Adam - Boston College

Bachelor of Economics
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

I studied a couple of economics courses as well as history, computer science and psychology. Bloomberg recently ranked BC's undergrad business school 3rd in the country so anything in the business school is super competitive.They make you take 5 classes and attendance is pretty heavily recorded. The work load is probably higher than UQ although the difficulty I found to be either at the same level or easier in some cases. Alot of the work is just small weekly assignments. I had a class which had a weekly quiz on a Friday - not ideal! Make sure you do as much research as you would back at home to get an optimal timetable, it really makes all the difference in getting your work done so that you have freedom to travel more.

Personal experience

The friends you'll make both from the US as well as the rest of the world are truly special and what makes anything like this worth while. I had previously traveled much of the US but I was able to get up to Montreal and then to Cuba for Spring break, too many NYC trips to count as well as heading down to New Orleans for a week. The East Coast has heaps of things to see and there are super cheap buses (as low as $1) to take you there.

Accommodation

I lived off Campus in a house with two other exchange students and an American. The school has a website which connects people looking for a house / looking for room mates so you will generally be with BC students. For the best experience I would suggest living as close to the shuttle bus line as possible in either Cleveland Circle (which happens to be where the two most popular bars for BC students are) or just off Comm Ave between Foster St and Lake st. The bus is a massive life saver as it's free, runs regularly until 2am and is heated.

Costs

Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the US and unfortunately BC is in one of the wealthiest areas of Massachusetts so rent is quite high. In saying that I think living off campus will be cheaper compared to living on campus. Having a good timetable for your classes is key to saving money though as you'll end up buying food on campus regularly if you don't plan things out. I ended up spending about $23k Australian but the dollar was quite weak and I did quite a few trips throughout my time.

Professional Development

Boston College has quite a bit of name recognition throughout the US - particularly the East Coast. I got a job at a prominent software company in Silicon Valley out of the experience and studying at BC certainly helped me with that. The professors really try and tailor exam questions and assignments towards something you can use in an interview / show to a prospective employer. I certainly gained a bit more of an insight into how the US professional market works but also the support that the school offers students in terms of clubs to help prepare with case interviews was second to none.

Highlight

Along with the aforementioned job, the highlight of my experience was the people I met. As cliche as it is to say, you really do form life long friendships from an experience like this. Travelling to Cuba was also a surreal experience I can't recommend it enough to anyone who is studying on the East Coast.

Top tips

As an incoming exchange student I would really make it a point to go out of your way and make as many friends as possible. The exchange group will always be a close group as it is an experience you are all sharing together but making a group of friends who have lived there for a while really unlocks it all. The first few weeks I said yes to literally any half invitation to do something and it paid off.