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My semester abroad: Yannick @ Boston University

Yannick Manuel Ramcke, student in the Master Sports Business and Communication program at MBS, has just left for the USA to spend his semester abroad at Boston University - and to do his dual degree there. Here he reports regularly on his experiences.


Update: The first semester is drawing to a close

What particularly memorable or surprising experiences have you had since your last blog update?

In the meantime we had our spring break here at Boston University, which marks the middle of the spring semester. I had originally planned to drive to a sunny spot on the spur of the moment, but right at the beginning of the week off, a “Nor’easter” winter storm that is typical for the region paralyzed the entire US east coast north of Philadelphia. Thousands of flights were canceled and it was virtually impossible to leave Boston. That's why I spent my spring break in the snowy "Beantown".

Otherwise, one of my highlights in recent weeks has been the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The sports technology and sports business conference is the largest of its kind in the world. Fortunately, I was able to network with some like-minded MIT and Harvard students, as well as with students from other parts of the United States, as well as some industry leaders and media personalities whose content I consume every day. I also really enjoyed visiting my family just after spring break. Seeing them again and going on trips with them, for example to New York, was a great thing.

I mentioned it before, but still one of the biggest changes compared to my first few weeks in Boston is that I now live near the university. The fact is that Boston's subway was the first in the United States (the first line ran in 1897) and is often referred to as "America’s First Subway". Even today you can tell the age of the subway, it is chronically overloaded and it is extremely time-consuming if you have to take the subway to class.

That's why I took out an annual subscription to Hubway, the city's bike-sharing service, right at the start of my stay. While it's pretty good at $ 99 a year, cycling isn't necessarily the most convenient mode of transportation during the East Coast winter. But I'm looking forward to exploring the city by bike in the summer.

What do you have planned for the near future?

I'm looking forward to traveling the entire west coast (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas) in May. I also have to think about how to move forward after studying abroad here at Boston University in August. Staying in the United States for at least another year is an option I'm seriously considering right now.


Update: The semester begins

How were the first weeks abroad (semester)?

I've already experienced a lot and met many new and fascinating people. The first few weeks in Boston were also full of challenges, and it's pretty cold here - after all, I traveled to the northeast coast of the USA in the middle of winter. Probably the biggest challenge was that my luggage was mysteriously lost during the flight from Berlin to Boston and was nowhere to be found for almost two weeks.

I came here with three fellow MBS students; we decided in advance to bridge the first few weeks with an Airbnb accommodation and then take a look at the apartments on site. Since we will all be staying in Boston for eight months, it was important to us to feel comfortable in our accommodation, and we did not want to decide on an apartment from Germany and based on a few photos.

Just a quick note: if you think rents in Munich are high, you should come to Boston. Not only is Boston University located here, but other large and highly regarded educational institutions such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, and Boston College. After a while we found a huge apartment right next to the campus and have been furnishing it for a few days.

The university itself does an excellent job of looking after international students, and the range of services is fantastic. In the beginning there were even a little too many compulsory events, but now we can choose which events we want to participate in (get-together events such as bowling events, pitch competitions, various student organizations, etc.), depending on what we are for interested!

Were there any things that surprised you?

Given that Boston University is a large college with over 30,000 students, I expected a less familiar environment in the courses. I was then very pleasantly surprised that the learning environment is similar to that of the MBS. As far as the differences to the MBS are concerned, there are significantly more weekly tasks and more reading material. The academic level, however, is not excessively high; therefore, I am glad that I chose courses that cover topics that I have not yet taken academic courses on.

Have you joined a student organization and have you traveled around?

I actually joined the BU soccer team that we have a game with every week. The season has just started, but it's a great way to meet new people. I've finished my master's thesis in the past few weeks, so there wasn't much time to venture out of Boston. Since I'm very interested in the sports business and media, I took the opportunity to stop by a large esports tournament, the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018, which took place in the Agganis Arena right next to my gym on campus .

I'm certainly not an esports expert and have never looked at professional online or live before; but the “eventization” and “medialization” of the tournament was spectacular. Although I haven't heard much from gaming myself and often couldn't even see why a player won or lost, I definitely see potential for esports as an event sport - but watching streams of it on the Internet is another one in my opinion other things.


Why did you choose Boston University?

The question of which country I wanted to go to didn't even arise for me: I spent a semester abroad in the USA at the University of Michigan during my bachelor's degree in 2015 and wanted American culture, sport and lifestyle definitely experience over a longer period of time. Studying abroad at Boston University is the next step for me to see if I can imagine living in the United States, even after finishing my current degree. I've looked at places like Texas or San Diego and the weather there was certainly tempting. But after visiting Boston for a day in 2015, I knew the city would be my first choice. The possibility of combining my semester abroad with the summer school at Boston University and doing a second master's degree in “Innovation & Technology” rounds off the package perfectly.

What do you think will be different at Boston University than at MBS?

The classes at MBS - especially in the Master Sports Business and Communication study program - are very small and very interactive. At Boston University, I expect significantly more students to attend lectures. In contrast to the MBS, I will mainly have classes in the evenings, which I like very much because I then have time during the day to explore the city and the surrounding area. In addition, the university campus is very spacious and offers great opportunities to get in touch with others, including students from other disciplines. So far I have only studied at business schools, where you are constantly surrounded by “like-minded people” - high time to break out a little.

What do you hope for from your semester abroad?

I have two big goals for my time in the United States: First, I really enjoy the courses I have been able to choose, and I think it will be of great benefit to me to have a better understanding of areas such as digital business, e- To develop commerce and modern marketing techniques - regardless of what I will do later. After all, these areas are very different from my previous majors. Second, I'd like to get to know the sports business in the United States. I've already tried to network with some people and I'm looking forward to meeting interesting people. And last but not least, some of the world's most important conferences and networking events in the industry take place in the United States, for example the "MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference" in Boston.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I like to face new challenges. Finding out where to shop, go to the gym and where to eat is always interesting, and of course it takes time to find a certain daily routine for yourself - but I'm looking forward to it and I'm already counting the days until it starts .