By Hannah Blaze
With college students around the country in the midst of finding their summer 2018 internships, I thought I would share my experience interning in the Big Apple. I went into my search last year knowing nothing about life in New York or what to expect out of it, and I believe knowing this information could have helped me out a ton. This guide can give you a little insight into what you should expect, and help you prepare for the exciting opportunity! Keep in mind that I am definitely not a city expert (as this was my first summer in the city) and that everyone’s experience is a little bit different, but this should definitely help in a general sense!
Where I Interned:
I interned at a company called Dormify, and if you haven’t heard of them before, they sell super trendy dorm & apartment decor for young adults. I was a Content and Media Intern and did so many fun things including writing blogs, helping manage their social media accounts, as well as helping conduct photoshoots. Overall, it was such a rewarding experience, and I learned so much from the incredible women working there!
It was an eight-week long internship, and I worked 30 hours a week. They were super flexible with how I spread my hours out, as long as it was consistent. I averaged around 7-8 hours a day, Monday through Thursday, and then I took my Friday’s off. I took the subway to and from work each day, and it only took around 10-15 minutes (walking + subway included) to get there. Unfortunately, the internship was unpaid, but they gave me a very thoughtful gift at the end of the 8 weeks!
Where I Stayed:
I stayed in the NYU dorms over the summer, specifically in Brittany Hall. The location was as good as it got, right off of Broadway and 10th. Washington Square Park was a five-minute walk, and it was a ten-minute walk from some of the world’s best shopping in SoHo. The dorm room itself was really nice and spacious, with nice high ceilings. The rooms came with their own bathroom as well which was extremely handy, but they were pretty small. I was with a triple and received two random roommates. If you have other friends staying in the city, I definitely recommend rooming together, as I honestly think it would make the experience all the more amazing!
The biggest downside about this dorm was the fact that it didn’t come with a fridge or kitchen. New York food can be extremely pricey and when you have to buy all of your meals every single day really added up. NYU did force us to purchase an additional meal plan, which gave us one dining hall meal a day, as well as around $30 of what we would call ‘declining balance’ per week. I definitely made use of the declining balance and would go run and grab a coffee drink before work each morning, but I am notably anti-dining halls (I have used three meal swipes this entire semester, and I am allotted seven per week) and would never go to the NYU cafeteria. The one upside was that we could use our meal plan at a particular Dunkin’ Donuts and get a sandwich and coffee in exchange for a meal swipe, which I did very often!
Although I am not reasonably certain on the exact cost of my room and meal plan, all together I would say it was in the $3000-4000 range for the entire 9 weeks that I stayed there. Yes, that is exceptionally pricey- welcome to New York lifestyle.
If you asked me if I would stay at NYU again, the answer would be no. If I do return to New York for another internship, I am going to try to find a place with an available kitchen to cut down on meal costs. Buying two meals a day really added up, and I think being able to meal prep for the week would make a huge difference in the overall price of living.
Random Helpful Information I Wish I Knew Beforehand:
- Get a 1 month unlimited MetroCard for the subway. It is around $120 for the month, which may seem like a lot, but it pays for itself and can be an absolute lifesaver when you get lost (which will happen!)
- If you end up getting an unpaid internship but still want to make a bit of money, become a dog walker for Wag! It’s like Uber, but for dog walking, and the pay is great. $12 + tip for a half an hour walk, and $18 + tip for an hour walk. If the owner has multiple dogs, you also get $5 for each additional pup. I made up to $27 an hour doing this! You also get to make your own hours which is awesome. Beware, the application process is honestly pretty grueling, and I would start it at least 1 month before going to the city. It takes a really long time to get started, but I think it’s worth it in the end.
- Make sure to ALWAYS carry cash on you. So so many places have card minimums which can be a total pain when you’re just trying to buy a small amount of food. If you don’t have cash on you at some point, try going to a franchise instead of a small local place, as you will have better luck using your card there.
- Movies are ridiculously expensive to see in the city. I’m talking like $17 a ticket. Find other plans!! New York is the mecca for free entertainment.
- Trader Joes is definitely the place to grocery shop. Just beware that the checkout line can get super crazy at peak times, so go when you aren’t in a rush.
- Dogs literally pee everywhere!! If you are in flip flops, beware of small random puddles.
- Learn the difference between the Local and Express trains, and learn it quickly!
- Follow @new_fork_city for great restaurant recommendations (trust me you will never run out of incredible places to eat)
- Speaking of food, my favorite restaurants that I personally would recommend include: Sweetgreen, Joe’s Pizza, By Chloe, Pomme Frites, Black Tap Burger, Ample Hills Ice Cream, Magnolia Bakery, Artichoke Bassiles Pizza, Oatmeals, Estancia 460, Eataly, Tipsy Scoops, Dough Donuts, &pizza, Levain, Rosemarys, and B Bar & Grill
- The best cheap food will always be $1.00 slices of pizza or bagels!
- Random, creepy people may come up to you at several points to ask for money, a lot of times near the subway. It can be scary at first, but if you just politely say ‘no’ and keep walking, they shouldn’t be bothersome.
Overall, going to New York for the summer is such an exciting and unforgettable experience. It can most definitely be overwhelming at times, and it will sadly drain your wallet big time, but the life and work experience that you will gain there is priceless! If the opportunity arises, I would not pass it up.