1…find your internship
2…look for housing
I dreamt of an internship in New York City in 2013 and my dream came true 2015 when I spend six months in this crazy city in an international German Tourism Agency. It took me about 30 applications, various interviews, fights and tears with the burocratic process, but in the end everything went smoothly.
This blogpost is aimed to give an overview of the steps you need to take in order to find an internship and what you need to look at for making it the best experience of your life!
1. HOW TO find your Internship
It now depends on which field of study you are doing. Since I am studying Tourism Management it was obvious that I checked Destination Agencies.
A tip for everyone is to look for companies in your country of origin that outsourced or have offices in New York.
Why would an American company employ you instead of an American citizen? So better focus on foreign companies.
– Check the website of the Chamber of Commerce
– Check out international Companies like Hotels, Restaurants, Logistic Companies, Airlines, Fashion Labels, and Charities (Heinrich-Böll Stiftung etc.) – anything that is on the international market eg. DB Schenker, Germanwings, Red Cross, Goethe Institut, Incoming Agencies etc.
– Ask EVERYONE. People always told me ‘Well, I don’t have a network to ask’. You normally have at least two parents right? And they know at least one other person, right? So just ask! Ask your dentist, the big brother of your best friend, your teachers… don’t be afraid. You like to be asked for advice, too right?
-Go to Industry Fairs. I found two internships in Morocco over a contact on the ITB (International Tourism Fair in Berlin)
– Never pay to do an internship! You are already studying and your qualification should be appreciated in an appropriate way. If any organisation or company wants you to pay in order to work for them, they are absolutely not serious!
– Stay the course until the end! Sometimes it can be frustrating to not hear back from anyone but stay optimistic and never stop to pursue your dream.
2. HOW TO look for housing
If your employer doesn’t provide you with a place to stay you need to find a cheap apartment in New York.
Well not too easy. New York is next to San Francisco the most expensive city to live in in the USA.
The rent ranges from 400$-1800$ for a room, depending in which neighbourhood you want to live.
And you should choose wisely because New York is so big, it took me easily 1.5h to get from Queens to Brooklyn.
Some areas aren’t accessed well with Subway lines and some connections take very long because you need to switch trains for example in Union Square, which can take you 20 minutes because it is so big and crowded.
therealdeal.com 2013 (prices increased since then about 20%)
– Ask your employer if he can give you contacts to former interns/emplyees that will soon move out or know how to find something.
– Ask in your Chamber of Commerce for a housing list. This is part of the Visa-Service, they will provide you with information.
-Check out this doc. from the United Nations Office
– For the ladies the ‘Webster Apartments’ in Manhattan may be interesting. This is a woman only full service housing property with meals, cleaning and events. Starts at 1100$ depending on your income. The ‘Kolping House’ would be the male equivalent. Keep in mind that you will not really get to know Americans in these recidences. For a more authentic and cheaper experience I recommend look for a shared flat.
-Check Craigslist 1-2 months before you arrive. The housing market is very dynamic and spontaneous in NYC.
– Alternative: Rent an Airbnb room for a month and go to housing interviews when you are actually in town. Or couch surf for free. Check out also 9flats.com wimdu.com gloveler.com housetrip.com
– Check out Harlem and the Bronx. The prices there are way cheaper and subway connections very reasonable. The times are over that you have to be scared to death when you get out of the train higher than 70th Street.
– Check out Queens near the seven train and Brooklyn at Nostrant Ave. these neighbourhoods are experiencing a big development recently and hipsters are on their way.
-I lived in Queens Astoria which is not that cheap but a lovely neighbourhood right near the East River.
– Check the train connections to your working place! The L-Train in Williamsburg will be stopped for a couple of years and commuters face lots of delays there.
My room in Queens, Astoria:
3. HOW TO Budget
Flight from Europe one way: starting with 150$ Norwegian Airlines (You don’t need to have a return ticket for the visa process!)
Subway Ticket: $116/month
Phone Card Lyca Mobile: 29$/month
Grocery Shopping: $250/month
Coffee to-go: 4$
Monthly average budget $1700
4. HOW TO Visa
The Visa process as a German citizen (J-1 Visa) was super time and money consuming. I had to take certain pictures, send thousands of documents. Wait for a deadline and a feedback, send more documents. Go to Frankfurt and do a Visa Interview in the American Consulate (Not allowed to bring any electronic devices or bags).
Start 6-4 months before your flight is with the Visa-Process. It will take very long and always make notes what you’ve send already and what you still need to do in order to don’t lose the overview after a couple of months waiting.
5. HOW TO pack wisely
American winters can get very cold (up to minus 20 degrees), so don’t forget to pack regarding the season you will stay. In 2015 New York almost didn’t had a winter at all, which was very unusual, but you never know. Only one crazy Blizzard, you can find the post here.
-Don’t bring towels or sheets, you will either be provided or buy some in China Town
– Bring sanitary products. Shampoo will cost you 6-10$, one toilet paper roll costs 1$ and so on. In China Town you get them cheaper.
– Leave space in your suitcase because you will go shopping for sure.
– When your stay comes to an end give stuff to friends/family that visit you or go to Germany soon.
– Alternative send some stuff via post. Starting at 30$.
– Bring reusable lunchbox and water bottle.
– If you are into superfood bring Quinoa, Chia, wheat bran or flax seeds as well as spices from home. It is super expensive there.
– Have all all important documents digitally saved, so you don’t need to carry any paper stuff around. Visa Doc. I would print out.
6. HOW TO make friends in New York
Own blogpost on this topic will come soon!
8. HOW TO not be broke within the first month
Own blogpost on this topic will come soon!
Own blogpost on this topic will come soon! Check out this post about the international neighbourhoods of NYC.
Find all my NYC Blogposts here.
Good luck with your internship in New York City!