Fun and frolics at international orientation

Hi all! So I have been over here nearly a month and its been brilliant fun so far. I will start from the beginning…

First week  I was not one of the lucky 15 of 140 international exchange students to be given on campus housing so was left to find something when I arrived. My dad came over with me for the first week which was helpful in getting set up and we stayed in a motel about 25 minutes walk from the college. You can secure housing off campus before you arrive but obviously you wont see what you are buying and I found that it was very easy to find something once you’re over here. I was lucky to find a place within 10 minutes walk from the campus, in a building owned by the college. Next year it will be reserved exclusively fro BC students and I would suggest to anyone coming here to have a look at these apartments. A lot of international kids stay here, including my two French roommates. There is a free bus that loops around the surrounding area of the campus and I would suggest anyone looking for an apartment here to look for one on or near the bus route. It’s a great resource and they come every 10-15minutes.

Task 2 was to get a bank account and that was very easy. I went to Bank of America because they have ATMs all over campus. All you need is two forms of ID and you’re all set after about 20minutes. Mobile phones were a bit of an issue. I would not suggest getting a pay as you go as the rates they offer are terrible, and you cant get a contract phone because the minimum term is 2 years. I have ended up getting a pay monthly phone from t-mobile which for $55 about (£35-£40), which offers a much better deal. 

The college campus is nothing like anything back home. It is an enclosed campus, meaning all the college buildings including the halls of residence are within the university grounds, and even though there are only 9000 undergrads the size of the campus is unbelievable. There are countless places to eat, sprawling areas of open grass to lie and study or have a game of football, vast sports facilities and so many halls of residence I don’t even know what half of them are called!

The city of Boston is about 30minutes T-ride away from the college. The ‘T’ is a tram/underground transport system that runs all over the city, including a stop at the campus. Combined with the free buses, getting around the area and into the city is easy! The city itself is great, European in many ways with lots of Irish pubs and a huge Italian district with many restaurants. It has a lot more history than many other US cities and the ‘freedom trail’ is a good way to see the cities major sites. Sports are huge over here, with Red Sox baseball having probably the biggest following and the New England Patriots (American football team) also

International Orientation  About 10 days before classes start we have ‘international orientation.’ This is a scheduled 3 days of activity where you get to meet all the other international students (ISs) and your international assistants (IAs). Each IA has 3-4 ISs. They are a great source of contacts, info on what’s going on around campus and in general just to help you settle in quickly. My IA is a second year international student from Costa Rica and is has been brilliant so far in helping me settle quickly and getting to meet other students, both American and international.

The orientation is a great way to meet other international students and the IAs. Everyone is eager to meet people and making friends quickly was easy. Before classes started we managed to fit in (amongst other things) a trip to cape cod, boat trips around Boston harbour, a college American football game (they are a pretty huge deal), tours around the city, kayaking down Charles river and through Harvard, countless dinners and probably an unwise amount of partying!

Although orientation is only scheduled for 3 days, there are always things being organised both by international students and IAs. You find yourself saying ‘yes’ to anything that people suggest just to get to know as many students as possible. My advice would be to do just that. Do as much as possible in the time you have before classes. Meet as many people and join in in as many events and activities as time allows. I can honestly say it was one of the most fun 2 weeks I have ever had and set me up in a great mindset for the year ahead!

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