How It Feels Like To Live In NYC (Study Abroad Semester)
Since my teenage years, I have always dreamed of New York. The magical city, where all dreams are supposed to come true. A city that never sleeps and all the time has to offer a new excitement. Thanks to the iconic tv show Gossip Girl, which I started to watch when I was 13 years old, I’ve always wished to visit NYC once. Never have I imagined having the possibility to actually really move to the Big Apple. However, during my Bachelor studies, I could take an extra semester to go overseas. So, I decided to move to the city where dreams are coming true. Here are my experiences of how it really feels like to live in NYC.
A R R I V A L I N N E W Y O R K C I T Y
The first few days, I lived in the Empire Hotel because my room which I booked was not available yet. You can’t imagine how speechless I was when I saw the lobby of the Empire Hotel. It looks exactly like in Gossip Girl. However, besides the GG effect, the Hotel wasn’t that spectacular, and I was really relieved that I could move into my room after a few days. During my time in New York, I lived in Chelsea, Manhattan. The building was at Hudson Yard, and thanks to that, my room had a lovely and calming view over the Hudson River.
I decided to go to the Chelsea area because it is very central, and it was not too far from my university. Well, at least on the map it didn’t look so far. In reality, it took about 30 minutes, including getting out at Grand Central with getting lost every day for several weeks. Looking back, I got lost very often, even though my sense of orientation is not so bad. But the problem was that Manhattan only is already huge and all the metro stations have about ten different exits. Luckily one of my roommates was studying a few courses with me, and so I wasn’t alone when getting lost.
Usually, experts recommend to moving to another city a few days in advance. (You should really move away at least once in your 20s! Here are 5 reasons why!) However, I only came one day before my classes started, and therefore I didn’t have the chance to check out Manhattan in advance.
E X P L O R I N G M A N H A T T A N
Most of my NYC friends were studying with me. For a lot of them, it was the first time in New York as well. Therefore, we did all the sightseeing together, and of course, we tried out lots of restaurants and cafés as well. These are the 12 incredible NYC places, which we visited! Seeing all the NYC buildings and sightseeing in real life seemed so unreal to me. It took me a long time to actually realise that I am really in New York and that I was living my dream.
Something that I really like about Manhattan is that there is so much diversity in different areas. Whenever I missed my parent’s food, I went to China Town. When I was in the mood for la dolce vita, I strolled through Little Italy, and when I required skincare products or KTV, I went to Korea Town. Due to that, I didn’t get homesick at all, and I really enjoyed to live in NYC.
If you’re following me on Instagram, you could see that at one point I started to go out like crazy. Back then, I didn’t go out at the beginning when I arrived in NYC. I wanted to get used to the new surrounding first and also manage my exams well before having crazy night-outs. Partying in Manhattan is precisely like in Gossip Girl. Everything is glamourous, extravagant and organised with a lovely theme. I even went to Chuck’s Victrola Club, and it was an experience, which I definitely will never forget. (Nobody of us had a Blair Waldorf Burlesque moment though haha.) A thing that really inspired me was that I met so many hard-working people, but they all still went out at night and managed to have a successful career.
M A K E Y O U R D R E A M S H A P P E N
While strolling around Manhattan, I realised that dreams do really come true if we believe in them and primarily if we work hard for them to happen. The latter was an aspect that really matters. People say that dreams don’t work if you don’t do. When I moved to NYC, I met people who are crazy workaholics. I’ve never seen so many people who are working hard and fighting for their dreams like anywhere else. It was something that really inspired me and helped me a lot.
If you have ever been to New York City, you know what I mean when I say that NYC is a very fast-paced city. Notably, in Manhattan. People are always in a rush and in general, live a very active life (if you’re not stuck in traffic lol). Luckily, I am very adaptable, and due to that, I got used to the fast-paced flow very smoothly. It was my first semester, where I really managed a healthy work-life balance without losing my sanity and still achieving all my goals and dreams.
L I V I N G C O S T S
A lot of tourists come to the US with an empty suitcase for shopping a lot over there. It is no secret that American brands such as VS, A&F, Levi’s or even Apple are way cheaper than in Europe. When it came to shopping in the US, I did buy a few clothes, but mostly, I bought a lot of stuff at Sephora. The Sephora in the US is definitely my favourite one because they literally have everything!
But all in all, I still tried not to shop a lot because to live in NYC is very expensive. Besides the rent, you also have to consider the mobile network costs and the monthly metro card. Additionally, with all my spending habits (Starbucks addiction – very guilty!) there where are a lot adding up. Therefore, even though I loved my time in New York City, my wallet and bank account (and my dad too) were really happy that I “only” stayed there for half a year.
L O O K I N G B A C K
To me, my NYC experience will always be an extraordinary one because I have always dreamed about it. I met wonderful friends, who inspired me to go after my goals, and I am delighted that I am still in contact with them a lot. Moreover, for the first time, I really learned about myself, what I want and what I am capable of when it came to studying, work and my dreams. Therefore, I am beyond grateful for having the opportunity to live in NYC. To me, that place will always be a special place of career and dreams, and I can only recommend everyone to visit New York City for at least at once.
For a visual NYC impression, check out my video down below. Like, subscribe and share it with friends and family.
Are you interested in studying abroad as well? Here are 10 reasons why you should study abroad and how to choose the right study abroad program. If you’re uncertain about the destination and don’t want to live in NYC, London or Paris are both exciting cities to study abroad as well.