WHAT TO PACK??

The wait is over! You are just one month away from stepping into your dream university! You have your admits, i20, visa and tickets in hand and are so thrilled to fly! You are so excited to go shopping and call all those you are on board to go with you. Most of you have your airlines allowing you to carry 15+23+23+23Kg stuff with you to the US and you are all set to pack! And then you have a slew of questions climbing into your head.” Oh wait, what should I buy?”, “Where do I begin?”, “Will I get this in the US for a better price?”, “Will I even need this there?” and much more! You contact all the people that you know in the US and bombard them with your questions and end up getting mixed reviews leaving you flustered and frustrated!

This article is written based on my practical experiences as a student and working professional (after one or two years) in Boston. I am a female grad student from India. I tried to be very general with no bias towards the needs of an Indian or a woman. I have kept in mind the general mentality of people coming to the US especially from countries with lower currency equation against USD. I have also consulted with friends from other countries and referred a few articles to ensure consistency in thoughts, ideas and experiences.

Things to keep in mind when you pack: –

  1. Only pack things which you cannot get in the US, or things which are very expensive to buy here.
  2. Resort to carrying only health care, personal care or kitchen items unless you are a sports/ music personnel carrying equipment or instruments.
  3. Do a quick research on the kind of shops available near your university/ apartment locale to get an idea on the quantity of items you need to carry (you don’t want to carry bags and bags of rice or flour from your homeland!)

 Items you need Where to get it? How much to bring? Suggestions:
Healthcare: –

 

General medication which you can get over the counter. For e.g., cough syrup, antacids, menstrual pain killers, healing balms, ointments, relief spray, band-aids, sprain bandages, multivitamins or health supplements etc. You can get a bottle or 2 of syrups and 2-3 strips of tablets from your country for initial days.

You can get all of these in places like CVS or Target or Rite AID in the US.

These are perishables.

 

Prescribed medication for existing medical conditions like Asthma, migraine, diabetes etc. From your home country. Do not change the dosage or medicines without your doctor’s consult. Carry doctor’s prescription on board. Pack it along with your medical kit. Refer TSA website for the medication you can carry.
Eye- glasses (at least 2 pairs)

Contact-lens (based on its disposable nature)

Please do a personal research based on your needs. If disposable, it is advised to check

online at Wal-Mart vision center

http://www.1800contacts.com/

Eye glasses are expensive in USA; average price is around $150 – 200 USD.

Contact lens are priced similarly, but some disposable lenses are cheaper in the US.

 

Personal Items and Toiletries: –

 

Cosmetics – They are available easily in any drugstore, supermarket or exclusive stores Pack small quantities for initial days. There are plenty of stores to purchase them in the US. The prices are comparable for most international brands. If you develop any allergic reactions in skin or hair, please consult with a dermatologist
Soaps, shampoos, hair care, perfumes, deo – These are available in plenty of flavors, sizes, shapes and colors in any supermarket. Get this from your country only if you are prone to allergic reactions or have very sensitive skin. Pack small quantities for initial days. There are plenty of stores to purchase them in the US. The prices are comparable for most international brands. If you develop any allergic reactions in skin or hair, please consult with a dermatologist.
Shaving kit and wax strips Pack small quantities for initial days. There are plenty of stores to purchase them in the US. The prices are comparable for most international brands. You get Gillette, Old Spice, Axe and Tag in the US market. Waxing parlors are about $80 in the US
 

Clothing:

 

Undergarments- Get at least 15 pairs.

Also, just couple of pairs of Jeans and T-shirts, one formal dress or shirts and trousers (you won’t need this, just backup) a couple of

pajamas and shorts

 

 

You may buy these in US

eventually, but it would be hard for the first time until you find a store.

 

Students in the US do laundry 1-2 times a week. Laundry dryers are used over hanging clothes. Also clothes are cheaper in the US if you shop at the right time and in the SALE section.
One bath towel and one hand towel Cheaper and better in the US  
One leather or any wind cheaters or jacket, sweater and a formal suit (optional, not

needed) you do not need to wear a suit unless you are in an executive position in the US. Also, it is not mandatory to wear a suit to the career fairs!

Just for the first few days to get accustomed to the cold weather if you are from a tropical region.

 

You get better ones in the US. Also make use of the Labor Day/ Columbus day or Thanksgiving Day sale.

It usually doesn’t  start snowing in Boston until December. The cold weather may begin as early as October.
 

Kitchen Items

 

   
Pressure cooker with extra gaskets and whistle, saucepan, skillet, plates, bowls, silverware, strainer, bottle/can openers, scissors, knives The quality of pressure cookers is better in India. The rest you can get in places like Walmart or Target in the US.

Get electric cookers/kettles only from US.

Get this only if you plan to cook.
Spices and readymade foods There are variety of spices available in the local markets. Get these along only if you are acclaimed to homemade foods. Check with your airlines about the restrictions

Word of advice:

  1. Do not carry anything that is illegal for any reason. Remember the reason you are coming here and act responsibly.
  2. Remember to carry all your documents (both original and few copies) – Passport with visa stamped, i20 (all copies if you had received an i20 previously), original driver’s license.
  3. Carry some cash in USD. Do not rely on your Forex cards, international credit cards or traveler cheques. You will need to pay for your cab and other expenses in cash until you set-up your bank account.
  4. It is not recommended to carry any electrical appliances from countries like India or China, as they don’t work in full efficiency in the US.
  5. Carry some plain notebooks/ notepads, stapling machine and a scientific calculator. It is a little expensive in the US. Other stationary items are mostly available in the university library.
  6. You can get a local sim card at the airport for a few days. Optionally, you can manage internet calls in you are using Wi-Fi.
  7. Electronic items like laptops and smartphones are cheaper and of better quality in the US than anywhere else. You get great deals during holidays!
  8. Refer https://www.cbp.gov/border-security to know what is allowed on board.
  9. Always ensure you have your documents, laptop and phone safely. Carry all the important stuff in your backpack and some clothing and toiletries in your cabin bag (In case your flight gets delayed)

Most of the items that you need for basic or even sophisticated living is available in the US. You will eventually figure out the best deals and places to buy stuff once you land here. You don’t have to panic if you missed anything, because it’s the United States! Also, there are good courier and postal services that charge nominally to send/ receive stuff other countries.  So, hop on with all joy and enjoy your journey!

 

– Nivetha Ganeshjeevan

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Life at NEU

23376091_141072966648493_3202553179186177470_nI am Malick Fairoz, doing my Master’s in Information Systems at Northeastern University. I am also the Graduate Student Ambassador for IS.

I chose to do my Master’s at Northeastern, for its well-designed course curriculum, experienced faculty members, co-op training facility, sophisticated infrastructure and the ideal location for a tech student.

The university has a state-of-the-art library, which functions 24×7, segregated for study groups and individuals according to noise levels, ergonomic furniture’s and highly configured workstations. I had access to unlimited software resources, high-speed wifi across the university and online courses for free, which helped me a great deal to complete my projects and assignments efficiently. The “resnet” service center, is a savior in times of trials when my laptop malfunctions or whenever I need any hardware help. Some days, I had to work late in the library to meet deadlines and loved how the RedEye service was there to safely drop me at my doorstep.

One of my current courses, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence, provided me with complete exposure to broad range of on-demand tools on a multi-dimensional basis for every technology. Prof. Richard Sherman, with more than 35 years of industrial experience in this course, used to share his anecdotes and real-time scenarios during his lectures, that gave me strong conceptual knowledge on the subject and the confidence to face any technical challenge.

Northeastern-University

The best feature about Northeastern, in my opinion, is the co-op program. The co-op education course, has the power to transform an amateur into an immaculate professional. It prepared me on all nuances of office ethics, personal and communication manners to meet the industrial expectations and needs. Prof. Maricla Pirozzi, my co-op manager, had been a constant motivation throughout my job search, by spending time with me to discover my potential and learn more about my capabilities and career interests. This helped me find the job openings that matched with my requirements perfectly.

My journey of Co-op search, was an interesting one. Being a Northeastern Student had its perks, that I had the privilege of accessing the NUCareers, an exclusive job portal for students of the university. There were a lot of information sessions conducted regularly for different streams, where industrial people met us and gave an overview of their company’s requirements and work-style. This exposure gave me the advantage of networking with people from the corporate environment and learn the different work styles across multiple streams.

Apart from the technical knowledge acquired, I haven’t turned outside the campus for any recreation, since I found the best relaxation and fitness spots within the university. My favorite spots in the campus are the peaceful Koi pond, colorful centennial commons and the curry recreational room for all the crazy games to unwind myself and relax. My summer favorite is the indoor swimming pool at Cabot cage, Marino’s gym and the energetic student clubs and communities that show you the way to serve and connect with the people around.

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As a student ambassador, I had the opportunity to reach out to the potential and current students. I am glad that I could help them out with my experience as a master’s student and guide them through the various levels of education and lifestyle in Boston. I am thankful that I can expand my network and exchange ideas with people from different backgrounds, cultures and career interests.

Overall, my master’s experience had left on me a long-lasting impact and great friends from different backgrounds, that I am proud and blessed to carry along to my future.

 

Chinese cuisine at Boston

Boston is a food lovers haven, since it has a range of rich cuisines from around the world. The following is a quick blog by Zongkai Li, his take on great chinese food in and around Boston.

“Few things are more exciting than finding what seems like perfect as a foodie. There is no doubt that Chinese BBQ is this kind of must-follow food, which does not only include traditional meat like lamb, beef, but also includes fish, bullfrog, even pettitoes or some others kind of “strange” meat. Maybe these kinds of meat are weird for you. Maybe you have never eaten these before. If you are a foodie like me, you will never ever miss this impressive kind of food. Trust me. It can fully satisfy your taste.z1

Before coming to Boston, I have been lived in the U.S. for three years and taste various delicacies in many states. As a Chinese, there is no doubt that Chinese restaurant will be my first choice. Perhaps because of my Chinese tongue. Lol. During all these more than 3 years, the Chinese barbecue located in Boston is one of the most impressive restaurant. It brings me the kind of Chinese taste like living in China.

 

The appetizer of Chinese BBQ is always simple, like peanuts, soybeans or Liangpi ( a noodle with Chinese characteristics), and you cannot miss Liangpi here, which also includes gluten, as long as you want to try what we eat in China.

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Liangpi, gluten, cean sprout and carrots mixed with unique sauce. With its own smooth taste as well as the fragrance of vegetables, it is unforgettable. If you want to order an appetizer, Liangpi is definitely your best choice.

 

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As the most important part of Chinese BBQ, skewers determine the quality of a Chinese BBQ. Of all the meat, my favorite dish is lamb, which is also the best part of this restaurant. It really tastes like Chinese style BBQ just like I am in Beijing or some other cities in China. Each time I went there, the heat control of lamb skewers is always perfect, which means it is really tasty rather than greasy or dry or hard to swallow.

 

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Perhaps because of the excellent heat control or the perfect unique sauce, you will never miss pettitoes, either. For most people, they may have never eaten pettitoes before, however, pettitoes is really worth to tasting. Pettitoes, which is full of collagen, is good for your skin. Barbecue is a perfect way to cook it. It tastes fat but not greasy and the meat was spiced and fragrant, charred outside and red and juicy within.

 

In the staple food, braised chicken rice is also a must-have food. In short, it really allows me to recall the days in China, recalling the Chinese taste. But it will be a little spicy, I hope you can accept.

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There are plenty of things worthy to recommending in this restaurant, such as tofu, spicy hot pot, etc. However, those may be my next recommendation, maybe you can try it out too.

There is no doubt that the delicious Chinese barbecue is not a simple few paragraphs can be described, I hope you have the opportunity to go to China, so that they can truly feel Chinese taste. However, if you feel too far, this Chinese restaurant in the Boston will undoubtedly be a good choice for you.

So your flight just Landed !

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I am going to share with you some of the things and feelings that I experienced in my Life in the United States. Probably this will help you prepare for your experiences. It’s a beautiful life here as a student. There’s great culture in the city of Boston. There’s a lot to do, it’s a team adventure and leader is you. Make sure you pack some warm clothes, you’re going to need them. There are lot of great people you will meet. You will know yourself, the person within. Get ready, your journey is about to begin. This ode is from the minute your flight lands and all the general experiences of a student at Northeastern.

If you’re lucky enough you are definitely gonna find snow,
Let me tell you a story to Live, Learn and eventually grow.
You will be excited to see people who are not like you,
You will feel sky is mostly dark and not every time blue.
An exciting adventure will have chills in your spine,
Don’t get scared, it’s just beginning, you’ll be fine.
You will see new faces the first day you dine,
They will soon become family and you’ll be fine.
You will miss your family and probably start to whine,
You are just growing up and so listen, you’ll be fine.
Enjoy your beautiful days and see the city,
Love your life here and cherish its beauty.
Students who come here are super smart,
Be ready, your classes are about to start.

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You will realize there is a lot you still have to learn,
The awesome people here will really make it fun.
Whenever you don’t know what to do, don’t worry,
We’ve got plenty to do at the Student Center, Curry.
But one place will be your life and primary,
Assignments are done best when in the Library.
You won’t love it all the time but it will be heaven,
When it’s cold and you know Library’s open 24×7.
Lot of people here try to be in shape and are slim,
New semesters always see lot of people in the gym.
You better work hard and try to stay on top,
You will soon be finding internship and co-op.
Co-op is something where there’s a lot to learn,
Time flies by quick, it will soon be time to return.
Between them will be life of ice hockey and football,
Always shout out NU, that’s the basic protocol.
Life isn’t always black and white like in chess,
There will be colors but be ready to handle stress.
Sing, Laugh, Love, Dance like the Harlem-shake,
Soon, friends will bring you a graduation cake.
That’s when you will realize you will soon have to go,
Time won’t seem to go back, nor will it be slow.
It will be an amazing experience and you will begin to sob,
Life won’t be like school anymore, you’ll have to go for job.
We welcome you to an amazing school of diversity,
We welcome you to Northeastern University !

It won’t be all sunshine and rainbow, get ready for your adventure. You can always talk to us whenever you feel like. We are all a big family here. We wish you the best for your experience at the graduate school.

Welcome to Northeastern University.

Certificates at Northeastern University

YuhuiI graduated in China with my bachelor degree of Mechanical Engineering so I’ve taken a lot of courses about mechanical systems or mechanical design during my undergraduate. To pursue my master degree, I wanted to find a program that would let me leverage my technical background but also get into the management and optimization field of engineering. Industrial Engineering Program in Northeastern University is a great fit for me because it offers multiple options for us. We can focus on different fields of industries such as supply chain, data analysis or manufacturing as we want. And another amazing thing for graduate students in Graduate School of Engineering is the Graduate Certificate Programs. The Graduate Certificate Programs are stacked credentialing, which means we can complete the certificate required coursework as a part of our engineering degree. According to corresponding degree programs in Graduate School of Engineering, students are allowed to double count up to 2 or 4 courses. As a master student in Industrial Engineering, I’m able to double count 4 courses so I can pursue my master degree and graduate certificate at the same time and don’t need to spend extra money or time on that. Currently, I’m pursuing graduate certificate in Engineering Economic Decision Making, which focuses on developing decision making skills in engineering operations and projects.  I can learn not only how to be an engineer but also get opportunities to apply the fundamentals of engineering knowledge in a management setting like how to manage engineering projects and make profits for the company. And with the help of the graduate certificate background, I got an internship in Ford Credit this summer, working in IT department for project management. Besides Engineering Economic Decision Making Certificate, there are 17 different graduate certificate programs in different fields of engineering so we can advance our career and knowledge by choosing different certificate focuses, which would be very helpful for our future development.

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Interested in pursuing a certificate? Contact me to learn more, or visit our website:

http://www.coe.neu.edu/degrees/certificates

Yuhui Lin(Frank)

My Journey of Co-op Search

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I am Malick Fairoz, doing my Master’s in Information Systems at Northeastern University. I am also the Graduate Student Ambassador for IS.

I joined Northeastern in Fall 2016 and my search for a Co-op began in the middle of my 2nd semester. The initial step, I thought was to zero-in on a specific role, since I had more than one preferences, and upon a lot of consultation form different sources, I decided to focus on Business Intelligence as my priority. This helped me gain direction in choosing my subjects for the semester. Then, I did the usual of preparing resumes, cover letter and a convincing LinkedIn profile. The next step, was to go ahead and apply to the suitable positions. This is when I realized that, may be, I should have started my search process a bit sooner than I did. The reason was that, I didn’t find companies falling for my profile right away! So then, I decided to take a break from applying and reworked on my resume with inputs from multiple people across various positions including my co-op professor and my alumni friends from northeastern.

 

Once I was content with my resume and other basics, I restarted my application process, through different job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor and more. My university had an exclusive job portal for its students called the NUCareers, which was very beneficial. On top of this exclusive job portal, another feature that Northeastern had was the information sessions held by different companies to present their requirements and interact with like-minded potential students. I was a regular to these information sessions to check out their different requirements and whether it matched my dream role, and at times they also allured us through free pizzas and goodies, which I enjoyed anytime. One interesting encounter I had during those times was, with the company Wayfair, who called the interested students of Northeastern for a special visit to the Wayfair Headquarters, to make the session livelier and more realistic. This gave us a better opportunity in reaching out to tech people and network with people from different backgrounds. All my info sessions were followed by a “thankyou!” mail, by the end of the day, to keep in touch with all the awesome people I got to interact with during the day. It also gave me the confidence that my co-op search is progressive.

L1010690_FotorDuring one such meeting held by GMO, a very employee friendly company, I found an employer discussing about their requirement of the job opening that exactly matched my dream role. I was quick to greet him and expressed my interest for the role, spoke to him about my projects relevant to the opening and got to learn how their firm worked. To my surprise, I had a mail from the same person in my inbox the next day, asking for my availability for an interview. Although I had given a couple of interviews earlier, I knew this one was different, because, this opening had always been my dream role. This was followed by rigorous self-training on professional communication, technical knowledge and “how to impress the employer” tips from Google. The day of interview arrived and I am glad everything went well. I am thankful to my Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence professor, Dr. Richard Sherman, a man of more than 35 years of experience, whose teaching helped me to ace the interview gracefully. I appreciate the company GMO for its speed, because immediately the next day after the interview, I had a call conveying that I am selected for the role.

The feeling of finally being offered the desired co-op was great and once again proved the age-old saying that, “hard work never fails!”

How to live near campus with affordable price ?

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Hi There!!! I am the student ambassador for College of Engineering in MIE department. My name is Evelyn. I am willing to share all my experience so that you could enjoy your life in Boston and Northeastern.

What campus life convenient? Then you must live near campus to get access to facilities, like printing, gym, and library etc. Unfortunately, on-campus housing don’t offer to graduate students and our off-campus student service don’t have some much to offer. In this blog, I am going to show you how to find an affordable housing.

Firstly, let me give you some recap. Look at the average price of rentals of Boston below. Northeastern community is located between South End, Fenway and lower Roxbury, which mean the average price for a bedroom within 20mins walk to campus is $1,100, that is creepy for a student without earning! What’s more, most leases in Boston is 1 year and 1-month deposit is required. Also, according to Massachusetts law, someone must pay for one month broker fee for your broker if you rent through them, no matter how long you rent (Apparently, people who is going to pay for the broker fee is you, because near campus apartment is quite popular). But on the plus side, hot and heat must be included within your rentals. That’s being said, you must sign a 1-year lease and pay the first/last/one-month deposit before you move in.

eve1Figure 1 Apt Cost, cr: Northeastern Off Campus Service

Secondly, let’s talk about how to find the apartment. There are typical four channels. Facebook groups, the personal broker, off-campus apartment search page(https://www.northeastern.edu/offcampus/get-started/) and semesterly on-campus housing event. Most students will post their vacant apartment or looking for roommates on facebook groups, e.g. northeastern housing group. So go to join such groups as many as possible, because most of the resources don’t ask for broker fee and sometimes the price of housing is quite a bargain. You can try to connect with some brokers, I will discuss the reasons next paragraph. The university off-campus service does offer an apartment/roommates engine for students, which I don’t think it helpful. But you can attend the off-campus apartment searching event at the end of each semester. Some real estate agencies will come to the campus and present their available housing. And of course, the broker fee is required.

eve2Figure 2 List of facebook groups I find useful

Now you have been informed of the situation, let’s talk about the tricks of housing search and how to find affordable house. I would say timing is extremely important! If you start housing search between January to May, the price is much higher than others. During that time, most landlord near campus just simply drop their house to brokers and wait for students to sign the lease, because most students are searching for apartments and they don’t need to worry about. I know a landlord asked for $3,600 for a 2bedroom-split apartment at January, then she decreased the price to $3,400 at April. Besides, if you are not in a rush for an apartment, you can wait until September. I saw a broker asked for $2,700 for a 2bedroom apartment plus 1-month broker fee at the end of August, then on September 3rd, the price dropped to $1,800 without broker fee. Still think it expensive? Then you can share the room with your friend. Then the cost just reduces by half! Be cautious, since some landlords don’t allow the sharing thing or limit the total number of tenants, so read the agreement thoroughly when you sign a lease.

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Is there any way to have your own room and pay less than $1,000 per month? My answer is YES. Try to find the apartment that is not newly renovated in Fenway or Longwood areas. In such apartments, the current tenant may have started living there for 4-5 years and renewed her/his lease each year. So the landlord couldn’t neither renovate the apartment nor increase the rent. However, these kind of apartments is sparse. Good luck for your searching!

Hope this blog might help you find your ideal place!

Evelyn