Written by Guest blogger
I am Issy Bedford-Payne and I’m a second year student at Bournemouth university studying Events management. My semester abroad is at Montclair state university in New Jersey, America.
I have never been to New Jersey but I have visited New York three times. Being accepted by Montclair allowed me to live near a city I know to love and explore it over an exciting time from enjoying the end of summer to seeing the lead up to Christmas and New Year.
My course at Bournemouth is Events Management so I looked to pick classes that related most to this subject.
Hospitality Management was an interesting class that focused on the hotel and restaurant industry. It consisted of three multiple choice exams, a group presentation and paper with 5 short assignments throughout the semester.
Tourism and leisure were similar to the modules I learnt about in my first year at BU, this class only met once a week for two and a half hours although it would normally finish early. For this course I had to write a couple of short assignments with it ending in producing a group paper and presentation.
Training, Development and Career planning was a useful course that looked into creating training programs for employees. It is a course that I can see becoming very useful to me in the future and can be related to any work environment.
My fourth class was an Introduction to marketing which only met once a week like the tourism and leisure class and consisted of two essay assignments, two exams and one presentation. This was a relatively easy class that gave some insight into the marketing industry.
Classes are run very differently to Bournemouth as you will most likely be in ones that have around 20-30 people in depending how popular they are which means they are run like seminars. Classes usually have marks for participation which are for the amount of lessons you attend and whether you speak in class discussions.
When you are looking to choose which classes you want to take, depending on how popular the class is there are usually a few different options as to what time and what day they are on. I was able to pick my classes which left me with Wednesday and Friday completely free as well as only having one class on a Monday at 7:00pm. This can mean that you have more free time to go into the city and explore your surroundings.
I am 20 years old so one thing I would advise is, if you are considering Montclair for studying abroad and are under 21, I would recommend that you really think about America as one of your choices as the university culture is extremely different to the UK. There are not pres or parties held like they are here which does make it harder to mix and socialise with a wider group of people.
By not being able to legally drink or go into certain places does mean that you focus on finding alternative ways to spend your time.
My Personal Tips
o Get yourself a travel card from the post office. It allows you to top up from your UK bank account without any charges and will always pay for things at the current Post office exchange rate. A Monzo card also works well as it does not charge you a transaction fee. It will always cost on average about $3 when taking money out from an ATM.
o There is an Aldi at Lakeview avenue that is only about 3-4 miles away and is a lot cheaper than stop&shop. The university does run a shuttle bus every Saturday to Clifton commons which has a couple restaurants, as well as Target and an AMC movie theatre.
o On a Tuesday you can buy a ticket at AMC for $5 as well as popcorn and a drink for the same price. Campus can be quite quiet during the weekdays so going to the movies can be a nice thing to do.
o Montclair puts on a number of trips to see Broadway shows at a discounted price of $50 but you have to be quick as these sell out fast.
o Download the NJT (New Jersey Transit) app for checking train times and purchasing tickets. It may not be available on the UK app store so you might have to change your phone to the American app store and download it that way and then change your settings back.
o Get a subway card. It is slightly easier and much more convenient when it comes to topping it up as there is normally much less of a queue as it can be very busy at the weekends so it can save yourself a good 20 minutes.
o Carry cash for the subway as well because sometimes the ticket machines won’t accept your bank cards but if you press the option to say that is it a credit card, even if it’s a debit one, the machine should then take it.
I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to study out in America. I made friends and memories for life which would not have been possible without the study abroad program. I was able to experience many different things and explore a vastly interesting city which is constantly changing. The university experience was very unexpected and I have learnt a lot from the different teaching styles and assessments to help me in my further education.