Landing a summer internship at UMI Publications brought Ben Sherman one step closer to his dream of working in sports journalism. Sherman, 20, was hired to assist in the development of the publisher’s ACC Basketball Handbook, highlighting the teams in the Atlantic College Conference. But a problem soon arose: Sherman, who lives in Fort Lauderdale and attends the University of Richmond, would need to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, for his summer assignment. “I thought to myself: I got the job, I don’t know the area, where do I live now?” he says. “Not knowing anybody down there, I didn’t know anything about how to find a place.”
Countless college students every year move to internship hotspots like New York, Los Angeles, or, in Sherman’s case, Charlotte to broaden their resumes and gain real-world experience. And every year, interns fret about living arrangements. But fret not: we’ve talked to the pros – the interns who have already made the transition to a brand-new city – and asked for their advice on short-term relocation.
Ask your coworkers
Sherman’s domicile dilemma was soon remedied: When hired, he asked his interviewer for advice on finding an apartment. The interviewer, the editor of the publication Sherman works on, offered him his guest room for the job’s eight-week term. Sherman now rooms with his editor in an apartment near UMI, and he saved a lot of time and money by avoiding realtor’s fees.
Sherman’s living situation comes with a warning, however. Living with coworkers can strain the professional relationship, especially if your roommate is your boss. Sherman is lucky, however. “It’s such a relaxed work environment here that that’s never been an issue,” he says.
Sublet an apartment
Another short-term housing alternative is subletting: renting from someone who has a lease but won’t be staying in their apartment all summer. By subletting, apartment hunters can skirt high rental costs, which usually include the first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, and the rental agent’s fee – often as much as four times the monthly rent. Some realtors will charge only partial fees for sublets, but leaving out the middleman altogether is the best idea. Check the classified ads of newspapers – especially college papers – in the area you’re moving to for sublet or “sublease” ads.
If you need to find a sublet in a distant city, the Internet might be your best bet. Subscribe to an online newsgroup that contains housing and sublet ads specific to your destination. Or search the numerous online sites willing to match you up with a room or roommate for the summer for little or even no cost. You may have to take your apartment sight unseen, but you will at least have a place to lay your head. If this concerns you, ask your roomie-to-be to send along pictures of the place.
No one says the internship has to come before the apartment. Jessica Schneider decided early in the academic year to spend the summer in New York. Far before she lined up an internship, Schneider started apartment hunting. A friend suggested she look at New York University, which rents its dorm rooms to students for summer stays, regardless of whether they’re studying at the university. Soon after searching for details on NYU’s web site, Schneider slapped down a refundable deposit of just over $2,000 and submitted her preferences of NYU dorms. The rooms, she says, start at $80 per week, and Schneider opted for an air-conditioned unit at a higher rate. “It fills up really fast, and I knew that, so I sent in my application in January,” says Schneider. “They weren’t due until April, so I was pretty much guaranteed a spot.”
Schneider, who is interning at Fox News as anchor Linda Vester’s personal assistant, says her apartment near Union Square comes with many perks: guarded entrances, free cable and local phone service, and a workout room. What’s more, NYU’s weekly payment schedule means she doesn’t have to pay for the full month of August – she can return home mid-month, after her internship ends.
Keep looking for colleges
The biggest college in the area isn’t the only location to look for on-campus housing, however. Little colleges-even junior colleges-are often willing to rent otherwise empty dorms to summer interns. Laura Vogel, a television production major at Boston University, did not land her internship in HBO’s special events department until May 8, well after NYU had filled up. With a little luck and some legwork, though, Vogel found other colleges in New York City renting dorm rooms. She’s sharing a two-bedroom with three friends on Roosevelt Island, just off the coast of Manhattan. Her new pad sports two huge bathrooms and a balcony overlooking Queens – all for $650 per person, per month. Vogel’s advice: skip the realtors and search for colleges in the area you’ll be moving to, even junior colleges with little on-campus housing but nearby apartments for students. “It might cost you more per month, but it’ll probably be better located and have more amenities,” Vogel says. “Plus, if you get a roommate, they’re likely to be a student in the same boat as you.”
Although finding an apartment in a faraway city can be a daunting task, Sherman, Schneider, and Vogel all agree that the experience has broadened their horizons. “I think everyone should do something like this once in their life, if not more,” says Schneider. “Everyone needs to break out of their comfort zone.”