Residence + living together
When I arrived in Boston, I was first overwhelmed by the beautiful location of the dorm on the Charles River and the way the house was built, known from numerous films. My euphoria was dampened a bit when I entered the room after checking in without any problems. The room is really very sparsely furnished and a bathroom of approx. 7 square meters was available for a total of 7 people. The windows were also very poorly insulated or not at all. The people on my floor were mixed up from all different cultures, continents and countries. Since everyone is in the same situation and doesn’t know anyone or only a few people before, it is very easy to make contacts and explore Boston, or to support each other with university matters. In the obligatory orientation and instruction phase, we were assigned to a tutor who showed us the university a little better and took care of the administrative matters with us. And there can never be enough of them for Americans…
The university itself takes place in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., we only had one class, “Introduction to American Management” either in the morning or in the afternoon. This course is compulsory for all international students. New for German students is also the assignment of homework, which had to be prepared for each lesson and, in some cases, also presented and included in the final grade with a mid-term exam and a final exam. One shouldn’t underestimate the homework, with up to 4 hours it could take up a considerable part of the day. The compulsory attendance is also a novelty for German university students. Whereby there were various “sanctions” for absence, In some courses, threats were made if you were absent more than 3 times, the course would be rated as failed, in others so-called make-up papers had to be written and sent to the professor. Compared to the German university, it is easier to get good grades in Boston, on the one hand because you are constantly forced to participate and do homework, but any questions can also be cleared up immediately through very personal support from the professors. The supervision ratio for my courses was around 1:20. So a professor for 20 students. This very quickly creates a kind of class community as one is used to at school. In general, I would describe the American university system as very schooled, which has various advantages and disadvantages. The classes themselves are very interesting, but unfortunately very little was done with Powerpoint Slides in my courses, so you really always had to take notes and what was said between the lines was of great importance. In the classes themselves, the participation of the students is required and also makes up a large part of the lecture. It is very interesting to have people from different cultures shed light on the topics. While in Germany, for example, a predominantly socially acceptable coexistence is propagated, in countries like Mexico or Korea, distributive and social justice are a topic that is rather neglected.
- Check topschoolsintheusa for more about The College of Engineering at Boston University.
Boston as a city
Boston itself is a very beautiful city, partly very similar to European cities. In terms of price, however, Boston is really one of the most expensive cities on the east coast, roughly on par with New York. Boston itself, with its many students and universities, is an educational metropolis and is well aware of its worldwide fame for this. Of course, Boston itself also has a lot to offer in terms of culture, such as many interesting parks and historical sights. I personally recommend watching sporting events like ice hockey, baseball, basketball and football. It is particularly advisable to take a look at the university teams, as they play really high-class and with up to 7500 spectators there is a great atmosphere, whereby the tickets are much cheaper. The legendary Fenway Stadium, like the TD Garden (basketball + ice hockey), is well worth a visit. From Boston, American cities like New York and New Jersey, as well as Canadian cities like Montreal can be easily reached by bus or car. A visit will be worth it in any case.
All in all, I would definitely recommend a semester abroad at Boston University. The only sticking point are the residences, the Residence Hall in which we were accommodated had both mouse infestation and various other damage (bad windows, defective heating) and were for German standards, to put it mildly, an impertinence for almost 1000 dollars a month. There is definitely room for improvement here. However, students are free to look for their own apartment, which is cheaper for the first time and prevents many difficulties with the somewhat narrow-minded residence staff. The university itself is great.