An Unforgettable Experience! December 16, 2021

By (Boston University) - abroad from 08/31/2021 to 12/13/2021 with

Boston University: Geneva - Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much from my experience abroad and really learned a lot about public health through both my internship and my courses. This experience was definitely worthwhile, and I would recommend it highly to anybody.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I felt very educationally stimulated by the program. I did the Public Health track and took Principles in International Health and Controversies in International Health which were both very interesting. I personally thought the content we covered was very helpful in exposing us to important factors in global health. Our assignments were graded fairly and were very applicable to the course. Our professor was always available for any questions we had and any advice we need, she also incorporated many guest lecturers in our courses from places such as the Global Fund, the WHO, GAVI, GENDRO. As an elective, I took French 1 which was slightly challenging due to the way the course was slightly all over the place. Through studying with friends, we all succeeded and got A's, and the weekly quizzes were very easy. The professor always told us what would be on the quiz, so it was very simple to succeed. The hard part about the class was the exercises in class and learning the grammatical structures of French itself.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration of the program was phenomenal. Students were supported fully, and going abroad in the middle of the pandemic was worrying, but all of our needs were met and our concerns were discussed. I had issues with my computer and it completely stopped working, and because of the language barrier I struggled greatly with sending my computer to a Microsoft facility in Germany through the Swiss Post. Thanks to the program's administration, they were there for me and completely communicated with the Swiss Post in French several times. As for health concerns, the administration was very helpful in guiding me to the clinic and next steps. In terms of COVID-19, the administration provided us with weekly self-tests, and even provided us with any updates in Europe or Switzerland in regard to COVID-19.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our living arrangements were perfect. The residence is in Eaux-Vives, a beautiful area in Geneva central to everything. We were able to catch buses and trams 5 minutes from our residence. There were also 2 grocery stores 3 minutes from our residence, one that was very affordable. The rooms themselves were spacious, and the kitchens had everything you needed to cook.

* Food:

I loved the food, it's very much cheese, meat, and bread based. There are also vegan and vegetarian options near the residence.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt kind of integrated with the local culture, but I think I made individual choices that led to me feeling less integrated than others. We were given the opportunity to join clubs at UNIGE that had international students, but I never did that. Because Geneva is such an international hub, it was relatively easy to talk to locals and they were all very kind.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

They were addressed very well. With the international insurance that BU provides, we were able to go to the Clinic for any issues we have and it would typically be covered by the insurance. I went to the clinic three times and was able to receive services free of charge, thanks to my insurance. It was very accessible, I never had to make an appointment as I typically walked in and was seen within 1 hour. The healthcare system is phenomenal, and they are very cautious with the medicines they prescribe which is different from the American healthcare system by far. The medicine that I was prescribed when I had a cold was a "natural remedy" that consisted of drops that you put into water - which was very unfamiliar as in the States I would simply just buy Tylenol. It was effective, but definitely took some time to work. That would be my only criticism, but it's obviously based on what medications you purchase.

* Safety:

Geneva is extremely safe! As one of the safest cities in Europe, I felt very easy-going in the city and oftentimes went wandering along on my own (as a female). There were no instances were I felt threatened or scared, which is definitely a difference from other European cities.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I gained incredible academic and professional experience, and truly grew a lot as an individual. I have tapped into an independence that I never knew I had.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I definitely think you are able to live well on a student's budget of about $100 a week, but if you want to go to other countries to tour a bit it can be a bit more expensive at about $200 a week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely budget yourself!! Several students created Excel sheets where they kept track of all their spending, on food, souvenirs, and travel, which greatly helped with limiting future purchases and staying on top of how much you have left to spend.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The structure of the courses and the internship
  • The people
  • The city itself and how central it is to other countries
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? N/A

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'