The Student Perspective
Claudia, Class of 2018
Economics and International Studies
One of my best semesters thus far has been the one spent in Hong Kong. This past fall, I studied abroad at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, a melting pot of cultural identities, where local and international students exchanged ideas and thoughts with passion, creativity, and innovation. HKUST is a largely STEM, research university, but also has a strong business program and classes are rigorous but rewarding. I took 4 classes - Organizational Behavior, Enjoyment of Classical Music, Economic Development and Growth, and Hong Kong's Economy. The latter two classes had research-intensive, team-based components , but overall, the ways in which I was challenged and encouraged to grow in my personal appreciation and knowledge of various economies and the intersection between social impact and business made it all worth the while.
Beyond the classroom, my favorite experience was being able to meet friends from all over the world, local and non-local, exchange and full-time, and spend time together exploring the urban and natural landscapes of Hong Kong on different hiking adventures and tasting the international cuisines offered in the city. On campus, I had the opportunity to help some newly-made friends compose content on their start-up company's Kickstarter page. Through these experiences, I was able to learn bits and pieces of what life was like not only in Hong Kong, but in countries across the world, as well as share some of my own stories. During the period I was abroad, I was able to have many candid conversations about the 2016 US presidential election, politics abroad, and the ongoing political strife between Hong Kong and Mainland China. Hong Kong broadened my horizons; I always knew how big and diverse the world was, but experiencing it in the microcosm of my interactions while abroad made me really feel the enormity yet interconnectedness of our world. The prospect of working abroad and the thrill of continuing future travels are two new things that drive my passion today.
Personally speaking, growing up as an American-born Chinese, I was neither fully Chinese nor fully American, but somewhere along the spectrum of the two. Going to Hong Kong, the birthplace of my parents, was like finding missing pieces to the puzzle that is "Claudia"- pieces I never knew I really had or needed. It's hard to qualify what these pieces are - they certainly aren't simply those associated with eating Chinese food, learning the Chinese language, or enjoying Chinese entertainment. Rather, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts as the puzzle's picture is now more complete but all the more growing. To those who are still on the fence about taking a semester or year away from the comfort of home, my answer is "go". Don't go as others have gone but make it your own and in your adventures and experiences, with companions and in solitude, find new places to appreciate and new parts of you to love.
Felipe, Class of 2018
Marketing and Finance, French minor
I spent the Fall semester of the '16-'17 academic school year in Barcelona, Spain at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Studying abroad is by far the best and most influential decision I have made in my life thus far. Aside from the beautiful destinations I visited and the luxurious food I indulged in, the mental transformation I underwent is priceless. The opportunity to see the world that lies beyond my immediate sphere of influence pushed me to open my mind and explore myself in ways I never believed possible. In short, studying abroad encourages you to reconstruct your view of the world and adopt a much more accepting mindset.
I struggle to single out a specific moment that I could label as my favorite experience abroad. Whether it be my weekend spent boating along the Amalfi Coast in Italy or the sleepless nights in Amsterdam, Netherlands, every single experience has its unique twist. Were I to choose, I would have to highlight attending El Clásico. El Clásico is one of the most anticipated sporting events over the course of the year that sees two of the best soccer clubs in the world, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid pinned up against each other. On this night, the streets of Barcelona were alive with fireworks, large crowds, and excitement.
Academically, my semester UPF was not as rigorous as a comparable semester at BC. I did find some difficulty maneuvering the courses taught in Spanish but was able to pull through in the end. While abroad, I took a full course load consisting of International Finance, International Product Management, Commercial Management, History and Culture of FC Barcelona, and Picasso, Miro, and Dali: a study of Spanish art. I was also fortunate enough to get four out of the five aforementioned classes approved to fulfill requirements at BC.
Overall, my experience abroad was unforgettable and will forever influence my view of the world. Behind deciding to attend BC, it is the best decision I have made in my life.
Kaitlin, Class of 2018
Marketing, Business Analytics, and Computer Science
I studied abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Because I've never been to Europe before, studying abroad was an incredible way for me to become immersed in a multitude of different cultures and truly understand how other nations feel about global relations.
I began by taking an Italian Crash Course for the first two weeks of the semester, and then took 4 semester-long classes afterwards. Because Bocconi is an internal program, BC approves many classes for major or core requirements. In addition to Italian, the classes that I took were: Organization Theory, Political Philosophy, Introduction to E-Marketing and E-Commerce, and International Relations.
Classes at Bocconi are definitely structured very differently from classes at BC. Attendance is not required and there is rarely any homework, so your grades are usually fully dependent upon either one or two exams. Bocconi is one of the most competitive business schools in Europe, so the academics are rigorous and I would say that the exams are very comparable to exams at BC.
Nonetheless, studying abroad is an incredible way to learn more about yourself and truly be independent. I traveled to 13 different countries and made countless friends (while also trying great new food!) Some of my favorite memories are befriending a Milanese family to go to their home for Sunday dinner and driving ATVs along the roads in Greece. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I cannot recommend it enough.