My Study Abroad Experience: Sunayana Basa

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

I studied abroad spring semester of my junior year (Spring 2017) in London, UK.

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

I interned at a non-profit called Walkabout Foundation. I had a couple different jobs there – since I have had experience with social media from working as a social media intern the summer before sophomore year, I helped the foundation figure out ways to increase their social media presence by researching best social media practices. As a finance major, I was also assigned to work with the CFO of the nonprofit, Marina, to organize donations on Quickbooks for their annual report and to work on Salesforce to manage their donor information.

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

One of the biggest things I learned studying abroad is just how much bigger and diverse the world is than expected. I feel like the faraway places you read about never seem so different on a computer screen or in a book, but when you actually visit these places, you recognize that your imagination couldn’t possibly fathom how different they actually are. Another thing I learned (or more gained) from study abroad was a greater appreciation for America.  When I visited countries surrounding London, other young people I would meet would always seem to revere America and were so in awe of the things in the US that I take for granted. They would always exclaim how it would be a “dream come true” to study in the US, especially at a school like BU. I think seeing this adoration in different countries definitely made me appreciate my parents, the faculty, and administration of BU for giving me the opportunity to travel and see a new culture.

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

I think that, despite the similar culture of the US and the UK, there were some subtle differences between the two countries that definitely surprised me. For example, British humor is more dry and raunchy than American humor, and often times I would interpret a sarcastic joke as being genuine until someone told me otherwise. In fact, one English person I met even commented that in her experience, it was funny to joke around with Americans because we are so polite!

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was feeling like I was missing out on what was happening in Boston while I was away. Social media always makes it so easy to see exactly what your friends are doing and where they are, and it always is a little bit bittersweet to realize that they are hanging out without you. To be fair, however, the fact that I was in a city as big and beautiful as London definitely made them feel jealous at times too.

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of being in London was that we could travel a lot because the city is such a hub in Europe. In the US, you can fly for hours and still barely make it to another coast, let alone another country. Since London is pretty central, we were able to take a quick two-hour flight to travel to so many cool countries in weekend trips. I especially loved visiting Malta and Scotland—they were absolutely stunning!

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

Use your time wisely. Everyone says this, but study abroad flies by, and it is important to make sure you are really doing what you want with your time! Especially in a city like London, there is so much to see and do, and there are so many student discounts which makes it very affordable to go to different places. Also, travel! London is a hub and you should check out what is in the city, but if you can, getting out and exploring other cities and countries is a must.

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

All the outdoor markets are totally worth going to, if only for the food! There are so many more than just Camden Market, like Portabello Road Market and Spittlefield Market. If you are looking for a view, you can definitely go to the London Eye but also check out the Tate Modern Museum’s top floor for a cool view of London! I would also check out Little Venice and Chinatown for the food. If possible, try to get out of London (to Oxford or Cambridge)—both cities are beautiful!



My Study Abroad Experience: Nikki Reyes

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

I learned to be grateful about being from a big city in America and the relationships that I have here. Although abroad was beautiful and I saw things and places that I have never seen before, it made me realize that we have a luxury in cities like Boston and New York; everything is so easily accessible. It also made me realize that the world is small, and things and people are similar no matter where you go!

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

When I was abroad I had a lot of free time. In Boston I was doing something 24/7 – working at a job, keeping up with classes, managing student groups, working out, etc. But in Venice my only real obligations were my classes – and they were MUCH less work than what I am used to in Questrom. So I had a lot of free time – which was good because I could travel a lot.

What was the hardest part of your experience?

The hardest part of my experience was the slow paced life style in Venice. I haven’t had that much time to sleep since 6th grade. It was impossible to work out in Venice – there are barely any gyms and you can’t run across bridges. I wanted to have a job on the side – because I always have a side job – but it was hard to get hired because of the language barrier. Also, there were times that I missed my other friends and family (since the program was so small)

What was the best part of your experience?

Venice is such a cute and simple city. You always have access to fresh, yummy, cheap food. People are always out having a drink and eating. Also, I loved travelling. It is so cheap to fly somewhere in europe. A lot of things are a lot cheaper in Europe (Alcohol Especially). It was nice to experience something COMPLETELY new every single weekend. Europe is awesome because every country has such a different culture. You fly an hour away and the food, the language, the way that people look, the architecture, the history, is all so different – it felt like I was in an amusement park.

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

Don’t be afraid to spend money experiencing new things. You will never really have the chance to be in a different country for 5 months, with no other obligations, with a group of people who are all on the same page as you. Abroad is a great time to be refreshed. I had CORE the semester before and was drained – I wanted to travel the world and be an artist for a living – but after doing that for four months abroad, I came back to America refreshed, more motivated, and more inspired than ever before. It was as if I got the travel bug out of my system and came back wanted to get shit done.

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

If you are in Italy go to the Amalfi coast – the food is amazing and it is one of the most beautiful places ever. I think that although traveling outside of the country you are living in is amazing – you should also immerse yourself in the country that you are in by exploring different parts of it. As far as Venice goes – there is a super cool place that all the college kids go to called Billiardy (Like Billiards) – it is the only place in Venice that is open past 2 am. Also do the tour of the Venetian islands – it is a good deal and you can see all of the islands for the perfect amount of time at the perfect price. Also – drink spritz and tons of cappuccino because you can’t get that in America. Also — 5 euro pasta.

NISM- The Final Week

Monday, July 31st

The time had come. This was our last week as interns for NISM in Mumbai. We felt a sense of excitement and satisfaction as our short but hard work was coming to an end, but at the same time had a feeling of nostalgia as we were spending our last days together.

Monday was officially our last full day at work, since Tuesday we were visiting the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and on Wednesday the teams presented the results of our research to the NISM organizational board. So this day went by very quickly with final touches, editions, and additions being implemented on our work.

Tuesday, August 1st

On this day, we were notified we would visit the NSE and SEBI on the afternoon – and not in the morning as was planned – so we decided to go to the office for a few last hours to finalize our papers and presentations. After lunch, we jumped in to the NISM van and headed downtown for our visit.

Upon arrival to the NSE, we were guided to a conference room where we were served drinks and offered a couple of presentations on the general functions and history of the stock exchange, as well as the several aspects of regulation the NSE is subject to. Photographs of both the interior and exterior of the NSE building were prohibited – which is why we were unable to include images on this blog. However, a Google search of such magnificent building is definitely worth a couple minutes of your time.

Following the visit to the NSE, we then stopped by SEBI, where executive director Amarjeet Singh offered a very interactive presentation on in which we the interns participated in a fun Q&A session with the Director. Following our brief visit, we battled Mumbai´s traffic to head back home for a delicious meal and well-deserved rest for a big day the next day.

Wednesday, August 2nd

This was the day in which our work would be finalized. We arrived to NISM at our regular time (9 AM) in the morning and prepared any final details for our work and even had some time to practice our parts of the presentation. Everyone was a bit nervous but even more proud of our hard work and eager to show our final results in hopes of receiving the approval of the NISM board. At noon, we had lunch and practiced a bit more, but then realized the time had finally arrived as we headed towards the conference room.

The teams presented really well. Some of us were nervous at first, but as soon as we started presenting our final work, a wave of courage and even satisfaction helped us overcome our nervousness and present our work with pride and a smile on our face. After very positive comments and constructive feedback from our peers at NISM, each one of us received a certificate of the completion of our work, took some photographs, and it finally hit us that our work had been finished. It had all gone by very quickly after all.

Right after our presentations were over, NISM Director Sandip Ghose – along with his adorable wife and a couple of helpful NISM employees – invited us to a wonderful dinner in which we never made it to the main course, since we were full after being served entrée after entrée after entrée. It was amazing. What a feast we enjoyed as a final touch to our experience at NISM.

Following dinner, we decided to have a couple drinks as our final goodbye at our now-favorite Tight Bar. These moments again were filled by a mix of feelings: nostalgia for our time together coming to an end but mostly happiness for the time we had shared as a team.

We headed back home early since two out of the five of us had flights to Goa early the following day.

Thursday, August 3rd

On Thursday morning, we woke up early (ish) to prepare: we paid for our gym membership, cleaned our rooms, packed our suitcases, and tipped and thanked the NISM staff that took very good care of us. Early in the afternoon, Arran and Saoirse left for the airport to catch their flight to Goa, where they would meet up with some interns from the RBI programme for a couple weeks of travel.

The rest of us, Koen, Max, and Memo, had dinner with the students from Edinburgh and with our friend Sandeep Biswal from NISM. Following dinner, we went home for an early night´s sleep.

Friday, August 4th

Koen, Max, and Memo woke up early for their early flight to New Delhi. Their plan was to visit the golden triangle for four days – after which Memo would fly back home – and Koen and Max would continue their adventure in India for a couple more weeks before returning home themselves. It all went by very quickly; it was a one-in-a-lifetime experience and lesson none of us will ever forget.


SEWA: The Final Week

Somehow we have managed to make it to the last week and it’s been a busy one. Although we have had six weeks to create these reports, there was definitely a slight last minute panic to get everything in order and ready to present. Luckily, the projects seem to have gone smoothly and SEWA seem happy with our research and findings! After our presentations, we were presented with a Hansiba product and a book by the SEWA founder Ela Bhatt. As we had spent six weeks with SEWA learning about the embroidery and work that goes into the products, we were all really touched by the gifts and had an emotional good bye.

As it was our last week, we decided to make the most of it and visit some of our favourite places in Ahmedabad. Specifically, these included Manek Chowk which is transformed into a jewellery and spice mark


et during the afternoon. It is chaotic and completely unforgettable as you bump from person to person trying not to knock anything off the stalls and dodging the stall owners who are desperate for you to purchase something. It is also one of the best smelling places as all the herbs and spices are in bags, on tables and hanging from random poles!

Finally, we made the much talked about visit to Gandhi’s Ashram. This was a fitting end as throughout our six weeks he has been constantly referenced and so we could put what we had heard and the facts together. It was an eye-opening experience and definitely something we will remember as it was such a simple building that made such a difference. It was also amazing to see pictures of the bridge in Ahmedabad where Gandhi delivered some of his speeches and how it looks almost identical to when we drive over it, minus a few thousand people.

This internship has been an amazing experience and something that we will remember and learn from as it allowed us to see and use some of the theory that we have learnt, but has also opened our eyes to a different culture and way of life. There have been so many memorable moments, from the roads and rickshaws to the cold showers. A few interesting meals ranging from the traditional Gujarati to a chocolate and cheese ice cream sandwich but overall the kindness of everyone we met and worked with was unforgettable. We would like to thank SEWA, IIM-Ahmedabad, Newcastle and Boston for giving us this opportunity and hope that at some point we will be back!

Goodbye RBI!

Our final week was focused on finishing our reports and preparing for our presentations in front of our supervisors, senior faculty members and Madame Principle, who heads up the College. With a Monday morning deadline many of the groups were working over the weekend to make the final edits to their reports. Each group produced well over 10,000 words with topics ranging from FinTech to Farmer Producer Organisations.

After receiving some feedback on our reports, the presentations were formally scheduled for Wednesday morning. However, we got an insight into India’s bizarre work culture when on the morning of the presentations we were told that they had been postponed. Following much confusion and consternation our presentations went ahead that afternoon. Although called a presentation, a more appropriate word would be discussion. Questions were continually posed and there was much debate as they tested our understanding of the topics. David and Harry found their presentation running well over the one hour mark! Having completed our presentations and the internship programme it was time to give out gifts to our supervisors and say some emotional goodbyes.

After completing the internship programme we have been left with some time to reflect on our time in India. The past six weeks have been an incredible experience filled with many highs and some lows and along the way we have made some lifelong friends, ensuring that ‘The Special Relationship’ is still very much intact.

This internship has been about much more than just what we have learned in the classroom and in preparing our reports. We have experienced a different way of life and gotten an insight into the thoughts and aspirations of a proud nation which wishes to be truly powerful on the international stage.

Our time here has opened our eyes to the incredible challenges that India faces. We have witnessed striking inequality and many people living in economic despair. With a population of over 1.3 billion and so many young people about to enter the workforce there will be a huge challenge to ensure formal employment for all.

However we have also encountered the defiant and optimistic spirit of the Indian people. Witnessing the successful overnight roll-out of the new GST (Goods & Services Tax) showed that economic reforms in this country can be successfully implemented and there is hope that with effective governance and policy, India can eventually establish itself as a developed country and lift so many of its population out of poverty.

Finally, we would like to thank those who have made this internship possible, especially the GEO team and the Reserve Bank of India. Also we would like to thank all of the staff at the CAB campus for being so welcoming and making our time there so enjoyable.


Week Two at Atom Bank… Tackling the Risk Assessment


It was the start to another fantastic week at Atom Bank in the leafy suburb of Durham. The first task was to complete the impact assessment. Once we completed the final structure, we had a meeting with Dan in a cosy, colourful booth in the corner of our office. At Atom Bank, cosy and colourful are the two top priorities, so these booths are dotted around the office; it makes the space very comfortable and conducive to provoking great ideas. After the meeting, we made the last few changes and handed in the risk assessment before heading back to Newcastle for the evening.


Tuesday wasn’t the same since one of our group members, Leo, was missing from action. Without our trusty sidekick, we started on the actual risk assessment. We had a template to work from, so Akshay and Menno tried to work through the template and started filling in the empty spaces. After a couple of hours, we decided to discuss with Dan so that we could have a better understanding of how he wanted the risk assessment to be done. For the rest of the day we filled in the risk assessment and started shaping the structure.


On Wednesday, we were happy to have our beloved group member, Leo, back in the game! We started off the day by briefing Leo on what he missed from the day before and what we still needed to accomplish. In the middle of the day we had a two-hour meeting with Dan where he gave feedback on our risk assessment. After the meeting, we continued to work on the risk assessment until around 4:15. Dan graciously offered to drive us back into the city because he had business to attend to in the city centre. On the way, instead of going nonstop, he decided to show us a bit of the tourist side of the city. We stopped for pictures at the majestic Angel of the North, graciously spreading her wings towards the grey skies of the south. After a ten-minute stop for pictures, we continued on the rest of the journey and returned home with a new perspective on the city.


Thursday was the day we needed to make the most progress on the risk assessment, as it was the last day in the office before Monday. We spent the better part of the morning working on the finishing touches related to content and then finished around 2 pm. After taking a 15-minute break, during which Leo wowed us with his incredible beat boxing skills (he should be famous), we had a final meeting with Dan and Helen, the head of the Financial Crime Team, to discuss what we had accomplished. The meeting lasted from 4-5 during which Helen, Head of Financial Crime, said she found very helpful. After the meeting, we caught the 5:17 train back to Newcastle.


After four days of heading to Durham, Friday is always welcoming at the business school. The day was mostly used to smooth out the risk assessment and ensure that it had a proper structure. We then concluded the day writing the blog and having a little team bonding.

– Akshay

Final Goodbyes – The Last Week with Thomas Swan & Co.

Our final week atimage3 Thomas Swan was a brief but intense.

We had to put together the final presentation and report since we were presenting a day earlier than the other teams. Monday through Wednesday consiste
d of condensing all of our research into our presentation slides and deciding what information to include into our formal business report. Thursday was the big day! We were scheduled to present our proposal from 2-4 pm to the senior management team. They were the ones in charge of deciding whether or not the project was to be taken forwards. Thankfully our presentation was a success and the directors were really pleased with the outcome. Harry Swan, the Managing Director of the company, gave us certificates and a farewell present.

We also had a celebratory dinner at night at The Botanist (It could not have been anywhere else!). He informed us that the project was approved which was very exciting since it made us feel like we were part of something bigger. After some cocktails, a nice dinner and lovely desserts we said goodbye since the next morning we were presenting to the GEO team and the FSB interns.

On Friday we presented a briefer version of the presentation and talked about our experience during these last three weeks. We also got the chance to watch the other teams’ presentations and have lunch with the whole GEO group, Harry and Simon. It was a bittersweet day because even though we are happy that our project was successful we will miss going to the office every morning and being greeted by friendly faces.

Tonight we are planning on having a goodbye meal in China Town, for much anticipated Dim Sum. Isabella and Andrea leave tomorrow, Michelle on Sunday and Tony will remain in Newcastle for another three weeks. We would like to thank Harry for being a great boss, the Thomas Swan team for being so welcoming and the GEO team for this great opportunity! We will miss all of you.

Thomas Swan Interns

Our Final Week with the Reserve Bank of India, Pune

This is it. The end of the internship. The last day in India before we all head off on our own travels.

1The past 7 weeks have been an incredible journey, and as is the cliché, it feels like only a few days ago that we were all arriving to the RBI campus in Pune for the first time. However, since that time we have had many thrills and spills, ups and downs and have learnt plenty about the Indian culture, country and its numerous and diverse people.

Firstly though, we should carry on where the last interns left off and update you all about our final week.

This week revolved around finishing up our reports and preparing to present our findings to the faculty staff at the college. The deadline for the reports was Monday morning meaning that many of us were working over the weekend to finish the analysis of our research and make the last edit and adjustments to the documents.

The culmination of our work had to be covered in a 15 minute presentation on Wednesday morning from which the work was questioned and critiqued by our supervisors, faculty staff and the director of the college. This proved to be a good opportunity for all of the teams to fully explain the process of their research and their findings as well as allowing for us to receive good feedback on our approaches and reports.  The presentations all went well and provided a good source of education regarding our own research topics, but also the topics covered by the other interns.

Finishing this, all of our thought started to turn to what we were doing after the internship had finished with everyo2ne finalizing travel plans with interns preparing travel right across India. However, we all were able to have one last night out before we said our goodbyes and we were able to do it in style as on Thursday night there was an all-India Guns N Roses tribute band performing at the Pune Hard Rock Café.

The past week it has allowed for some reflection on our time in India thus far and we can definitely say, it has been an exp
erience. No more so than for Will, who has managed to watch at least 32 films on the multitude of English movie channels on offer at our accommodation and the cinema next door to us.

Over the past six weeks, not only have we made friends from all over the world, from America to Spain,
to all the incredible locals that made our time in Pune so wonderful.

The internship offered a much richer education then that which was taught directly at the college. It gave us an insight into a
nother viewpoint of life and direct access to the thoughts and aspirations of a country that has a deep desire to become respected and influential on the national stage. This is embodied by the same question you are asked when meeting new people in India, “what do you think of India”. There is a deep curiosity of the thoughts and opinions of foreigners in India and this is usually followed by an a sense of pride at the prospect of students from the US and UK deciding to come and spend time learning in their nation. There is a palpable optimism from the population that things will get better and that Indiadeserves things to get better. This is an ancient civilisation that believes its position is to be at the top international meeting tables conducting and directing world affairs.

The other interesting education point has been during our time here, we have been able to see a very limited snapshot of conditions in India. Through this limited scope it has led us to start comprehending the share size and scale of India and her people, and through this monumental task that is the governance of it. This has been particularly interesting to us as we both have a deep interest in development economics and when considering this size and scale it provides an indication for the difficulty of implementing policy across a nation.

Finally it is our belief that being outside of your comfort zone is the way to develop not only your skills within the working environment, but also to develop yourself as a person. During our stay in India we have definitely been pushed outside of our comfort zones on a number of occasions whether dealing with minor occurrences such as traffic or more serious ones such as differences in cultural and regulatory proceedings.

There have been highs, from meeting truly inspirational people, and lows, such as having to use a leaf when running out of loo roll (Imodium is key people!!!). There have been moments of sheer wonder at the spectacular and raw beauty of India and moments of sadness at seeing the absolute destitution and poverty that unfortunately a large percentage of the population still live in.

It is definitely worth noting however, that we were able to observe some of the challenges that face India, not least of which is how it is going to face it’s demographic head-on. It has the largest number of young people in the world and there are obvious concerns to how there will be adequate employment and education for these people.

We want to thank everyone who has made our trip so special, especially the GEO team and the staff at the RBI. We also want to thank the people of India for there (pretty much constant) hospitality while travelling through their nation.

“When all your wishes are granted, all your dreams become destroyed.”


GEO RBI Interns

Week 2 at Thomas Swan: Achievements and Early Goodbyes

Our second week st1arted after two days of rest and travelling. Some of us went to Edinburgh for fourteen hours and got to know as much of the city as possible. In total we walked more than 20 km! We were exhausted afterwards, but it was a very rewarding cultural experience.

Week 2 has been more productive, and more challenging as well. The team has been able to identify potential chemicals and explore them further. The first few days were stressful because we had very broad information and never ending chemical terms. However, as the week progressed we were able to narrow down our list of chemicals and our goals became more clear.

To celebrate this achievement, we went to have a nice dinner at Yo! Sushi and take advantage of “Blue Mondays”. It seems like a good deal, because they offer more “blue plates”, which are of the cheapest on the menu. It adds up though! Nevertheless, we were able to eat some nice Japanese food and desserts (our favorite was the Mango Mochi), and had a great time.

On Tuesday, we didn’t go to Thomas Swan because the GEO planned a field trip to Piramal, a pharmaceutical company about 30 minutes away by bus. After learning about the company’s history, we were given a tour of the different plants on site. We were fascinated to see how they transform raw materials into final products. Being able to see the packaging process was very interesting as well. We were then given a very interesting talk about leadership.yo sushi

Since we didn’t work from the office on Tuesday, on Friday we went to Thomas Swan for work (we normally would have worked from NUBS on a Friday). We had lunch with Harry Swan and Simon, the Technical Director. The purpose of the lunch was to say goodbye to Sachin, since he is going back home this weekend. During the lunch we were also able to discuss our progress and receive guiding feedback from Harry and Simon.
Once we arrived to Newcastle we said our goodbyes. Sachin will be missed! Next week will be challenging since we have 3 days to work on our project before our presentation on Thursday. Yet, we know we will be focused and work hard!! Wish us luck :)

GEO Thomas Swan Interns

Our Final Week in India – Week 6 with the Bharti Foundation

Our final week here in Gurgaon started off with a hectic trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal (it would be rude not to when in North India!). The train journey1 was just as crazy as the bus journey to Rishikesh in week 5. A lack of understanding resulted in the team buying the wrong tickets and the first hour of the journey was spent playing musical chairs across nearly all the carriages. We arrived at the hostel Saturday evening but had an early night in preparation for viewing the Taj at sunrise on Sunday morning.

It was certainly worth the effort, for when we arrived we were part of only a handful of people in the complex. The monument itself was even more spectacular than we had been told, however the ongoing maintenance work prevented any of us getting new Facebook profile pictures! Another highlight of the trip was bumping into another Economics student from Newcastle who had just graduated… Small world!

An equally stressful journey back returned us to Delhi on Sunday where another quiet evening was needed to prepare us for work. The last week has been the most stressful with the report needing to be complete for Frida2y and the small matter of presenting our findings both to the Vice-President and CEO of the foundation. We quickly realised that presentations in India are very different from back home. There is no etiquette for waiting for questions till the end and a phone will be buzzing every 30 seconds, however these proved to be nice breaks when presenting and the feedback we got was incredibly positive.

We finally finished the report after a painfully slow process of making sure the formatting and grammar was perfect, this had to be done because there is a very large chance the report will be published!

It was extremely sad saying goodbye to everyone at the office, as we have had the opportunity to work with the most amazing, dedicated people who have gone above and beyond to make us feel welcomed. We have all learnt so much from the experience and the chance to work on such a meaningful project that will help the QSM team in the future is the best thing for all of us.

The 6 weeks has been full of ups (and maybe a couple of downs)… from Chris falling in a giant puddle to working with the amazing students during the field work. We’ve been so lucky to experience the most happening place in the world that is Delhi!

Over and out,

GEO Bharti Interns