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April 10, 2017

Boston Survival Guide For International Students Studying Abroad

Boston Survival Guide For International Students Studying Abroad

Welcome, bienvenu, benvenuto, bienvenido, herzlich willkommen, and 欢迎来到 to Boston!

The beautiful city of Boston has the potential to be a lot more than where you live and study. Make sure to go through this guide and see which ones you’ve done and which ones you still need to accomplish.

Important Notice: Enjoy the spring, summer, and fall while they last, because the second winter hits, you’ll be questioning the very nature of your existence. Fear not, as this guide covers on how to get through this brutal 3-4 month period.

Dorm Preparation

You’ll want to make sure you have all if not most of the essentials for living such as pillows and blankets for your bed, lamp and pens for your desk, the bathroom, and common area. For decorations and customizations, check out our other post on how to affordably and effectively make it your own. If you’re lucky, you get to live in the Little Building where there’s the option to be situated in a 3-4-bedroom suite that contains an actual living room. Having a table, a TV, gaming console, cards—anything to help bring together your roommates and socialize—will go a long way.


As an incoming international student, you will be participating in the Emerson International Orientation to get acquainted with a whole range of information to prepare you for a smooth transition into the academic world at Emerson in the US. Although it can be tiresome to attend each and every activity and meeting, you should definitely do your best to attend most events if not all of them. This is the time you get to meet with your fellow international Emersonians, make friends, learn important information you didn’t even know existed (especially those on Visas), and get a free show at the end of it all.


Public transportation is very effective in this city. Make sure to download Uber, Lyft, and SafeRide as alternatives, but you’ll soon realize that the best and cheapest way to get around Boston and its surrounding suburbs is through the T. If you’ve visited New York and had problems getting around because of all the different subway lines, you’ll definitely appreciate the T since there are only 5 lines that are very easy to navigate without having to leave the station and spend additional money. If you’re the kind of person who sees themselves using the T multiple times a day to check out new areas or to hang out with friends from different colleges and universities, you should look into Emerson’s Semester T Pass Program. Each semester, Emerson College offers a discounted T Pass that allows unlimited rides on all 5 T lines. It’s definitely a solid investment, but make sure it’s right for you; a down payment of around $300 can be a dealbreaker for some. If you are interested, however, make sure to keep an eye out for emails on the program as there’s a deadline to apply.

Group of Teenagers Holding World Globe Map

Branching Out

Luckily, you’re in a city where you will be surrounded by the world’s best and brightest students and academics. With the number of neighboring colleges and universities, it’s easy to escape your social bubble and network with students from different schools. Sticking with your crew is rewarding, but it can limit your interests and curiosities to explore and experience more in Boston. That being said, don’t limit yourself to where all other students tend to go. You should branch out and have an open mind to try new places in which you see potential, even if others won’t join you. There’s many places to discover throughout the city that will be both rewarding in experience and in potentially meeting new people with common interests.

Clothing (Winter Edition)

Tea, hot cocoa, hand warmers, and the heating at your place are essential for recovering from the cold, but the most important tool is clothing. Layering is effective, but it can be cumbersome. Don’t forget your waterproof boots, gloves, hat, and scarf. If you come from a warm-climate area, you might be lost as to which type of winter coat to get during this unfamiliar phase. Luckily, if you want and can afford it, you have the option of wearing Canada Goose jackets. They’re a hefty investment, ranging from $500 to $1,000, but for good reasons: quality, durability, style, and a lifetime guarantee. Of course there’s plenty of less expensive, high-quality alternatives: North Face, Patagonia, and REI are just a few.

We hope this guide helps make your transition easier and more fun. Comment below about your experiences and advice for incoming international students!

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