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Top festivals and entertainment during your studies abroad

Entertainment in America is not in short supply. If you have adequate transportation and some money to spare, interesting things to do in the States are relatively easy to access. Aside from day to day activities such as arcades, amusement parks, paintball, comedy shows and all the year round activities, there are the popular music festivals that people all over the states travel to see. These festivals are a great way for international students to get a dose of popular American culture through music and social interaction outside a professional or school environment.

List of festivals
Here is a list of a few of the festivals that you may find near you.
- AFROPUNK FEST Brooklyn: Brooklyn, New York -  The Afropunk Festival is an arts festival that is celebrated annually and unifies the cultural milestones of AFROPUNK or african american culture through music, film, skate, and art.
-Electric Forest: Rothbury, Michigan - Electric Forest Festival is an eight-day, two-weekend, event with a focus on electronic and jam band genres, which takes place in Rothbury, Michigan, at the Double JJ Resort.
-Made In America: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Budweiser Made in America Festival is an annual music festival held in Philadelphia, which was formerly held simultaneously in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
-Electric Zoo: Randall's Island, New York - Electric Zoo is an annual electronic music festival taking place over Labor Day weekend in New York City on Randall's Island.
-Austin City Limits Music Festival: Zilker Park, Austin, Texas - The Austin City Limits Music Festival is an annual music festival taking place in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas on two sequential three-day weekends.
-Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas: Las Vegas, Nevada - Electric Daisy Carnival, known commonly with its initials EDC, which is one of the largest electronic dance music festivals in the world and is held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada.
-Sasquatch! Music Festival: Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington - Sasquatch! Music Festival is a music festival held annually at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. In previous years, it has taken place on the Memorial Day weekend, running for three to four days.
-Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival: Great Stage Park, Tennessee - The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day music festival held in Tennessee featuring a wide variety of genres.
-Ultra Music Festival: Miami, Florida - Ultra Music Festival is an annual outdoor electronic music festival that takes place in March in Miami, Florida which puts on an exciting and memorable show.
-Lollapalooza: Grant Park, Chicago - Lollapalooza is an annual music festival featuring popular music of a variety of genres such as alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music, dance and comedy performances guaranteeing an exciting and eventful experience.
-The Governors Ball Music Festival: Randall's Island, New York - Governors Ball Music Festival is a music festival taking place in Randall's Island, New York City, USA with musical entertainment for anyone into almost any genre of music.
-Pitchfork Music Festival: Union Park, Chicago - The Pitchfork Music Festival is an annual summer music festival focusing primarily on alternative rock, rap & hip-hop, electronica, and dance music for many big names and local artists.
-Burning Man: Black Rock Desert, Nevada - Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City and is a unique experience based on self-expression where the entertainment stems from the community itself rather than big name bands.
-South By South West: Austin, Texas - South by Southwest is an annual film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that found in mid-March in Austin, Texas.
-Coachella: Indio, California - The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (well-known as Coachella) is an annual music and arts festival featuring many genres of music, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music, in addition to art exhibits displaying sculptures amongst other forms of art.

If these specific festivals do not appeal to you, do not worry. There are many more. All you have to do is a quick google search of: “festivals in _____”. (Insert the State you are interested in)  

While you will see the biggest names in music at these music festivals, they are expensive. In addition to being expensive, you may be looking forward to seeing one performer in particular. These festival are not the only places these performers play. There are concerts played in most major US cities where you can see the famous musicians live, that are expensive, though not as expensive as festivals, since you are only seeing one musician. If you look for them via search engines online and on major ticket sites such as ticketmaster and StubHub, you will find them.Do not forget to make sure they are performing near you. You do not want to pay all this money for a ticket for a show in Florida if you are in California.

During all major holidays you can find some popular concerts and amusement parks that will be great for celebrating American culture. It is important that you try to experience american   
Holidays such as 4th of july, thanksgiving and halloween in traditional forums. After you go to a thanksgiving dinner, set off some fireworks at a barbeque and attend a costume party you can use the rest of that time to experience the unique festivals that are customized to be themed around holidays, such as fright fest at Six Flags Great America for halloween.

Festival accessibility
Most of popular music  festivals are found in major cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and Chicago. So if you are planning on attending a school in a rural area, you are going to have to travel a bit to attend these festivals. Though a road trip with some friends can be an exciting experience in itself.

Music, comfort and expenses
These popular festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza feature the biggest names in American music in all genres. These events are usually three day long events with a wide price range depending on your budget. It is important to be aware that this three day event will be costly, however how much will depend on you. Admission tickets in themselves run in the hundreds of dollars. If you can afford it, do not let the prices deter you, because these kinds of events are part of the American experience and it may be a once in a lifetime experience for you.

It is possible to find good entertainment on a budget, though if you are trying to make memories, you may have to spend some money every once in awhile. Also do not miss out on celebrating American holidays which can be celebrated in a wide variety of ways. So try to have some fun during your time abroad.     

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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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