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About tugou

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  1. tugou

    UC Berkeley

    For those of you looking for housing in Berkeley, this is a tool that I wish I had known about before moving into South Berkland: http://www.cityofberkeley.info/cvc It's a searchable Community Crime Map. Do, however, take the data with a grain of salt. You may pull up a potential rental address and be shocked by the number of incidences that come up in a given radius, but you also have to consider the type of crimes as well. Berkeley is a relatively safe town overall, but not all areas are equally safe, and you DO have to keep your wits about you. Also, Yelp (yelp.com) is your friend. It's well trafficked in this neck of the woods.
  2. I don't think rankings would be informative for East Asian Studies at all. The 'field' is much too dispersed, rather a conglomeration of different disciplines. One can speak of stronger schools with broader faculty and language support and longer histories of involvement in the field, but ranks will differ according to your needs. You are better off doing as you have done, locating programs and faculty that match your interests. Funding is always an issue at the MA level for EAS. It's there, but maybe for < 25% of applicants. You'd be lucky to get tuition remission at Harvard; they typically make a first round of 'financially blind' half-acceptances, but then they tell you that they can't officially admit you unless you have the means to pay for it (translation, please divulge any other financial resources or rich relatives that you may have neglected to mention). FLAS and other fellowships are available at many schools, but those are competitive and cross-disciplinary funds.
  3. You should absolutely bring your pet! I think cats, generally speaking, are easier than dogs (I have one of the latter who's been such a source of comfort during times of stress). You can leave them home for longer periods of time, but you may also be spending a lot of time working from home. As for funds, it just comes down to budgeting. I figure I spend up to $80 a month on average, including vet bills (but this amount is split between two caretakers). This isn't bad at all... it means I eat out a few less times a month, which is fine. I stay home and cook and spend time (and share table scraps) with my pup instead! I empathize with the fact that pet-friendly housing is more limited. However, I think renters often view grad students differently from undergrads. One thing you can do is prepare a 'pet resume' (sounds corny, I know, but it can be helpful). Just prepare a brief page with stats on your pet: size, temperament, level of activity, how long you've been with the pet and how you intend to take care of her. Include references for the pet -- previous landlords, vets, anyone who can vouch on behalf of its behavior. Offer to put down a pet deposit, if necessary (up to half rent? Where I'm at, most places wanted about $200-$500 pet deposit for $1000-$1400 rentals). I don't know the legalities of non-refundable pet deposits in other states (sounds a little iffy to me) but it's a good faith offer that could sway potential landlords.
  4. Columbia EALAC has already had their prospective students' visitation day. You should probably have heard by now -- at least a MARSEA offer, if not an acceptance or rejection. Perhaps it's time to call and check on the status of your application.
  5. Go with WUSTL, hands down. Columbia's MARSEA would only be worth the tuition if you had absolutely no other PhD offers, if you had no undergraduate debt, and if you intend to pair your area studies degree with something like... business or finance. If you're applying for Chinese lit, you're applying for the love of it, and NOT the money. Funded PhD offers >>>>> unfunded MA programs, even if they're Ivy.
  6. Well now, some people do this out of sheer necessity. When I was a kid and my dad was in grad school, my mom (who worked full-time) cooked all our meals and took us out to eat about once a month. But honestly, there are hundreds of at-home dining options that don't take much time to prepare and WILL save you money. I just cooked a bowl of ramen with an egg and vegetables and chunks of beef brisket from a leftover meal. Total time from turning on the stove to sitting down in front of my computer here and eating? 15 minutes. And while I may not have "cooked" that Trader Joe's spinach pie myself, that minute of taking the box out of the fridge, peeling back the cover, and popping it into the preheated oven means my dinner cost just $4, instead of $12 at the Greek restaurant on the other side of campus. I've lived in cities where it was economically feasible to eat out for every single meal. The point is, that's the kind of lifestyle you would have to sacrifice if you're expecting to live in this area on a grad student budget. Grad student budget doesn't mean you NEVER eat out. Yes, there are times when you're just TOO TIRED to cook, or you want to be social and eat out with friends. In order to afford those opportunities, I have to prepare the majority of my meals at home. Learning to prepare healthy, yummy home meals is a practical skill. It's recommended that you look into it. For frame of reference, I got a total of $25.5K in stipend money from my school last year (academic + summer term) and ended up saving 5K of it, which is my buffer in case I don't get more than the $20K I'm guaranteed each year. You don't need mad amounts of money to live here, but if you want to make it within a certain budget, there are some lifestyle changes that you have to get used to.
  7. I don't know about that. I live on the other side of the bay from Stanford and I spend about $300 a month on groceries and eating out maybe once a week. I think I eat quite well, but I'm certainly not a glutton. You can easily spend $10 a day on food with say, a couple cups of home-brewed coffee in the morning, a homemade sandwich and soup for lunch ($2-$3 right there) and even if you were just stir-frying a batch of vegetables and tofu and noodles for dinner, that's easily $4 of materials there. More if you eat meat. Not to mention the cooking oils, spices, etc. that are part of your monthly grocery store purchases. I also tend to snack a lot throughout the day -- never buying candy bars or chips in convenience stores, mind you, always stuff from home like a couple pieces of pita with hummus or brownies made from $2 Pillsbury mix. And I like juice with my meals and a mug of tea in the evenings. Does this diet really seem that extravagant? Based on my experience, I'd say a *reasonable* stipend that still allows you plenty of wiggle room for a few modest niceties, medical and other emergencies is $1500/month. Again though, I'm in the East Bay. I don't really know how the rental market compares to Stanford but I'm estimating anywhere from $600 shared housing to $1000 studio. Groceries and whatnot should be comparable, I'd think.
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