This is a guest post by our campus ambassador for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Michelle Langer is a theatre and journalism double major. This summer she is interning at the Maryland State Arts Council and is profiling her experiences on madtownfoodie.wordpress.com.
- Don’t be afraid to do things alone. When I moved to Maryland this summer for my internship I didn’t know anyone, and maybe more importantly, I didn’t know the city. This meant that I had to learn about the city and meet people by myself. It isn’t like college where you move into a dorm with people your age and they are all in the same situation as you, you’re completely on your own when you move for a job or internship. I had to accept that I may go out to dinner by myself or go to festivals alone for awhile until I met new people. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with being alone because it opens you up for new opportunities and for you to meet people!
- Ask the locals. I’m a huge foodie, so I want to make sure to hit all of the best restaurants while I’m in Maryland for the summer. I also want to make sure to go to the good summer events and activities happening here, and also the cool hangout spots where they will be other young people. I found that the best way to find these places was to ask the people who know them, the locals. When I’m doing activities on my own I ask the bartenders, waiters, and cashiers at the locations I walk into where they suggest I go, and most of them have been SUPREMELY helpful. One bartender even made a list for me of all of the hotspots!
- Live in an area with young people, i.e. a college campus. Since I was moving to an area for the summer that neither my parents nor I knew, I did some research online and found out where the college campuses were. I figured that by doing this I would reap two benefits: I would be living around people my age and a lot of people may be subletting for the summer so I may get a good deal on rent. I happened upon both of these in my apartment search. I also made sure to share an apartment so that hopefully I would have built-in friends in my roommates (which luckily I do) and if that didn’t happen at least they would be able to help find basic things in our area.
- Sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon can really help you out. Before I moved away for the summer, before I could get the chance to meet anyone in the area, I used sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon as guides for the good places to go in my neighborhood. I would generically search restaurants, clubs, stores, or bars on these sites and it would come back with the reviews from locals, who know the good and bad places to go. Then, when I moved to Maryland, I had a better idea of what places I should hit up.
- Take days to discover your city on foot. One of the first things that I did after unpacking was walk around my neighborhood without a map. I took the chance to see what the neighborhood was really like—what you can’t see online or even in a car. This is the best way to learn about where you live, and for the neighborhoods that may be farther away, drive to them and then park your car and walk around. Everyday since I’ve moved here I have taken the afternoon, after work, to walk around a different neighborhood and experience the sights, sounds, smells, and most importantly, the tastes of that neighborhood.
These are just some of the things that I’ve learned in my short time in a new city, I’m sure I’ll learn more and I’m also always looking for suggestions!