Reserve Bank of India – Fourth Week

DCIM100GOPROWeek four had a slower feel due to the lack of a mid-week adventure for the whole team, but it was just as exciting as the others. While the beginning of the week was rather uneventful, we were lucky enough to have our first hands-on experience with the Indian wildlife on Wednesday without even leaving our office. It caught us by surprise – we originally mistook the squeaking in the wall as a sign that our air conditioning system was failing us, until we saw a head pop out. It was horrifying and humorous, and nobody was sure how to handle it. What we thought was a rat soon spread its wings, and as it left the comforts of the wall, we left the comforts of our office, confused and amused. It was a bat, and nobody knew what to do until a brave local managed to corner it, capture it, and release it back into the outside world. Everything was well again until another bat flew out of the wall while a maintenance team was trying to fix a leak in the room.

DCIM100GOPROOther than Chris and Courtney conducting surveys and field work on Thursday, the team’s first outing of the week occurred on Saturday with a visit to Symbiosis International University’s School of Banking and Finance on the outskirts of Pune. Symbiosis was unique compared with the other universities in the area because of its very diverse student body with people from all around the world. During our visit, we observed many presentations from faculty members about their research on financial inclusion while many of the graduate students presented their field work on the issues of microfinance and financial inclusion. During the Q&A session, Vicki raised a question about whether or not India could adapt a similar system to Kenya’s mobile banking system. To our surprise, a Kenyan graduate student at Symbiosis was in the audience. He got up and spoke about Kenya’s system, mentioning how their decision to adopt mobile banking technology wasn’t based on extensive research and collected data; instead, people asked the mobile companies for the technology, and they made it work. In his opinion, India has the capability to do this as well, and he said that people just needed to act on it and make it happen. In other words, his philosophy was best summarized with Nike’s company
motto: Just Do It. Everyone in the room was very impressed with the way he spoke, and we were glad to hear his perspective on an issue relevant to financial inclusion in India. After the presentations, we were asked to come to the podium and speak about our own experiences in India and at RBI. We were asked about the differences and similarities between our homes, education, and life experiences, though as a member of the audience stated at the end, “we’re all human.” After all of this, we were treated DCIM100GOPROto a fantastic lunch at the Symbiosis guest house on top of a mountain
with fantastic views of the surrounding landscape.
At this point in the trip, we are beginning to realize just how little time we have left. We hope to make the most of it by continuing to immerse ourselves into the Indian culture, and it’s safe to say that we’re all very excited for Thursday’s visit to meet RBI’s Deputy Governor and see the DCIM100GOPROcentral offices in Mumbai.

Ashley Payne, Shanghai Internship

ShanghaiInterned at Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency as a Public Relations intern in the OgilvyPR department. 

Internship: As an intern I was given many hands-on opportunities to learn about PR. I primarily helped to write case studies and press releases as well as create content for Chinese social media. I worked closely with the Shanghai VP of Corporate PR who pushed me to learn and gave me a lot of responsibilities, such as writing an application letter for the CEO of Tishman Speyer addressed to the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai. I was also given the opportunity to help create social media content for the introduction of Lincoln Motors into the Chinese market, as well as work with other big name brands such as Chanel and Ferrari.

I Learned: Besides learning two semesters of Chinese in four months, I learned a lot about Chinese business culture, which is very different from American practices. The Chinese value strong relationships so it takes a while before you can gain their trust, whereas Americans value their time more than anything. It was enriching to experience this firsthand at my internship and it has prepared me for a possible future career in China.

What Surprised Me: I didn’t realize how international Shanghai is. I was meeting people from all over the world who were in my classes, lived in Tonghe (the international dorms at Fudan University), and interned with me.

Hardest Part: The hardest part for me was the language barrier. Going to China with no previous Chinese language lessons, it was hard to connect with the Chinese natives I worked with, and to communicate in general. I often had to rely on hand gestures and my classmates to help me get around. After a couple of weeks, I was exploring the city on my own and didn’t feel so uncomfortable communicating with people. I was able to practice the Chinese I had learned and they were able to practice their English.

Best Part: The best part was being able to go on trips around China thanks to the BU Shanghai Staff. They planned every trip and made exploring China so easy and so much fun. I loved being able to toboggan down the Great Wall of China, have authentic Peking duck, climb 10 km up Huangshan, and watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with the villagers of Chengkan. Also, bargaining at the fake market is super fun.

My Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to walk around and explore on your own
  • Always order eggplant

Jamie Zakalik, Madrid

Group visit to Barcelona with Tim Barramen, Grant Bacchuber, Sarah Noyes, Jamie Zakalik, Bea Lorenzo, Ryan SheaThis past Spring (Spring 2014) I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain.  Because of my Spanish literacy (or lack thereof), I was in the Level I Madrid program.  While I did not have an internship, I did live in a Spanish household and all of my classes were in Spanish, or as they say, Español.  Upon my arrival, I quickly realized that I had a large task ahead of me if I was going to not only survive my classes, but function in society at all.  The first afternoon, a group of girls and I walked around the corner for lunch while we were still all staying at the Hotel Regina for orientation.  After our meal I proudly waved down the waiter and asked for “el cheque.”  My other friends gasped and pulled my hand down.  The puzzled waiter walked over as my friends quickly apologized and asked for “la cuenta.”  After that, I sat down with my Spanish books and class notes and studied my culo off.

Living in a society that speaks a different language than my native language and has a culture different than what I am used to was the hardest, best, most rewarding, and most frustrating part of my semester.

The culture shock took a little getting used to.  Three days into the semester we were thrown into Spanish speaking households.  My immediate interaction with my host mother was first, her embracing me into her arms like we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, and then second, dragging me around the house giving me all the house rules and information… en español.  Now  I don’t want to say I didn’t understand any of it, but I didn’t understand any of it.  Luckily, I was living with another Boston University student who was basically fluent and who then afterwards filled me in on all the important parts I missed.  The second culture shock was the buzz around meals.  Not only do Spaniards not eat dinner until around 10:00 at night but they also put a lot of importance on spending meals together and not leaving ANY food on your plate. Needless to say, I spent this semester eating a lot more than at school, a lot better than at school (my host mom brought in another woman to do our cooking and it was absolutely delicious), and a lot later than at school (except maybe Saturday night T Anthony’s).

Not being able to always understand what others were saying or project exactly what I wanted to say was extremely frustrating.  It also led to some of my best stories.  One night, my roommate abroad and I were attending a Spanish person’s party.  One of the boys got up to open the door to let some air into the apartment. To start conversation, I asked the boy “estas caliente?”  He began to laugh at me and I immediately started wondering what was on my face or in my teeth.  He then explained to me that what I wanted to ask was “tienes calor?”, and that I had accidentally asked him if he was turned on.  Little discrepancies like this (that make a huge difference) are some of the many things that I learned in Spain that I would not have learned otherwise from studying Spanish from a textbook or speaking it twice a week in a Spanish class and then walking out the door to my English speaking world.

If I had any tips for those of you planning to study in Madrid, I would say go for it and really immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and language.  My semester abroad was my favorite semester so far; I met over fifty new people, I learned a language other than English (contrary to my stories I can actually converse in Spanish now pretty fluently), and I learned about a culture that I didn’t even know had so much to teach me.  Most other students outside of the United States learn multiple languages and, until you do, you don’t realize that it is not only extremely rewarding but also truly opens up your world.

If you have any questions about studying abroad in Madrid or in general, feel free to send me an email at

Thanks for reading!

Sheena Chatterjee, Sydney Management Internship

Rubix Cube AustraliaInterned at The Iconic, Spring 2014:

I was an Online Marketing Intern at The Iconic, the number one online fashion retailer within Australia. One big project I worked on was working with the Marketing and Creative Team to design a campaign that announced the firm’s new partnership with Nike. I worked on the brainstorming of activation points, selecting advertising agencies to create copy for the campaign, and creating cohesion throughout all parts of the campaign. I also worked on post-sales reports, showcasing to clients what advertising package they chose with the firm, and how product placement on the website, in the magazines, and on the blog helped their online sales.

I Learned: I learned that there is a balance to be struck between work and play. In Australia, people define the office as a place for work and home as a place for relaxation. I admired how Australians did not make their entire life about their work career. I hope to instill some of this mentality into my own life.

Secondly, I learned to appreciate what I have at Boston University. I spent one semester enrolled in The University of Sydney, and the resources made me realize how much I have at my disposal back at home. At Sydney Uni, their electronic library database is limited and the number of books stocked was a smaller quantity than BU. Furthermore, lecturers are not very involved with their students and I relied more on myself and the tutorial leaders for information on the class. Also, the campus is not a straight line, so definitely not as easy to navigate as Comm Ave!

I was surprised to find: I was surprised to find myself homesick. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to a handful of countries, but only on brief vacations; however, I believed that six months would be too short a time to be abroad. I was so ready to experience abroad life that I did not even consider missing anything back in America. As much as I didn’t want to believe the “Adaptation Curve” shown in the information session before going abroad, it is very much accurate.

The Hardest Part: It was very hard to understand the grading at Sydney Uni. In the United States, each assignment is graded as if we start out with 100 points and you are deducted points for your mistakes. In the Australian grading system, you start out with 0 points and are awarded points based off of how the teacher feels you completed the assignment. To give an idea of what is normal in Australian grading, most are awarded between a 70-75, and 85 on upward is considered great. Rubrics are not as detailed as at home, and grading tends to be a bit more subjective.

Also, dealing with the withdrawal from American pizza. Believe me, you will miss it. A lot.

The Best Part: I loved being able to truly call Sydney my home. I used my weekends to explore all the different neighbourhoods of Sydney with my roommates. I found different eateries, bars, secret graffiti, shops, etc. We came to find our favourite spots as well as constantly stumbling upon new establishments opening up every week. I really felt comfortable navigating the city both on foot and via the city transportation. I honestly feel like I got to know Sydney even better than I know Boston!

My Tips:

  • Definitely save up your money. Sydney might be more expensive than you were anticipating. Plus, I’m sure anyone would get the itch to travel, considering there are so many wonderful places to visit! Budget your money accordingly!
  • Get out into the city and explore! There are so many neighbourhoods and establishments to explore! People in Sydney are very friendly and there are so many people to meet. Get out there and have fun with the city and its people.
  • Wear sunscreen at beach all the times. There is a huge hole in the ozone layer right above Australia. Even if you think you are immune to sunburn… trust me, you’re not.
  • Enjoy the flat whites and TimTams as long as you can.

Tally Sternberg, Sydney Management Internship

Created with Cycloramic by Egos VenturesInterned at a small investment firm, Spring 2014:

I was an investment analyst at a small firm. I was given a lot of responsibility and had the opportunity to work hands-on with clients and projects, which, especially as an intern, is extremely valuable.  I was lucky enough to work on a wide range of projects, but one of the biggest was that I worked with an Australian cookie manufacturer that was hoping to expand their brand internationally.  I was able to communicate with the client professionally, develop an investor presentation, and coordinate and participate in funding meetings. The opportunities and skills that I gained from this internship have been amazing and I am so happy that I was able to work at such a great firm.

I Learned: I saw firsthand how business has truly become international. Almost every project that I worked on in my internship involved two or more countries.  I think that being able to work with people and businesses from different countries and cultures is very valuable.  I also learned that Australia is a lot more relaxed when it comes to the office.  Businesses are still extremely diligent, organized and hard working, but there seems to be less overall pressure and stress in the office.

I was surprised to find: That not everyone in Australia is a surfer. I know that seems odd, but I had this weird vision going to Australia that everyone is at the beach all day, when really life is more similar to the US, especially California.

The Hardest Part: I think that the hardest part was being 10,000 miles away from home. It can be sometimes be difficult coordinating calling home because of the 16-hour time difference. BUT that being said, I never really got homesick because I was in such an amazing place.  The beaches, beautiful weather, and nice people made being so far so much easier.

The Best Part: This was hard to narrow down.  I sincerely loved every part of my experience in Australia, but if I had to choose, I would say that meeting Australians was probably number one.  They are so nice and welcoming and it’s not by coincidence! Living in such a beautiful place with gorgeous weather year round made me a lot nicer too!

Why I Picked Sydney: I was really torn on where to study abroad, but I think that what made the difference in my decision and many other Sydney Management students’ decisions was that you should go somewhere that you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go.  If we are being realistic, many of you will have the opportunity to visit Europe at some point in your life; however, what are the chances that you will travel around the world to Australia? Probably pretty slim. Take advantage of this amazing study abroad opportunity.  Let’s look at the pros:

  • Living near the beach.
  • Getting credit for MANAGEMENT classes that actually go towards your concentration.
  • A full time internship: working 5 days a week lets you get to know your coworkers a lot better.
  • Living among Australians: as a whole they have one of the nicest, most laid-back cultures I’ve ever encountered.
  • Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber all exist, so you won’t have trouble getting in touch with family and friends at home.

Rachael Gresham, London Internship

Rachael Zip LineAs a college student you are naturally inclined to fear the inevitable – graduating. In what feels like no time at all, suddenly you are in my current position: an incoming senior trying to write about the best semester I had, while attempting to wrap my mind around the fact that in a few shorts months I’ll need to deal with the big ‘R’ word – responsibility.  Go abroad. Before you have real responsibilities, grab the opportunity to travel the world. Build it into your schedule as a freshman or figure out how you can manage it as a senior; either way, do it.

Second semester of junior year was when I crossed the pond and explored London for the first time. BU London resides in none other than the posh neighborhood of South Kensington, with easy access to everything you could possibly need. Hyde Park is less than a block away, Imperial College boasts a gym and student activities they welcome you to join, the #9 and #10 buses run right along High Street when the Tube is too crowded to bear, and there are three grocery stores to choose from, in addition to the American favorite, Whole Foods, around the corner.

Being on the Pre-Law track, I interned with a law firm based in the middle of City, the epicenter of London and its original neighborhood. I was tasked with very basic office jobs: photocopying, retrieving the mail, logging files, making phone calls, and taking notes during client interviews. While the work was not overly stimulating, I loved being able to talk to my coworkers about their favorite parts of London, as well as the UK, and gain native perspective on the city I would call home.

If you are a homebody like me, the mere thought of traveling thousands of miles away can bring on an anxiety attack. This is actually normal; you are not in the minority. Just ask yourself this: if not now, then when? Going abroad taught me how to say ‘yes.’ It taught me not to fear change, but to embrace it, and fully enjoy the opportunities that might never come around again. Being abroad also taught me more about myself, as painfully cliché as that is. Take control of your semester. Be selfish – visit the countries you want to visit, do the things you want to do, explore on your own, and never say no. It might feel like you have all the time in the world, but just like graduation, your end date is looming and one of the best times of your life will be over before you know it.

Sure it was hard to leave my family, of course the exchange rate made it impossible to afford everything, and yes being in a foreign country is scary; however, all these fears subside when your Mom tells you how envious she is of your jet-setting lifestyle and your Dad is can’t stop listening to your tales of Istanbul and Croatia, places he’s never been. If you are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to not only travel abroad, but to live there for an entire semester, it is actually your duty to go. I am so serious, you must. Those of us who have returned need more people to envy.

Two Tips:

  • Immerse yourself in the cultures of the countries you travel to and find what it is really like to live; don’t just visit all the tourist traps.
  • Remember to sleep or you will end up sick for a week.


Haley Spechler, Dublin Internship

Haley DublinInterned at Brown Thomas, a luxury department store, in the buying department, Spring 2014

Internship: For my internship, I worked in the buying department for Brown Thomas, a luxury department store that was exclusive to Ireland.

I Learned: I certainly learned to be more independent.  I had to rely on myself to navigate around a foreign city, book weekend trips to visit other cities, and still manage to find dinner for myself every night!  Being abroad alone in a new city taught me that no matter where I am, I can manage and stand on my own two feet.

Hardest Part: I think that the hardest part of living abroad for so long is always being an outsider.  I felt as though social norms were different in each place I visited, and it was hard to keep up with all of them and still be polite!

Best Part: The best part of my experience was being immersed in the Irish culture, which is warm and welcoming.  The best part of Ireland is certainly its people, and I loved speaking with tons of different Irish people, both adults and teens, about their lives in Ireland.  Turns out, they are just about the same as us, but everyone is much less angry!

My Tip: Bring a raincoat!