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cpg

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  1. I can think of some other mid-level universities where you could pursue a project like that. I would suggest looking at Penn, Georgetown, Virginia, Rice, and maybe Miami. Depending on what you mean by mid-level (i.e., these might be ranked too high for you to consider), Cornell, Chicago, and Toronto are also good options. There may be some lower-ranked or unranked schools worth considering, but I'm not sure what those would be. Good luck!
  2. cpg

    Vancouver, BC

    I would agree that living near the Skytrain would be good, but I'm not sure I'd recommend New West. I wouldn't walk around there at night, and I had two friends who lived in the towers right by the Skytrain station; both of them felt unsafe at night there and moved when their leases were up. Unfortunately, I don't know much about Surrey, so I can't be much help on that front. I might suggest somewhere Burnaby near the Skytrain--I've never felt unsafe in Burnaby at night.
  3. cpg

    Houston, TX

    That was really helpful, thanks! I probably can't afford to live in the museum district or TMC proper, but I also don't want to live in a sketchy neighborhood. I've lived in big cities my whole life, but always in the suburbs (although during college, the suburb I lived in seems like the equivalent of TMC). So when I go there, I'll be sure to check out individual apartment complexes.
  4. cpg

    Houston, TX

    bump...any help would be greatly appreciated!
  5. cpg

    Houston, TX

    I am thinking this would be a good area for me to start out--it's pretty close to Rice, and although I don't know yet if my husband will be working somewhere along the MetroRail line, that would be awesome if he could commute via it. One question about Houston traffic: I'm originally from SoCal, and I used to have a 35-minute commute (only 15 miles; this is why Californians give distances in time, not miles!), so I know traffic; will Houston be worse than this? Also, another option I was considering is the Rice Village Apartments, although it seems pretty expensive for what you get (I currently live in a one bedroom about the same size as the one bedrooms there, and I can't do that again, so I'm looking at their 1 bed + study, which goes for $1025+). It seems like a bit further from campus, you can get a nice 2 bedroom in the $800-900 range; since I'll have a car (and I'm hoping to get a bike as well), that seems like it would be feasible. Does that price range sound about right? How is parking on campus for grad students? What I'd really like is a walkable neighborhood, with a grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, and a neighborhood pub or two within a 10-minute walk. Is there a neighborhood (that is, say, within a 15 minute drive of Rice) like that? I'm looking for an area with other grad students/young professionals. Oh, and in the area, are there any good pubs/bars in the area that have a good selection of beer (esp. stouts and porters)? Finally, one last question: I am assuming that in Houston, like most cities, there are apartment openings year-round. Since most Rice undergrads live on campus, I'm assuming I don't need to worry about getting an apartment before summer, even very close to campus? Is this a correct assumption? I will be traveling for 3 weeks in July and returning to SoCal in early August; my plan was to already have a place rented and then arrive around Aug 15th and move in immediately. However...given that I will definitely not able to visit Houston to look at places after late June/early July, will that be a problem? In other words, if I come in May or June, will there be many openings yet for August, or will I have to do this over the web? Thanks in advance for all help!
  6. cpg

    San Diego, CA

    Hillcrest might be ideal if you don't want to drive, since there is a shuttle from the UCSD Medical Center there up to the main campus. I don't know how long it takes, but I do know a PhD student who did it for a year (I also don't know what prices are like in Hillcrest, although probably cheaper than around UCSD). If you're used to Berkeley prices, then San Diego won't be a shock; depending on where you live, you should probably plan on at least $600/month for a private room in a house/townhouse (and more, most likely, if you're living in the UTC/La Jolla area, where $700-800 is probably a better budget). Ocean Beach is nice with a lot of old bungalows and aging hippie character; if you want to live close to the beach, it's probably the cheapest area north of downtown to do so. I'm not sure about traffic in Hillcrest, but traffic getting in/out of OB can get backed up. I also liked Point Loma; you probably can't afford a place super-close to the water there (like down on the actual peninsula or on the bay), but there's convenient access to the 5 (at least, if you live near Rosecrans in the Loma Portal area) and I never had many problems with traffic between UTC and Point Loma (plus, it's close to downtown). UTC is nice, but pricier, especially for what you get (and it's very upper-middle-class suburban, just FYI). Everything is very convenient there, though, and there is a UCSD shuttle that runs around, so you wouldn't need to drive (and you'd be a lot closer to school). Also, the weather is beautiful the vast majority of the time, so if you live close enough, biking would be a great way to get to campus (although San Diego can very hilly, so I'd check your route). If I were you and my budget allowed it, I'd probably try to live close to UCSD my first year and just see how it goes; you may discover that you can live further away or that you really need that extra 20 minutes. The guy I know who took the Hillcrest shuttle lived near UCSD his first year and basically came home only to sleep his first year; he moved further away once he passed his comps.
  7. I lived in a foreign country (not China) where I became familiar with the higher-educational system there. This is in a small country that sends very few students to the U.S. to study and I knew some students who worked very hard to study for the TOEFL and GRE, and one person who went to Harvard and did well. Nevertheless, grades and recommendation letters were basically a joke; there wasn't a lot of forgery, as far as I could tell, but cheating (in upper-division, major classes, even!) did not disqualify students, glowing letters were written for any student that asked, and so forth. That is likely different at the top university in the nation (although I seriously doubt anyone who isn't pretty familiar with this country would know which one this one is), and if so, in part because it's in the capital, rather than in hometowns where everyone knows everyone (and hence there is pressure to give higher grades, nice letters, & so forth, because you know all of their relatives). If I were evaluating such applications, it would be very hard to be certain that the application file actually accurately reflects the student at all (and, sadly, this applies to students with graduate degrees in this country as well). I suspect this problem isn't limited to this country, but rather is endemic to any country where there is, a) widespread tolerance of corruption or tight-knit community structures where getting jobs, grades, etc. is more based on who you are than what you can do.
  8. cpg

    Vancouver, BC

    I am a current grad student on campus, and my only reservation about using the 145 every day is if you think you might stay at school late. I've been stranded 3 or 4 times by the 145 (out of the maybe 10 total times I've taken it, since I have a car) for 45+ minutes plus, all at night (once it was near midnight, but the other times were before 10:30pm). Note that it is POSSIBLE to cycle to school (I know two people who do, at least in sunny weather), but it is a tough ride. You would have to be in pretty good shape to make it up the hill, and even then, you'd arrive all sweaty (although you could always go to the gym and take a shower, I suppose). I might actually recommend living in North Burnaby, somewhere along the 135 route, since that takes you directly into downtown and SFU. It also runs regularly at all hours (it converts into a night bus after 1am, I think), and I've found it to be very reliable. For example, Willingdon and Hastings is a good area; lots of little restaurants, coffee shops, a Safeway (grocery store), and it's not too far from Brentwood Mall (a strip mall, not to be confused with Metrotown, an enormous shopping mall).
  9. cpg

    Vancouver, BC

    Unfortunately, we won't be able to come to Vancouver any earlier than the 3rd week in August (we are living overseas at the moment, but all of our stuff is in storage in San Diego, so we have to head down to SoCal first). Anyway, assuming we don't get on-campus housing, it might be worth it to pay an apartment finder company to find something. The other option I was seriously considering was in Atlanta, and there's lots of apartments available there that are owned by management companies, with floorplans, pictures, etc online, so there's a lot more information available through things like apartments.com. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a corollary for Canada, although I have run into a number of paid search places where you pay something like $20-40 to use their database. Has anyone used anything like that? The main ones I've found are: - www.rentbc.com - www.renthome.ca - www.canadianresidentialrentals.com - www.247apartments.com Has anyone used any of these and can comment on the best ones? Or know of any others? What about companies that actually can find apartments for you in person? Has anyone used any of them, or would recommend a company? Any idea on cost?
  10. cpg

    Vancouver, BC

    Thanks for the advice! That was really helpful--I've expanded my search, and found a lot more. SFU is the school, FYI, and the AMS website seems to be targeted toward UBC students (I've gone through SFU's own website, and it has some stuff, but again, mostly basements). I'm not opposed to an attached apartment per se, but I'd rather not be underground.
  11. cpg

    Vancouver, BC

    I need some advice on how to find a place in Vancouver. I've been looking at apartments on Craigslist, but almost everything seems to be a basement apartment. Is that because of my price range (I've been looking at the $700-800 range), or are there just very few apartments which are above-ground? I've been looking at apartments within a 10 minute walk of the Skytrain (specifically, near Rupert, Renfrew, and Lougheed stations). Are there better places to find apartments online? Unfortunately, I live overseas, so finding an apartment in person in the next few months isn't possible--are there any apartment finder services? Are there usually vacancies, so if I arrived up there in the 3rd or 4th week of August, I could find something to move into in a couple of days? Basically, either that, or renting a place, sight unseen, or living on campus (if they offer me a slot), seem to be my only options.
  12. cpg

    Toronto, ON

    We don't really have them in California, either - would *not* be excited about that! So I guess at this point my first choice will be getting the on-campus apartment, and if that doesn't work out, trying to go out early and find a place then. Thanks for all the help!
  13. cpg

    Toronto, ON

    Thanks for all the very helpful replies! I really appreciate it. I'm wondering if someone can give me a price range for apartments in downtown that are, say, within a 15-20 minute subway ride of U of T. I imagine the prices vary depending on the neighborhood, but what is TOO cheap for a safe, convenient one-bedroom apartment? How much should I expect to spend on utilities? (so if they are included in the rent, I can compare those prices to not-included prices) Also, I won't be able to go out to Toronto until--at most--a few weeks before school starts, and at least where I'm from, that's probably not enough time to find a good apartment (plus, I don't want to pay for a hotel room for more than a few days), so I guess I'll be trying to find an apartment long-distance, unless Toronto is different and we could find a nice place to live in a week or less. (The reason why we can't visit this summer and try to find a place is that we're currently living overseas, so that's not an option). Any advice about common problems in apartments in Toronto to ask about, or recommendations on good complexes/owners? I've never tried to find an apartment long-distance before, so this makes me nervous! Also, when should I start seriously looking--as soon as possible, 3 months out, 2 months out...?
  14. cpg

    Toronto, ON

    By the housing situation being "beyond terrible" anyone not from NYC or LA, what do you mean? In terms of pricing, in terms of size of apartments, in terms of easy availability to find apartments...? I'm not from LA, but I am from SoCal, so anything below $1000 for a one-bedroom apartment (particularly in downtown) strikes me as a steal. But what is a good price for downtown apartments in Toronto? (I'm thinking one bedroom, and not shared with another student, as I'm married). Where would you recommend living? (I have mostly been researching places along the subway line just north or east of U of T, but should I look at other places?) My husband will most likely be working downtown also, so ideally, we'd like to be a 5 minute walk or less to the subway, so we drive as little as possible. Any advice?
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