as it should be approved by academic adviser. Meanwhile matching courses needs time and patience. I didn't enroll in third course successfully until several days before my arrival in Boston(It was full). As an exchange student, I didn't enroll in my courses (used the class sign-on system) by myself, instead I filled out a course register form. It was mainly dealt by an exchange officer in NEU who is responsible for the registration and communication of students and apartments. 

There were no lecture recordings and tutorial sessions in my classes in NEU, so taking notes was important. But professors and teaching assistants were pretty approachable, and can be met during office hours or by appointment. The academic system uses blackboard as we do, IT support is just in the library, I was able to get used to it smoothly.

Personal experience

My time in exchange was full of fun. I got along well with my roommate and met a few great friends, we had a good time living together, hanging out and taking care of each other. My roommate was like my sister as we had similar favor in food, hobby and personality. What a fortune! I went to Salem, which is famously known for the witch trail, by am american-style yellow school bus (classic one seen in movies!). I also went to New York city, which was a 5 hours bus ride from Boston, Crazy Black Friday at woodbury outlets, macy's parade, cape cod as a day trip,kayaking in Charles river, sunset cruise at Boston harbor, watching a Boston Red Sox baseball game, Providence where Brown University is located, white mountain(maple leaves!soooo beautiful in autumn) and apple picking in honey pot hill. Also I explored many amazing museums such as Peabody Essex Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, museum of sex and the metropolitan museum of art. I had the best Italian food ever in Jacomos, I love the chip in Shake Shack. In addition, Boston has a strong academic atmosphere as MIT, Harvard university and Berklee college of music are located there. Look at this long list! But there were still many places I missed.

I had been a student/traveler in Boston. ;)

Accommodation

I lived in an on-campus accommodation, but the dorm was a 40 mins metro ride away from the uni. Dishwasher, stove, exhauster, kitchen waster processor, two bunk beds, two study desks and toilet were in the room. And a printer at the aisle. Two supermarkets and many restaurants were near to the dorm. The metro station is just right outside the dorm. Life is pretty convenient here.

Costs

Good thing is that a pass card on public transportaion was given. Thanks to that, I could explore Boston without transportation fee, otherwise this would be expensive. In the USA, 15% tip is normally considered as courtesy. The cost for on-campus accomodation is about 5000 american dollars, depending on your life style and travels you intend to do, I would say 7000-9000 american dollars is a proper budget.

Challenge

I experienced racism while I was in New York. Well, it happens. A guy in the street walked towards me with slant eyes and disgraceful words. I was pretty shocked and I felt sad about him, but I forgave his ignorance.

Professional Development

Since I knew my time in Boston was limited as I only had one semester, I valued every second of it. You know, I had to travel and study, haha. I developed my time management skill. By meeting exchange students from different counties, I became more culturally intelligent.  
Because the time difference with my home country is 12 hours, I was usually awake while they were sleeping. I realized how important family means to me.

Highlight

Travel! There were good neighbor areas are suitable for a day trip. Student card gets you concession for entry and transportation.
Food! 
Outlets!
Plus, Boston is a gorgeous historical place!

Top tips

Please make sure that you are covered by proper insurance, otherwise it could be super expensive. Even a blood test could be hundreds of dollars.
It's cold in Boston, and it would snow, preparing good thick coats and shows could be useful for SURVIVAL. 
The exchange student visa allows a one month grace period after completion of semester for you to travel in USA, you can also get into Canada once with this visa. If you want to have travel under a budget, it's better to plan earlier such as flight tickets as some early tickets usually comes with discount.
Bring something in your home and decorate your dorm to make it more homely for you, you might have times missing home or feeling lonely, but don't worry about it you will meet wonderful friends. :)