“So where are you going to live?” I heard this question over and over again, when saying good-bye to friends and family to start the UIC Liautaud MBA program in Fall 2013. Organizing a move to a new city is not the easiest thing to do. Here are a few tips to help you with your move.
Incoming international students: When moving to a new city and without knowing anyone, where are the right places to look for an apartment? Where are the best and most convenient areas to live? While I had moved within Europe a couple of times and visited Chicago before, the city seemed to be an enigma for me. I had no sense of orientation and did not know anything about the different neighborhoods or even what rent prices to expect. For me, as an incoming international student, campus housing seemed like a good option. On campus: Grad students have the opportunity to work with UIC Housing and can live in Single Student Residence (SSR) where each student has an individual room and shares a kitchenette and bathroom within each unit. There are also single apartments available, too. SSR is located on west campus and is very convenient to all kinds of transportation, like the CTA trains, buses, and the UIC Campus Shuttle. Additionally, the entire building is connected via a tunnel system to Student Center West (SCW) and the UIC Sport and Fitness Center. Also, if you're concerned about the roommate situation, put your mind at ease. Campus Housing matches roommates based on personality, determined by a version of the Meyer Brigg's personality test that each student must complete before moving-in. My roommates are fantastic, and it's great how we were paired up based on our respective personalities.
Off-campus: When thinking about living off-campus, one should keep in mind the location of UIC on the blue line (UIC Halsted) and the time it will take to arrive to campus everyday. An apartment with access to the blue line will make the commute much easier and faster. Popular neighborhoods include: Wicker Park, Gold Coast, Bucktown, Lakeview, Little Italy and Greek Town. Finding an apartment however, will be difficult when searching from another city or country. The search can be difficult because one cannot meet with potential landlords and roommates before moving-in nor physically see the place before signing a lease. It is definitely recommended to find other graduate students to live with since interests and schedules are prone to be alike. Websites that have helped fellow students find roommates and a place to live, are Craigslist, easyroommate.com, and realtor websites. (Listed below)
General advice: Choosing the right neighborhood will also depend on your budget, because costs do vary depending on location. Furthermore, pay attention to the two months lease renewal rule of thumb. Normally, lessees notify their landlord that they will be moving out two months before the end of their lease. So if you are thinking about coming to Chicago in August, start looking by the beginning of June.
Here are some resources that might come in handy when looking for an apartment: