Congratulations! You’ve got into school in NYC. Or you’ve found an internship. Or maybe, you’re just dreaming about spending a semester in New York City and considering your options?
Either way, I’m going to share my best pieces of advice on how to make it to the Big Apple. On a less positive note, making it over here beyond a tourist visa is easier said than done. But don’t fret.
With careful planning, you can totally become a New Yorker for a semester! Here’s how.
Plan ahead of time
You want to go to NYC for an extended period of time.
Step one: Figure out how and start ahead of time, as getting accepted into school or finding an internship is time consuming. Will you be lucky enough to get accepted into a NYC university for a semester? Or are you more into the idea of interning at a NYC-based company?
The former can be done through CBS by applying to one of their partner universities. If the latter sounds more up your alley, it’s time to start applying to the NYC companies that sound interesting.
Add to your résumé that you’ll take care of your own visa, so the prospective companies are aware that they don’t need to cover visa costs for you. This will up your chances of them hiring you.
Time to apply for the visa
By now, you’ve found an internship or been accepted at a university. Congrats!
Time for the second step – applying for the visa, more specifically a J1-visa, which is a visa for students and interns. This is a rather complicated process – mostly because it takes a minimum of three months to apply and it comes with a price tag of around 15,000 DKK.
The way to apply and the price tag differ depending on the method you choose. You’ll need a visa sponsor that will help you through the application process. Examples are Kilroy or the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Write them an email and take it from there – but be sure to start applying ahead of time!
Save that money, honey
Not only is the visa expensive – so is living in NYC. In order for you to enjoy your time while living in NYC, you’ll thank yourself for having saved up some money to live life in NYC so you won’t have to say no to museum visits, dinners and cocktails.
On a J1-visa, you’re not allowed to work in the US, which means that unless you have a remote job from home that you can bring with you to NYC, you’ll have to live off your SU and savings. Do yourself a favor and save up money so you can really enjoy and explore NYC.
Get the grant
Luckily, there are options for supplementing your own savings. By applying for grants!
There are plenty of prospective grants to apply for depending on what you’re pursuing, whether it’s an internship or a semester abroad. Some grants even have further demands: that you have to come from a specific country or city, or have a specific grade point average.
Roof over your head
Well done – you have your university or internship, your visa, your savings – now all you need is a roof over your head.
On the bright side, it’s fairly easy to find a place to live in NYC. On the not-so-bright side, rent is incredibly high. In the search for a place to live, the internet is your friend. Google away and join different Facebook pages and it won’t be hard to find a place to stay.
Fill out your bucket list
You’re good to go! It’s very exciting – you can look forward to being a New Yorker for a set amount of time. From experience, I know that while it might seem daunting, your time in NYC will fly by!
Before I moved, I did some soul-searching and gave some thought to what I wanted out of my stay in NYC.
I wrote down a few lines with the goal of obtaining these in my time in NYC. I also did a more low-key ‘bucket list’ with things like ‘see a show on Broadway’, ‘go to x restaurant’, ‘weekend trip to the Catskills’ and about 100 more things.
This is a good way of making sure that you spend your time wisely, because before you know it, it will have passed!
Hopefully these tips and advice can make it seem a little more doable to take the plunge and head for the Big Apple. It takes some work to get the paperwork together for the visa, but the reward of living in NYC will be worth it all! Best of luck.