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Letter from America

My name is Lou and I am going to be at City University of New York, Queens Campus, studying Fine Art from Aug 22nd till Dec 2015.

This exchange was set up with the help of the marketing dept at Chi Uni and I will be the first exchange student to go there from Chichester. Its very exciting and New York is the absolute best place for art in the world!

I visited the campus back in March and checked out the facilities and also accommodation on campus.

It's very different from Chichester - huge student population and the campus is large. Apparently it is a commuter Uni with most of the students living locally and coming in for lectures then going home.

One of the main faculties at Queens is music and I was interested to read that among their Alumni are Carole King and Paul Simon . I think they have some good music concerts on campus which I will certainly be going to .

Queens is about 35 mins on the subway to Central Manhattan i.e. Grand Central Station.

With this in mind , I determined to find affordable accommodation in Manhattan and have booked 4 months at The Markel Residence on West 13th Street - it is a Salvation Army Hostel which is in the best location I could have hoped for and cheap too - anyone considering this option , be aware that on the premises there is no alcohol, smoking etc etc so all the partying has to be away from the premises !

The application process is quite involved and there are hidden costs along the way:

  • US Student visa $180
  • Dept of State Certificate of Eligibilty $100
  • Servis Dept of Homeland Security $180
  • Health Insurance $172
  • The J1 Student visa also requires an interview at the US Embassy before they issue the visa .

I start on Aug 27nd for the ‘Fall’ semester which is earlier than here.