My Study Abroad Experience: Kristin John

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus? 

I studied abroad during my Junior Spring in London, England on the London Internship Program, Finance & Economics Track.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I had the wonderful opportunity to work at KPMG, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. I was a member of KPMG International’s Global Corporate Citizenship team, which is in charge of the firm-wide corporate social responsibility initiatives. I worked on quantifying the whole company’s social impact initiatives into reportable material for analysis—I analyzed the annual impact reports for KPMG’s many global offices and consolidated these statistics. This was challenging as each office had a very different way of stating their impacts, so I worked with my team to provide guidelines going forwards on how to report measurable impact. I also worked on a project to compare and contrast different impact investment principles as my team’s client was looking to develop a new set of principles for the City of London. A final project I worked on was assessing fossil fuel clients’ progress in sustainable development to share with account managers as talking points to further develop the client-advisor partnerships.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

  • I studied abroad in the midst of Brexit, so becoming fully engaged in this huge historical shift is something I know I would not have had otherwise. It was interesting to see first-hand how the British people reacted to this, and I became fully aware of how Brexit would affect different populations. We also discussed Brexit in my classes, allowing me to have an analytical and factual view on the current event. The experience of observing a country go through this magnitude of change was extremely eye-opening.
  • I would not have learned how education works outside of the American system. Taking classes abroad and learning about my British colleagues’ college experiences was incredibly interesting. The British education system is one of the best in the world and is ingrained into so many countries around the world. Learning about what they prioritize in education and how they teach students by experiencing a different grading structure myself was helpful. I became a better learner by embracing the best parts of both the American and British systems. I also learned how to understand British people’s different perspectives as a root of their education systems.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was surprised with how integrated we were into the city and country. This was mainly due to the internship aspect, as I woke up and went to work like the rest of the city. We were also centrally located in South Kensington, a 5-minute walk away from world-class museums and Kensington Palace itself.

 

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was coming to the realization that this experience was only temporary and that I had to make the most of it, every day. The time really flies by when you’re abroad, and I felt like I still had so much more of London and the U.K. to experience and engage in.

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was being able to venture off into a foreign country on my own and developing this independence. I often spent time exploring the city by myself, exploring new sights and historic places. I would walk to different places, listening to music and taking in the moment. It was important for me to discover not only London but myself through this process—I think this is something every person should do in their lifetimes, especially young women. It taught me how to be happy and grateful for my surroundings every day. By the end of my semester, I fully understood the main areas of London and many unique places.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

  • Make use of the seemingly spare moments within your days! Even if you have a 10-minute break between classes or a lunch break during your internship, walk around and truly take in your surroundings. You might discover something beautiful. The BU academic building is centered in South Kensington, which is home to many famous historical sites. For example, Alfred Hitchcock’s home is a few minutes walk from the building. Also, it is helpful to check websites and Instagram accounts such as Timeout London which posts reviews of restaurants, things to do, and special events.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

  • I really enjoyed Kew Gardens, a botanical garden and UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore Victorian-style glass conservatories, a royal Japanese pagoda, and vibrant gardens.
  • Fleet Street: A historic street vital to London’s development since the Roman times. Start at the original Twinings Tea store that has been in operation for over 300 years. Across the street, you will find the Royal Courts of Justice, the magnificent heart of London’s judicial system. Keep walking down Fleet Street and you will see plenty of plaques on buildings explaining their histories. Fleet Street used to be the center of the British journalism as the main newspapers were based here, from the 1500s-1980s. Walk inside St. Bride’s Church, which is famous for several reasons. First, as you will see in the basement, there is a free museum that showcases living proof of the Roman history excavated beneath the church. Second, architect Sir Christopher Wren (of St. Paul’s Cathedral) designed the steeple of the church. It looks like a wedding cake and is said to have inspired the tiered wedding cake!
  •  London is renowned for its high quality international cuisine, from Laotian to Ethiopian. I highly recommend Masala Zone for excellent Indian food and Hopper’s for Sri Lankan food. These restaurants are top-rated and thinking about their food continues to make my mouth water!

My Study Abroad Experience: Upek Kuruppu

 

I was able to study abroad during the summer of my freshman year in Shanghai, China. The program consisted of a full-time internship based on your field of study along with a four-credit internship seminar. After the internship recruitment process through CRC Asia, I was placed as a Private Equity Analyst at Paragon Partners Asia, a boutique private equity firm. My role entailed analyzing prospective investment opportunities and collecting investment decks in order to pursue prospective investments. I was able to gain client exposure and developed key investor relations among prospective investors in order to find and allocate funds towards distressed asset projects.

Shanghai has been one of the most efficient and productive countries that I have ever visited. The advanced usage of technology has driven the city ahead of the majority in the world today. The efficient use of QR codes for each and every transaction allows the city to limit cash transactions. Transportation has never been faster with bullet trains arriving every three minutes and moving at 350 KMPH. Shanghai drives to be a booming city with mega infrastructure, rapid innovation and a growing economy.

However, the hardest part was the fact that I did not speak any mandarin, but today’s technology was a true asset. I was able to use Google translate and Bido translate at each step of the way along with a mix of sign language to complete my sentences. Despite the language barrier, I was able to find my way through the system and it was a truly rewarding experience. If you are thinking about traveling out of Shanghai I would recommend going to Beijing for a traditional trip of the Great Wall of China and the forbidden city or visiting the panda reserves for all you animal lovers or the Avatar mountains in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park for a wide range of breath-taking views.

In terms of key takeaways during my overall experience in Shanghai, I was able to learn how to adapt and fit into new global environments with zero knowledge of the local language. The ability to be independent and find your own way through a foreign country is an extremely rewarding experience and it changed my perception of trying new experiences and taking risk in my day to day life. Also, I was able to understand the importance of traveling and learning how different global cultures and working environments differ from one to the other. If you are studying abroad my best tip would be to have an open mind, don’t try compare the differences with your home country. Each experience is different to the other and once you are able to understand the benefits of the city you study abroad in that will be the turning point of making your study abroad experience one of the best experience of your college career.

My Study Abroad Experience: Alejandro Mendez

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus? 

Fall 2019 – Bocconi University

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

N/A – not an internship role.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

  • See and understand how history plays a role in shaping culture and things in every day life from how people socialize to how their education is struct
  • ured.
  • The world is a lot more connected than I expected – certainly more than about a decade ago. For example: Italy’s contemporary music scene is very similar to the latino one, their books are the same as in America, they follow the NBA and NFL, and a lot of the students I met have friends spread all over the world, including Asia, America, and Africa.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

The class dynamics are very different. You are not expected to go to class, but classes are very challenging because they expect you to go above and beyond of what the class teaches you. They expect you to be very well versed in the class topic and challenge you to think critically beyond practice exams, homework, etc.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The change in class dynamics. In some cases, classes give you practice exams or quizzes, but they are not similar to the exams. As mentioned, they expect you to go beyond of what is taught in class to earn an A.

What was the best part of your experience?

Being able to meet so many people. Being in Europe gives you the opportunity not only to meet other exchange students at your university, but to explore the neighboring countries and meet people everywhere to go. It helps you put everything into perspective and understand the world better.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

  • Understand what is expected from you in class. It is really easy to underestimate how difficult exams will be, because what is taught in class and practiced in quizzes is a lot simpler than what they expect you to know for the midterm or final exams
  • Try to meet as many people as you can. There are a lot more students than you think doing the exam same thing as you – they are there to learn and meet people, so meeting people early on makes the whole experience better.
  • Plan your weekends if you expect to travel during the semester. Sit down and understand your schedule to plan out where you want to go and when. You wouldn’t want to miss a good trip because you did not anticipate you would have a quiz next week.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Milan is easy to navigate. There are no places you won’t find after a quick google search for things to do. What I would recommend is knowing what places are open when it’s snowing and planning on going there before it starts snowing/when it stops snowing.

My Study Abroad Experience: Isabella Bazante

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?   

Hi! I’m Isabella, a rising senior at Questrom. I studied abroad in Auckland, New Zealand for my Spring semester of Junior year.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I was a part of the Management Internship Program, which involved taking a total of 3 classes and having an internship. The first couple of months, I took the required BU New Zealand Culture class along with a Marketing class at the University of Auckland. Afterwards, I took another Marketing class and had an internship at Loop Media NZ. Loop is an entertainment producer and an agent for artists and public figures. Some of my tasks included arranging accommodation and flights, filing legal documents, and booking venues. I also coordinated and collaborated with artists, venues, and event sponsors through emails and phone calls to organize the logistics for events.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was surprised by the big music culture there is in New Zealand. Before traveling to New Zealand, I didn’t look into what kind of music was typical there. I focused more on the nature and travel destinations in my pre-research. Yet, working at Loop exposed me to a lot of music events and allowed me to see another element of the Kiwi culture. Talk to the coordinators, your classmates, boss and co-workers to find out what music events are going on. Facebook is also a good way to discover upcoming events.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

One of the main things I learned while abroad was how to plan trips. In order to have a successful, worry-free trip, thorough planning is key. This includes things like renting a car, booking hostels, and researching activities. (Tip: it’s usually cheaper to book directly through the hostel’s website or by calling them, rather than using general booking websites).

What was the hardest part of your experience?

One of the difficulties for me was the time difference, since there’s a big time difference between the East Coast and Auckland. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to talk to my friends and family as much as I wanted. But this was solved by planning ahead by deciding on times and dates that worked best for us to talk on the phone (via Whatsapp) or video call (Whatsapp, Facetime, Skype).

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Hidden gems: Lake Marian in the South Island; Raglan in the North Island; Cable Bay Vineyard in Waiheke (not so hidden); New Chums Beach on the Coromandel.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

Auckland Tips: Explore surrounding neighborhoods (Ponsonby, Parnell, etc). Go to an All Blacks game (sign up to their email list so that you get notifications). Try surfing. Take advantage of the weekends to travel, even if you just do day trips. If you go to Milford Sound, the earliest Jucy Cruise is a good price and includes breakfast. Look up free or cheap stuff on campus – example: there’s $5 vegetarian food on Wednesdays organized by The Veda Club.

General Tips: Before going abroad, look up the places you want to visit while you’re there. Reach out to anyone you know who has been to your abroad destination (they’ll probably be glad to help). Don’t over pack. Go to class! It’s a good way to meet locals, especially if you’re at a local campus. Try to join clubs on campus. Don’t spend your money on unnecessary things – traveling is better J Walk as much as possible. Talk to store clerks, Uber drivers, professors, classmates.

My Study Abroad Experience: Jimmy Perez

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

I studied abroad in Madrid during Spring 2018 at la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Also, I did an internship during my stay at a travel agency and was primarily involved in financially planning all the agency’s trips for the fall and early winter.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

The two biggest learning takeaways from my study abroad experience is learning about my ancestry and how to better adapt to a multi-cultural society.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

What most surprised while I was abroad is how better Spanish society is compared to American society in their accessibilities for disabled and elderly people.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of the experience is balancing the internship with school work.

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of the experience is how far I was away from home, but it felt like that was home.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

The best tips I can offer are be wise when choosing classes, try as many new things as you can, and travel as much as you can because that type of learning is something you cannot get in a classroom.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Hidden gems, to eat: el senador, artesanos 1902, casa hortensia, plaza olavide, plaza santa ana, ornella; go out: marieta, perrachica, radio rooftop, josealfredo, macera.

My Study Abroad Experience: James Trindle

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

Auckland, New Zealand

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I interned at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, where I ran website and marketing analytics, assisted with office admin, and led a team of volunteers during the Festival.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

Mainly just that a workplace functions just as well if shoes are optional. But I guess I also learned that I really don’t need a lot of the things I thought I did; that I can go a week without cell service and the world will keep on spinning, civilization existed before GPS, and that after two days of hiking a cold can of tuna is the best meal in the world.  Also, I know this is three now, but always take the scenic route.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

To be honest, I went in to the program with essentially no knowledge or expectations, and if you’re reading this, then you’ve already prepared more than I did. So I guess it’s equally valid to say either that nothing surprised me, or everything did.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The bagels. Unless you’re willing to shell out for a diamond coated bread knife and reinforcements for your teeth, don’t bother. But honestly, it was often hard to stay motivated in my classes during the program. Once the internship started, it took up a lot of my time and energy (it took up about 50 hours a week during the Comedy Festival), and it was hard to focus on my Finance class, which was also quite difficult. Additionally, sometimes in the choice between studying and experiencing New Zealand, I don’t think studying is the right choice. Retrospectively, my advice is to avoid taking finance classes, as they are taught much better at BU in my opinion, and make a conscious choice about where your priorities are.

What was the best part of your experience?

The time I spent travelling with friends was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I got to rappel into a cave and float down an underground river looking at glowworms on the ceiling above, then climb back up the cliff face as a thunderstorm quickly turned it in to a waterfall. I learned to surf, which resulted in me giving serious consideration to dropping out and becoming a beach bum, pulled an all-nighter with friends and proceeded to go white-water rafting on a category 5 river the next day, and saw dolphins, penguins, and seals framed by some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet in the Fjordland. So if you weren’t on board with me saying that studying isn’t always the most valuable experience, you should be after reading that list.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

First, if you bring a power strip with American outlets, you won’t need to buy as many adapters. Next, don’t be afraid to try new things or initiate trips. Take risks and do things that scare you, whether it’s jumping off a platform with a rubber band attached to your feet or going on an impromptu weekend trip with minimal planning and a tent. The experience makes it all worth it.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Lake Mirian near Milford Sound. It’s about a 3 hour hike uphill on a loosely formed path in the woods, but at the top you’re rewarded with a pristine lake hidden between two mountain peaks. It’s especially great if you do a morning cruise in Milford Sound and hike afterward. There’s lots of things in New Zealand that you’ll never find on the internet, so just explore. Also, a great weekend trip is taking the ferry from Auckland to Great Barrier Island and hiking the Aotea track.

My Study Abroad Experience: Steven LaDine

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus? 

Sydney, Australia. Fall 2017.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I worked at the Rivendell School/Hospital unit (http://www.rivendell.nsw.edu.au) that is geared toward helping students who have psychological disorders.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

My semester abroad helped me learn how to better structure my time on my own initiative. It is no secret that academic demands are not as intense (usually) while abroad. However, I learned to fill my daily and weekly schedules with my own interests and hobbies. Because I was so used to the BU campus environment—where I’m constantly being told where to be and what to do—I was not accustomed to having so much freedom to learn and explore independently.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was surprised by how easy it was to stay busy. Because everyone in the program lives in the same building and working on similar academic/work schedules, it is very easy to coordinate activities. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find people interested in a pickup game of soccer, cooking, going to a restaurant, or to the beach.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was just the first few days of getting oriented to a new place. Luckily, the BU Sydney program has a phenomenal staff that will make learning about your new home very easy and streamlined. There is nothing to be concerned about.

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my experience was developing relationships and routines with my local community, outside of the BU Sydney Academic Program. For instance, my roommate and I took boxing lessons at our local gym twice/week, meeting and befriending some of the trainers at the gym. I also attended a weekly 5K run put on by a nearby sporting goods store. My roommates and I also began our own running club with other people from the program, which was a great way to discover and explore the city. Lastly, my friends and I frequently visited nearby parks, where we play SpikeBall or Frisbee with locals.

Getting to know the people who lived in Sydney, and taking part in local, community-oriented activities allowed me to fully appreciate my experience abroad.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

The weekends go by fast, especially once the internship period begins. To get the most out of your time in Sydney, plan something to do or somewhere to go every weekend. Don’t waste away beautiful Sydney weather being hungover in your apartment watching Netflix. Get out and do something, even if its just a local farmers’ market or a nearby beach.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Greyhound racing at Wentworth Park—Free admission.

For the athletically inclined: Royal National Park coastal walk. The 30 kilometer trail from Bundeena to Otford makes a great, full day of hiking.

My Study Abroad Experience: Ashley Jenq

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

Sydney, NSW, Australia; Spring 2017

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

For my internship, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to intern at Australia’s first and oldest bank, Westpac. At Westpac, I was a project management intern, so I spent a lot of time analyzing risks imposed by the project and determining the controls that would be implemented to mitigate them. In addition to the project with my immediate team, I was also given company culture responsibilities regarding “diversity and inclusion.” One of these responsibilities included drafting an anonymous survey, in which Westpac employees could answer truthfully about their feelings of being valued and included.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

As an accounting student, I was really surprised when I was selected to be an intern at a major Australian bank. I had little finance work experience, so I was nervous and hesitant to start my internship. Despite my nervousness, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed project management. In fact, I’m starting to consider post-graduation careers in project management (in addition to accounting ones, of course).

Another thing that I learned from my time abroad is that the work culture in each country differs. Although the companies perform the same tasks, the work environment is very different. For example, in the Australian work culture, work-life balance and personal wellness are more heavily integrated into the daily lives of its employees, whereas companies in the U.S. still struggle to find that balance.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

Throughout my time in Sydney, Australia, I have been consistently surprised at how incredible the Australian hospitality was. In fact, during my time abroad when I was homesick, my coworkers welcomed me into their families with open arms. One great memory that I had was with my boss, Jennifer. Because she knew that I was having a difficult time being so far from my family, she invited me on one of her family excursions with her husband and two sons. In addition, another coworker, Stirling, invited me to play on his local community football (soccer) team, so I could meet his friends and other locals. Overall, Sydney was a beautiful city, but it truly was the people who made my abroad experience so wholesome and unforgettable.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

Originally, I applied for a study abroad program because I wanted to travel and experience living in a foreign country. However, when you are physically 10,099 miles away from your home and loved ones, your exciting adventure gets overshadowed by feelings of nervousness, culture shock, and, sometimes, homesickness.

What was the best part of your experience?

During my internship at Westpac, I was given an internal project where I would create a new category for the company-wide Risk Awards. From this project, I was able to pioneer a new category called the “Risk Inclusion & Diversity Champion of the Year” award, which will honor an employee who has significantly and consistently increased inclusion and diversity within the workplace. As a result of my work, an individual will be recognized for his or her excellence for years to come. It’s awesome that even though I’m no longer at Westpac, I was able to leave a legacy behind.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

Extend your abroad experience so that you can visit other countries in the Pacific Rim! (Some popular destinations include Bangkok, Thailand; Bali, Indonesia; Auckland, New Zealand; Singapore, Singapore; etc.)

Although Sydney (and the rest of NSW) is beautiful, definitely make time to visit other cities in Australia. In fact, Melbourne, which is located in the state of Victoria, is one of my favorite cities in the world. Melbourne is quirky, eccentric, and soulful, so for young individuals, like myself, it’s an awesome place to check out restaurants, bars, and art galleries.

Befriend the locals! I promise you they will show you the most beautiful hidden gems in Sydney and NSW.

Hugging a koala is illegal in NSW, so when you travel to other states, try and incorporate that into your itinerary.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

ShirtBar in Central Business District (CBD) is a coffee shop located inside of a men’s dress shirt boutique. Think about how awesome it would be to have cappuccino in the suit department of Bloomingdale’s.

The Grounds of Alexandria is a beautiful, outdoor marketplace that offers all types of delicious (and beautiful) foods. The Grounds is decorated with an abundance of flowers, vintage farming tools, and antique fountains.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is a hidden oriental garden tucked away in one of the busiest areas of Sydney. Within the garden, you’ll find a quaint Chinese tea house where you can enjoy hot tea and authentic dim sum. This is one of my favorite places in Sydney because it reminded me of my favorite Disney movie, Mulan.

Looking for a place to cliff jump? The Manly Beach jump rock is a popular cliff jumping location for locals. It offers two cliffs, one for the more squeamish, and another for the daredevils.

My Study Abroad Experience: Photeine Lambridis

Where and when did you study abroad?

I studied

abroad at Copenhagen Business School in Copenhagen, Denmark during my spring semester of my junior year (Spring 2017).

What are two things you learned from your time abroad that you may not have learned otherwise?

One important thing I learned while studying abroad was how to embrace the culture that I’m living in, despite it being different from my own. The Danish people and culture are beautiful and I think it’s important to embrace all of these differences. For example, the Danish people tend to be very reserved and quiet. There isn’t much conversation on the public transportation, in stores, or walking down the street. But this doesn’t mean that they won’t talk to you if you need help. It’s just their way of respecting your privacy. The Danes also bike everywhere in all types of weather so one way of embracing the culture is to buy a bike to travel around the city. Biking in a busy city was completely out of my comfort zone but doing so was well worth it!

Another important thing I learned during my time abroad was how to be independent. There were only four other BU students who attended CBS during my semester. So I essentially traveled by myself to a country I’ve never been to. But I think that this challenge made me a stronger and more capable individual. I took advantage of some of the opportunities to socialize early on in the semester and make friends as a result. I learned how to navigate large European cities and plan trips with these new friends. I also became comfortable with being by myself. Sitting in parks listening to music was one of my favorite things to do (Copenhagen has so many beautiful parks!). Coming back to BU, I now feel more open to new experiences and more confident in my ability to take on future challenges.

What surprised you most about your ti    me abroad?

What surprised me the most was how quickly I fell in love with Copenhagen, despite it being so different from other cities I’ve lived in or traveled to. Even though I felt a little uncomfortable the first few weeks (especially navigating the supermarkets), I quickly grew out of the early stages of being a tourist and into the feeling of being a true Copenhagen resident. Even though I’m not Danish, Denmark and the Danes will always feel like a part of me and I look forward to visiting in the future!

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was prioritizing my studies while also taking advantage of all that Copenhagen and Europe have to offer. The academics at CBS are very different from BU and Questrom. Your grade in each class is entirely based on the final exam, which can be scary. But they do give you sufficient time to study and prepare. Attendance isn’t required so it can be easy to postpone studying until before the exams. However, if you devote time for your schoolwork each week and attend class like you would at BU, you should still be successful. It’s also very rewarding to know that you were able to balance your studies while still being able to explore and go on amazing adventures!

What was the best part of your experience?

By far the best part of my experience were the friends that I made. I was fortunate to make friends early in the semester. Because of how international the CBS exchange program was, my closest friends weren’t from the US. As a result, exploring Copenhagen and traveling to other parts of Europe with these friends made it all the more exciting!

What are the best tips for those planning to study where you did?

My best tip is to try becoming friends or strike up a conversation with Danish students! Take advantage of the minimal language barrier since they all speak English very well. It can be easy to only become friends with other exchange students and travel with them. However, you learn so much about the Danish people by interacting with them! They’re very friendly and they have a crazy sense of humor! I met my Danish friends through participating in the Buddy Program where they pair you with a CBS student, so I recommend participating in that program.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

One of my favorite spots in Copenhagen is called Islands Brygge. You can sit along the water and have a picnic when the weather is nice. I would also recommend eating at some of the street food markets in Copenhagen. My favorite is Paper Island. There’s a huge selection of food and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to eat out in the city. Also walk into any bakery and try the pastries because they are absolutely delicious!

My Study Abroad Experience: Kennia Garcia

Where and when did you study abroad/off-campus?

I studied abroad in Padua, Italy, during my Spring Semester 2017.

What did you do for your internship and what kinds of projects were you assigned (if you had one)?

I interned at Sinedi S.r.l., a management consulting firm. The company focuses on strategy and organizational structure, decision support systems, private equity, and executive education. During my internship, I reclassified financial statements, prepared abstracts of potential clients that included a description of the company and its products, supported business intelligence projects, gathered research on venture capitalists in the Veneto region, and performed marketing-related functions.

What are two things you learned from your time abroad/off-campus that you may not have learned otherwise?

I took Italian language classes in high school and during my freshman year of college. While I did learn Italian grammar and vocabulary, I lacked an understanding of common phrases and cultural norms specific to different regions. My host family, Italian professors, peers, and work colleagues taught me Italian expressions not written into textbooks. In addition to expanding my understanding of the Italian language, I became familiar with Italian cultural norms, especially customs related to food. Little things such as not ordering a cappuccino after 10am, referring to coffee as ‘caffè’ and not ‘espresso’, eating dinner very late in the day, and eating an entire pizza by yourself were all things I learned that show whether or not you truly understand Italian culture.

Second, I learned about cultural differences in business. Business etiquette is different all around the world and in an increasingly interconnected world, it’s important to exhibit courtesy and respect. In the United States, showing up early means you are on time, being on time means you are late, and running late is unacceptable. I sat in on various meetings with company executives and rarely did they start on time. Oftentimes, business meetings are interrupted by caffè breaks and conversation about family. Adjusting to unfamiliar tendencies may feel wrong, but in the end, it is very necessary and ultimately results in a successful business deal.

What surprised you most about your time abroad/off-campus?

I was surprised by how much I learned about myself, the country in which I was living, and about travel. Being in unfamiliar places brought out the best in me. I was comfortable making mistakes because I grew from them. Without those temporary moments of embarrassment, I wouldn’t have had as many laughs or stories to tell. My language skills improved drastically in a short amount of time after being totally immersed in an Italian environment. Finally, I was surprised by how quickly I learned how to book flights, trains, and accommodations. Traveling throughout Italy and all of Europe became somewhat easy and that’s something I wasn’t expecting.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

I encountered challenges when I took classes at the University of Padua. Questrom is very different than the Department of Economics and Management at the University of Padua in many ways including classroom layouts, professor and student relationships, study spaces, and course expectations. At Questrom, I have worked on multiple team assignments with students from different parts of the world. We have been challenged to work in a team-oriented mindset and to complement each other’s strengths. Most of the students in my classes had never worked in a team or written a research paper collectively in a small group. I felt frustrated at times because our standards of quality work differed greatly. Questrom provides team rooms and other study spaces to get work done, but I struggled with finding an enjoyable study spot. Boston University has different resources and I think it was difficult to adjust to those offered at UNIPD.

What was the best part of your experience?

 I absolutely loved the food. The entire practice of eating an Italian meal is remarkable. The idea of eating an antipasto, which is a starter, followed by a primo and a secondo with a contorno, a side dish, and ending with a sweet dolce is quite an experience. Fresh ingredients and seasonal produce make for a delectable meal. Italy thrives on small family-owned restaurants which treat restaurant patrons like family. Not only was the food delicious, but the atmosphere created by the owners was very pleasant.

What are your best tips for those planning to study where you did?

I recommend getting familiar with basic Italian words and phrases. There are many opportunities to practice and expand your language skills, especially if you will be traveling. While most people in large cities and in Northern Italy speak English, it’s nice and much appreciated if you can communicate in Italian. Since you will be living with a host family, be respectful of their space as well as yours. Try to share some of your own culture as much as they share theirs with you because there’s beauty in mutual cultural exchanges. Finally, learn how to appreciate your own company. This program is one of the longer ones offered by Questrom. There will be times in which you find yourself alone and yearning for your friends and family’s company, but take this time to do a lot of self-reflection and enjoy the things you can’t get back home. Walk around, practice your Italian, eat lots of bread and cheese, and get lost every once in a while.

Are there any hidden gems that your classmates should check out?

Forno Zogno has delicious piadine and it’s right by the Prato, Dalla Zita has cheap sandwiches and over 60 combinations, daPrette is a counter that sells panzerotti, La Romana has some of the best gelato in Padova, and the Coffee Box has awesome mugs, great wifi, and a taste of home if you ever miss the states. If you’re into running or simply want to go on a nice walk, jog along the river. Last, many people don’t know this, but students can get into the botanical garden for free and even do work there because they have wifi!