In May 2022, the day finally arrived. I loaded my suitcases onto the luggage belt in Frankfurt, Germany and got on the plane to start a new chapter of my life – the Tech MBA at NYU Stern in my favourite place, New York City. 6179 kilometres away from my hometown in Germany.
Moving to New York for the Tech MBA can come with a few unique challenges especially for international students. But once those are overcome, it gives you the opportunity to have an amazing experience that you wouldn’t get at home! To make the transition a bit easier, I’ll give some insights on my personal experience during the last 7 months.
Finding a NYC family to celebrate holidays with is amazing
After you have found a place to live in New York, you obviously should make sure that you feel at home in the city. An especially lonely time for international students can be the holiday season, especially if you usually spend this time with your family at home.
Fortunately, your NYU community will have you covered. My most favourite experience during the last few weeks especially leading up to our Thanksgiving break was celebrating “Friendsgiving” with the Tech MBA class (see picture below). Even though your family might not be there for the holidays, you’ll be able to celebrate with your classmates and especially with your international classmates – more than half of the Tech MBA students are from abroad so you will have friends who are in the same boat as you and will be able to support you.
Early visa application is everything
Especially international students should ensure to start preparing early on as there are a few things to look out for. One of the major processes you’ll have to go through is the visa application process, which varies based on your home country. One amazing resource NYU provides is NYU’s Office of Global Services (OGS). Even before you’ve officially started your MBA, OGS is by your side and will provide you with step-by-step guidance for the visa application, and can even take 1:1 meetings for specific questions. The process can take up to several months, so it is highly recommended to start applying for your visa as early as possible after being admitted. Further things to read up on are US health insurance and work authorization – here again the OGS provides a lot of material to read up on and assists with personal advice.
Finding a home in the city from abroad might be challenging
Finding an apartment while living in New York can already be challenging – from abroad, with a potential time difference, it might be even harder. Thus, I can recommend two different but very effective strategies on how to pursue the apartment hunt for internationals.
1) Rent a sublet until the end of May to ensure you’re covered but have enough time to look at apartments in person. A lot of international students choose this way to find an apartment to make sure their new apartment is exactly as it’s advertised and to allow a stress-free move from their home country to the US. Since the full MBA experience anyways requires you to rent a place for 13 months (beginning of May Year 1 to end of May year 2), this can be a great way to rent an apartment with a regular NYC contract that runs for 12 months.
2) You can rent an apartment from abroad, but it’s helpful to have a friend go check out the apartment first. It’s important to do your due diligence and rely on the current MBA students to guide you through the process! Stern will send out a spreadsheet that can help you find a roommate in the program, and you can even rent apartments from graduating students.
Perks of having a large international community: International potlucks!
And last but not least – while it can be a bit more challenging to come to NYU as an international student, there are also amazing perks that come with it. The most important aspect for me is that you get to meet classmates from all over the world with different backgrounds. In our case, our full class benefited from all our differences, and we enjoy discussing different cultural backgrounds and learning from each other. One great way to learn about one another obviously is food! We regularly have international potlucks within our class, where everyone brings a dish from their home country and we have a delicious meal together. In the picture below you can see a few of the national dishes from our current Tech MBA class – Brazilian cheese bread, German cheese pasta, French apple pie, Austrian pancakes, Ukrainian pancakes & fish, Brazilian chocolate cake and of course Indian Samosas!