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swissnex Personal Mobility Program – Friendly and Dynamic Boston

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the swissnex Personal Mobility program. My destination was the great city of Boston.

From 8 to 22 May 2015, I stayed in the well-known HI Boston Hostel in the heart of the city. I chose this hostel because it is committed to «all things green». For instance, the building is registered for a U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification. It has a great atmosphere, friendly staff, and a customer base consisting of young, boisterous students. I was therefore very glad to have a room to myself, since working would otherwise have been quite a challenge.

Boston Has a Lot to Offer
I was generally amazed by the huge range of cultural and entertainment offerings to choose from in Boston. Besides the incredible Boston Ballet, there are many other shows in the famous theater district: musicals, singing contests, stand-up comedy performances, and more. Due to time constraints, I could not see as many shows as I wanted, but I simply had to see a ballet piece called «Thrill of Contact» that debuted the week I arrived. The scenery, the architecture of the theatre itself, and the quality of the performance were all breathtaking.

Boston is a young, dynamic city with thousands of students from all over the world and thus an interesting melting pot of different cultural backgrounds. Especially Chinatown and Little Italy are areas that are interesting to explore. I found the people of Boston to be very open-minded and friendly. Whenever they heard that I am from Switzerland, their eyes lit up. Obviously, many Americans have Switzerland on their «must see» list. And although Boston is a busy, bustling city, there is still space for people to relax – especially in the famous Public Garden with its beautiful setting. Last but not least, jogging along Charles River provides guaranteed enjoyment for all runners.

Faculty-Club-Harvard

The main highlight of my trip: Lunch at the notable Harvard Faculty Club.

 A Less Formal Way of Doing Business
From a business perspective, my trip to Boston enabled me to better understand the American work ethic. From what I experienced, Americans are less formal than the Swiss when it comes to dress code, small-talk, or e-mails. For instance, when exchanging e-mails with new contacts, first names are often used right from the start; this would never happen in Switzerland. At first, I found it difficult to adapt, but after a while I started to really appreciate the American way of doing business.

Moreover, this trip gave me the chance to personally meet our US project partners for the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days 2015 taking place in Zurich this August. I was also able to acquire new partners for our project, including the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Boston University, Greentown Labs, and the Boston Society of Architects. Without the ground work in Boston it would have been very difficult to convince such high-profile institutions to get on board.

Contact: Cihan Torunoglu, Department of International Business

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