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7 important tips to find the best apartment in New York City

Who doesn’t want to live in New York City? It is an amazing place to live, many people know that. That’s why it is not always easy to find an apartment there. Below you can find 7 things that are important if you are looking for an apartment in New York City!

1.Allocate a budget

New York can be expensive, so before you start looking set a general budget.
-    Make sure you are aware of the additional fees that some landlords have
-    What are the average utility costs? (sometimes they are already included within the monthly price)
-    Try to calculate an average of daily expenses in the city (which is probably more than you are used to)
2. Make sure your budget equals your expectations
Are you looking for a room in a shared apartment (most of the time the cheapest option), a room in a residence hall, a whole apartment or a studio. Check out the prices and set your mind on something you can effort.
Also important to keep in mind; a place in Brooklyn is most of the time cheaper than a place in Manhattan. Brooklyn is a very up and coming neighborhood near Manhattan, perfect if you have a lower budget but still want the Manhattan experience. There is a very efficient Subway system you can use to get to Manhattan when you want to.

3. Find a roommate
If you really want to have your own place, but it is kind of expensive, you can also choose to share the apartment with a roommate! But where can you find a roommate? There are lots of useful websites and facebook pages where you can find roommates for different cities, for example; “AbroadTalk”.
4. Use a company to help you find an apartment
When you want to go abroad, it can be extra hard to find an apartment. Most of the time you can’t visit the apartment before you move in, besides that; you can’t meet the landlord. If you want to be a 100% sure you are not getting ripped off, it is smart to get some help from a company that is specializes in it. They probably placed people in many apartments before and have contact with the landlords. For example; Study Abroad Apartments.
5. Be open minded
I am sure we all know some great places out of movies or maybe you already set your mind on an apartment in a specific location, but there are so many more great places to live within New York City. Try to go in with an open mind and look for different options. Maybe your perfect apartment is something or somewhere you didn’t think of in the first place!

6. Do your research
It is very helpful to do good research after the neighborhoods you can live in. Some apartments may seem really great and nicely priced, but there is a chance that they are located in a not so safe neighborhood. Make sure you did your research before you agree to live in a particular neighborhood.
Also; check out transportation options before you agree to take an apartment. New York City has a great underground system and it is so helpful if you are nearby a subway station from where you can go straight to work or school.
7. Google the terms.
While looking for housing, you will bump in several terms you never heard of. If you are not sure what they mean, google them.
For example, do you know the difference between a rental and a sublet?
Rental: this is an apartment where you sign a lease for a fixed period of time, you’ll also have a landlord (mostly long term).
Sublet: someone (the owner) already signed a lease for that apartment but the current tenant wants to rent out the apartment for the time they are not home (mostly short term).

This post was contributed by the team. [Study Abroad Apartments is the global marketplace for student accommodation. SAA helps customers find and book rooms, studios and apartments for their studies abroad across Europe and the USA. Study Abroad Apartments' US headquarters are in New York City and the Europe HQ is in Barcelona, Spain.]

Hacking American culture as an international student

Traveling to a new place can be stressful. Traveling to a new country and adapting to its culture is something entirely different. As an international student, there are a few things you will need to know about adapting to American culture. Acclimating to American culture is all a matter of perception, you just have to notice the subtle or not so subtle cues. Be sure that you do not let one bad interaction deter you from continuing to interact with people. Communication is key when it comes to adapting to a new culture, especially American culture.

Interaction with the public
Americans are not as straightforward you may be used to. When asking for directions or just saying hello to someone, Americans are either engaging or distant. If someone ignores you it is best to leave them be and ask someone new. Additionally, if you are in a conversation with someone and they keep looking or edging away from you that is a sign that they do not want to talk, they are just trying to be polite. Conversely, if they do not fidget or move away they really do want to talk. Some Americans will say or ask you something when they really just want to be polite. They do not necessarily want to engage in a long conversation. If someone engages you, it is possible they are just being nice. In situations such as those, look at their behaviors just as before. Lack of eye contact, not seeming to be paying attention or other behaviors of that nature.

When you study abroad do not be afraid to talk to people. Interacting with people is the best way to learn about cultural differences and making new friends or acquaintances. Firsthand experience is the best way to acclimate. Most people will be nice depending on where you are, however not everyone will be nice, but do not think too much of that. Just move on and keep you head up high. People interact in different ways depending on your location. People in Chicago may be more engaging than say someone from New York City. With time, you will find the group of friends that you will be able to relate to. Most likely, a mix of international and American students.

Common phrases
Americans tend to use many slang words that may not be used by their literal definition, instead they are used to express excitement or displeasure. Here are a few examples of words that may be misconstrued or confusing, words you may hear often.
Awesome - this word is used very often and it is used simply to express excitement. An example would be, “That concert was awesome! You have to go see it.”
Cool - cool can be used to describe the temperature or, like awesome, this word can also be used to express excitement, but in a different way than awesome. Cool is used more nonchalantly. An example would be, “You wanna go to that party tomorrow, should be awesome?”  “Cool! I’d love to go!”  
Beat - aside from in competition this word is used as a replacement for tired. “I was up ‘till three in the morning. I’m beat.”
Hang out - to hang out is to spend time with or it can also mean the place where you like to spend your free time. “You wanna hang out? I usually hang out at the mall but, we can go wherever you want to.”  
Ripped - someone who is in good shape is considered ripped. “Dude you’re ripped! What, do you work out ten times a day?”  
Ripped off - ripped is different than ripped off. To be ripped off is to have gotten a bad deal or in some cases robbed. “You got ripped off - that’s nowhere near worth one hundred dollars.”
Geek - these last two words can be playfully used if used on a friend, but be careful. Geek is used as an insult to someone who is smart or antisocial. “Dude, you are such a geek!”, if talking to a close friend geek is okay, and in some scenarios, such as when talking to tech people, geek can be a compliment.
Loser - this word is used as an insult. “Dude, you are such a loser!”

Remember that when it comes to acclimating in America social interactions can be your best friend, but you need to be careful with the words you use and be aware of the words that others use and their meaning. Body language is also important whether you are talking to a friend or a stranger, so pay attention. You will have no problem adjusting during your studies abroad, as long as you know what to look for and keep an open mind, understanding that it will take some time until you fully understand the new culture. With this understanding, your transition will be smooth and you will have an awesome time in America.

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The international student guide for the summer

When you study abroad, you usually think of school or work abroad, but now that final exams are done and the stress of school is gone, many students find themselves thinking about what to do with the long summer vacation. As the temperature rises, our motivation to do anything decreases and the long, boring summer months can be just as cruel as exam season. However, summer can be an energizing time used as an opportunity to get some good experience and find new areas of interest. Here are some tips on how to make summer exciting and productive.

Internships Abroad
If you are looking to add to your work experience and something major to your resume, you should consider an internship, especially one related to your field of study. Partaking in an internship has many benefits such as skill development and professional connections. You can add experience to your resume and develop connections to important people. If you do well enough at your internship and impress the people working there, they may even offer you a full time job when you get out of school. Also some internships in America are paid.

Volunteering Abroad
Another activity that will help you gain skills and add experience is volunteering. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities in America such as raising money for the people with special needs or helping save animals. You can also choose to volunteer in developing countries and develop leadership skills, cultural understanding and good work ethic, all of which will help you during your school year and future career. Many organizations like Projects Abroad, Volunteers around the World, or Build Abroad exist and can help you find the best program for you in South or Central America, or in Asia. You will build houses and help feed people in poverty. This also gives you the opportunity to create friendships with new and exciting people from around the world who will volunteer with you. While it is not something you would get paid for, it is something that you will learn a lot from and experience new skills in a really positive way, and more importantly - you will make a real difference in people’s lives.

You’re in a new country! Take some time over the summer to explore your surroundings and view both the city life and nature. Go hiking or skiing or try out a new restaurant. Travel to different cities and see what each place has to offer. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience so make the most out of it by taking in everything the country has to offer. Exploring can also help you get over culture shock, and make you feel closer to the locals. Remember to also take a lot of pictures so you can make your experience last forever.

Now is the best time to sit down and relax after a hard semester. Read a book, watch a TV show or eat your favorite meal, you deserve it! This is the best time to reenergize for the next semester. Take this time to call your friends and family back home. Stay relaxed but don’t get too comfortable, the next semester is right around the corner, and graduation is not too far away. Beyond relaxing, try to take advantage of at least part of the summer to do something productive that will position you towards success following graduation.

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How to build your resume for studying and working in the US

If you’re applying for a job or university in the United States, you’re probably wondering how you can make yourself stand out amongst the thousands of other students competing for a spot in that university. The best way to distinguish yourself from everyone else is to provide an organized and impressive resume. When applying for a US job or university, the first thing potential schools or employers look at is your resume. No matter where you apply to, you will be asked to present your resume. Here’s how to build a winning resume:

Rules of a good resume
  1. Do not make it longer than one page - Employers and universities spend 2 minutes at most looking at your resume. Only put the important information on there and do not put anything that does not help you.
  2. Do not make any grammatical mistakes - If you have any grammatical mistake in your resume it is perceived to show unprofessionalism and carelessness. If you need, have a native English speaker look over your resume before you finalize it. Also, in resumes it is better to avoid the “I” pronoun and the first person tense.
  3. Make yourself look as good as possible - Use past leadership experiences and titles to your advantage. The best place to brag about who you’ve worked with or what you’ve done is in your resume. If you founded an organization or did some interesting volunteer work, mention it! The resume is not the place to be shy.
  4. Format and organization are very important - Keep your resume consistent with the tenses and wording you use, otherwise it can end up being very confusing. Also keep related information close to each other, for example put all of your personal information at the top and all of your work experience in another category somewhere else on the page. Do not mix between the sections.

American resumes have specific rules:
  1. Use keywords - Unfortunately, some resumes aren’t read very carefully, there are simply too many that the company or school are looking at. They look for key phrases and words that they think will fit with their environment. Most keywords are action verbs that show you have a diverse skillset such as proficient in, facilitated, mastered, negotiated, led and specialized. Also use keywords related to the degree or position you are seeking. It will help you get noticed.
  2. No pictures - As opposed to many other countries, on an American resume you should not put too much personal information (such as date of birth or ID number), and you should definitely not include any pictures. There is a fear of discrimination in the US based on these factors, and you do not want them to have this fear when they are reviewing your materials.
  3. Think about how you will fit in - A lot of companies and schools are looking for fit more than specific accomplishments. Use your resume as an opportunity to express how you stand out and how you will be a better fit than anyone else. If you need to, do some research on the company or school to figure out what they are looking for.
Main differences between a job resume and a university resume
While a university and job resumes have the same basic structure and intent, there are a few key differences. In a job resume you want to express what you are looking for in a work environment and that you have the right skills and experience to be able to perform the job you are applying for. Professional fit is the most important aspect for a job resume. For university, they will want to see how you as a person and as a student will fit into the academic and social environment, therefore you will need to show how you were involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs leadership activities, so include organizations, volunteer work and sports teams that you have been a part of. Another difference between the academic and professional resume is the order. In the academic resume, education will be first. In the professional resume, list all of your professional experience first and put education further down.

Whether it is for a Job or a university program application, your resume is the first contact with your future employer or university so you should really perfect it. You can also ask your professors, friends in your current school, or a GradTrain coach to review it if necessary. Use all the help you can get!

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Best tips for finding a summer internship while studying abroad

As a foreign student on an American campus, you surely want to enjoy your long summer vacation, but you also might want to take full advantage of this time to prepare yourself for the next step after graduation. Summer is the best time to explore the country, but also to learn and develop professional skills. With a student visa (F-1 or J-1), students are eligible to work (in some cases paid and in some cases unpaid) in study-related positions to help develop skills and to start a professional network abroad.
Continue reading if you want to know about the best strategy to land a great summer internship.

Summer job or Summer internship? Gaining a summer job or internship depends on the type of visa that you have. If you have an F-1 visa you can apply for a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) position and get paid for it or for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) position. Still, some conditions must be met and your internship must be approved by the school’s International Student Office and the Immigration Office. For students with a J-1 visa you can access OPT positions like students on an F-1 visa and your internship must be related to your field of study.

Where to search and how to apply?
The internet can help you find the perfect summer internship or job. The following websites are great to search for a summer internship : USA internships,, or AngelList if you are looking for internships at start up companies.  
Also, do not hesitate to check in on your student careers office on campus. You can find some internships or job opportunities for the summer and can sometimes connect with previous students who can also share their experiences with you. Do not hesitate to use your network on campus to help you think about and find internships.

Adapting your profile to the market is also key, especially your resume
American recruiters spend no more than 2 minutes on a resume (and in many cases less than 10 seconds), so think about what to write! It should be no longer than one page and without any pictures or personal details. Have it reread by a native American or a career counselor on campus. Once you are ready, send your resume with a personalized e-mail to the recruiters or directly answer to the job opportunity.

What to look for?
Summer internships can be a great opportunity to gain work experience in your field of study. Ask some of your professors which jobs would help in building your career and would look great on your resume for after your graduation. Most of the time students are very particular about the companies they want to intern for and are willing to consider only top multinational companies, but this might not be the best place to learn a lot and have interesting tasks. Law students can apply to work with law firms as summer interns or at the in-house legal department of a foreign company. The American Bar Association itself also has some internships.  As to business or finance students, a great experience is working in a bank during the summer and you can find offers for these positions on Indeed. You will help clients, deal with checks and simple bank operations which will help you develop practical skills. If you want to work extra hard and get serious experience, big banks such as Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan Chase offer a lot of interesting positions. Even though the experience may be limited, you will experience the reality of work and stand out on your resume as motivated to work and learn, with some real world experience to show for your efforts.

But above all, do not forget that a summer internship experience is what you decide to make of it! Be proactive and see what you can learn during this time. Take this opportunity to create relationships and make connections to learn about your future, which will help you make the right career decisions towards graduation.

Need more help with planning your studies, internships and the steps following graduation?