Welcome to the U.S.! You are one of the thousands of J-1 students from around the world who travel to the U.S. every summer, to sample American life.
Arriving in any new city can be a daunting experience. From apartment hunting to looking for a job and adjusting to life in a completely new area, it takes a while to settle in. Here are some tips to get you started!
1. Beware of Internet scams
When looking for accommodation on the Internet, be wary of any person who asks you to pay money up front online. Get the exact address and as many contact details as possible for the person you are dealing with (phone number, office address, email, etc).
Do a background check, look up their details online and ensure who you are doing business with is legitimate. Make sure you sign a lease which outlines the terms of your tenancy agreement. If someone is offering you a sublet, ensure the landlord is aware of the situation.
2. Reach out to your contacts
Reach out to every person you know already living in your destination. It could be family, friends or a long lost cousin, it doesn’t matter who. Just send them an email or drop them a phone call them and let them know you are looking for a job and accommodation.
You need to be as resourceful as possible, and reaching out to people you know should be your first port of call. When job hunting have your resume whittled down to a single page and have several copies printed off.
3. When finding accommodation…
When looking for a place to live, consider your overall summer budget and then decide on an affordable area.
Many neighborhoods in suburbs such as the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn offer very competitive rent rates. Make sure you view all accommodation before you consider renting.
Ask lots of questions of the potential landlord. Are utilities bills included? Is there air conditioning? Is the place furnished?
Do some research on the area and consider its proximity to public transport. Almost all accommodation in New York comes unfurnished, so take this into account when viewing.
4. Manage your funds!
Make sure you bring enough money to live off for when you first arrive, normally a few thousand dollars. Take into consideration most landlords will require a full month’s rent and deposit up front.
The cost of living in New York City can be very expensive. Try not to carry all your bank cards with you at the same time; just take what you need. Do not keep all your money in one place.
Budget for the summer ahead of you and always have some money put aside in case of an emergency.
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