Isabella - Northeastern University

Bachelor of Engineering
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

Oveseas, I studied 4 courses which was considered a full time load at Northeastern. Three of these were 4th year Chemical Engineering subjects and the other was a first year economics course as my elective. 

Studying in the States was very different to how UQ is run. I had Uni 3 days a week (compared to 5 at UQ) although no classes were recorded. A lot of the content is taught straight from the text book and and a lot of required information is written on white boards. Compared to UQ where lectures are recorded and most things are taught from lecture slides. There are definitely pros and cons to each method. Classes are a lot smaller at Northeastern so it was easy to make friends and have class conversations. I found the work load a lot less demanding than the work load at UQ, which was very nice. 

When enrolling for the classes you want, you send in your top 8 preferences to the person who is emailing you from Northeastern, and they will register you into your classes for you. This made it very easy to organise from Australia and I luckily got the top 4 classes I wanted.

Personal experience

I gained many friendships from studying at Northeastern, mainly other abroad students from around the world, but also American students in my classes.

Boston was such an incredible place to live. There are so many cool suburbs and there is always something going on. During my time in Boston, I went to two Celtics games, two Red Sox games, the Boston ballet and many more activities. The awesome thing about Northeastern is that the Global Team organise 5 events that are free for the exchange students, many of these are watching sports (celtics, red sox), which is so much fun. I was also in Boston for the Superbowl which was an awesome experience. 

I loved staying in Boston most weekends as there is always somewhere different to explore but it was awesome being able to go to different places on the weekends. Some weekends I went to Washington DC, New Haven(to a party at Yale), New York (many times) and Philadelphia. For Spring Break, I went to Mexico for 10 days, which was unreal. 

Once the semester was finished, I was lucky enough to have time to travel with other students I met on exchange. I went to Havana, Vinales and Varadero in Cuba, Austin (Texas), New Orleans, Chicago and New York. The month traveling after my exchange was incredible and would recomend traveling after if you are able to budget for it.

Accommodation

While studying at Northeastern I lived in 'On - Campus' accommodation, although, due to housing shortage the apartments I stayed in were a few suburbs from the actual campus. The suburb we were in was very cool and trendy with heaps of good food stores, there was also a train station very close, so I did not mind living here. Because we were a while away we were provided with train cards (like go cards) that Northeastern paid for. All exchange students were in the same apartment building, which made it really fun. 

For me, I liked staying in on campus accommodation as it made it very easy to organise and I was living with other students.

Costs

Due to the exchnage rate not being very good when I went to America, it made things quite expensive. 

Living on campus cost around $6000 USD. There are options other than this that are cheaper, a lot of Northeastern students live in share houses in a suburb called Mission Hill, this is generally cheaper than on campus accommodation. 

I did not get the meal plan from Northeastern as I enjoy picking and making my own food and I felt I wouldn't utilise it enough as I like to eat out and go away on weekends. Not getting the meal plan is a cheaper option.

I did not have to pay for my transport around Boston as Northeastern provided me with a T card (Go card equivalent), in America they also have Uberpool and Lyft line which makes getting Ubers and Lyft a lot cheaper (would recommend). Getting a bus to other desinations is very cheap ($10 to NY), to compare bus company prices use the website 'Wanderu'. Booking flights in America can be expensive, but if you book in advance and look out for deals it can be quite reasonable!

Professional Development

I learnt a lot of new things about myself on exchange. I think it's very important to be spontaneous and to be open to new ideas and experiences. A lot of the time I found myself saying 'what's the worst thing that can happen?'.

Highlight

It is very hard to decipher one hightlight from the entire exchange. But I would say the main highlight was going to Mexico and Cuba. I love latin culture and the relaxed, fun vibes in these countries.

Top tips

If you are thinking of going on exchange definitely GO!!! I didn't plan to go on exchange much in advance and it was honestly the best decision I made. You meet so many people from different walks of life.

Northeastern is such an incredible University, the staff are so caring, smart and the uni itself is so progressive and fun.