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Finding a place to live!

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Hello Everyone.I hope you have been doing great.I wanted to share with you my experience of finding housing on campus.I know for many of the incoming graduate students,this is one big issue.I was able to take care of this before I arrived on campus and everything worked smoothly for me.I used basic tools like google map and the university housing website for this.I will tell you how.Let me tell you though,I am very lazy and I wanted to be somewhere really close to campus so I don't have to wake up early in the morning:)

When you accept an admission offer from the university,you are provided with an option to set up an internet access account on the university website.I would recommend to do it as soon as possible.It gives you access to a lot of resources on the campus portal.

The first step is to determine where you will be spending most of your time.You should check with your department website as where the main office is.If you are working in a lab,it will have a building address.

The second step is to login to the university housing website .This will take you to the housing and residential life and you could see more information about the on campus housing(Halls and dorms mostly).This link will take you to the off campus housing rentals.
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You will be required to login using your university ID and password to access the system.Once you are inside,you will see this:
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You can choose the type of unit,rent and neighborhood you want to live in.Its a good and credible way to start looking for options available in different areas around the campus.

Coming back to my experience,I used google map to find directions between the building where I was supposed to spend most of my time on campus and the places that I liked.I selected a place that was 5 blocks away from my campus and was on bus lines.Just go to google map and click on get directions.Enter the university building address and name,and enter the address from the listing you like most.Check if buses run between those two locations frequently.For example,if I want to go to Carlson school of management from my location,this is how it will look like:
Screen Shot 2011-11-15 at 7.52.12 PM.png.You will get an idea how far is the closes bus stop from your place and if you will be able to commute comfortably from your home to be to the place where you will be found the most!

The rent is variable.For a furnished place closer to campus,you can expect to pay anything from $500-$800!The housing away from campus is cheaper.Your ultimate choice will depend on your preference.And remember,it is always advised to start early.Places around campus go as early as April for the coming fall leases,so just don't wait until the last moment to get the right place and deal.

Stay well and let me know if you need any help:)

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra!

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This weekend I went to the Ordway center for performing arts!We were invited by a couple of friends.We attended a concert and I really liked the performance.Since I am in the middle of my assignments,I will keep my blog as short as possible,however I would like to share something interesting with you.As you know the routine ticket price for the shows is around $40,it may not be a good option for those interested.I found about this great option:

If you are 18-39 year of age,you can sign up for the club 2030,and receive coupon codes which will allow you to buy the concert tickets(for unto two people)for $10.Isnt that great?This season some great artists are coming to St.Paul.Even if you don't want to be a frequent visitor,I must insist you all must experience this live music experience once.Let me know how it goes:)

Take care

Managing your budget!

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Hello Everybody!

I hope all of you are doing great?How are you coping with the changing weather?Some people say,the winters are here to stay,while others believe it is just a random spell!I hope it is a random spell because I haven't had enough of fall yet!:)

I was really busy last week.My sponsors invited me to UT Austin,where they organized a gateway orientation for the incoming Fulbrighters from Pakistan.They wanted me to talk about my experience and pass on any tips that I had from my experience to make their transition and survival easy.I guess I can talk about a lot of that in my blog too.The question that i got asked the most was to manage budget.Being a student,you sometimes have to live the bohemian way!This is not a compromise,this is the fun of being a student.Anyways,since most of us come with limited budget,here is what I suggest to all of you:

1."Live like a student"

2.Eat at home.Food cooked at home is healthy,economical and delicious.To tell you a secret,cooking is my stress buster.

3.Take advantage of free entertainment opportunities,like free fairs and festivals(we had a whole bunch of them in summer),free concerts and movies(in parks and in the coffman movie theater).

4.Minnesotans take pride in outdoor activities and unlike many other things to do,a hike across the state park in summer would not cost you anything.

5.Instead of having cars and worrying about insurance,maintenance,gas and parking bill,use Public transit.Minneapolis is one of the transit-ally blessed city.With the new light rail in place,the situation will even get better.The bus pass is really cheap and saves you a a lot of money.The cabs here are not very expensive and I sometimes share them with my friends when we go grocery shopping.

6.Buying in bulk is the best strategy to save money.I buy all the non-perishables in bulk and in the value packs.I dont have to buy them every month plus I get a good value of my money.

7.However,watch out for the consumer coupons.They are good if you are buying for a family of four,but if you are just shopping for yourself,you don't have to shop BOGO style,and at least I ended up over spending on stuff I didn't really need.

8.Dont compromise your quality of life.The place where you are living should be clean,well lit and ventilated.It is important for your physical and emotional well being.your rent should take most of your monthly budget,everything else can be managed.I recommend living close to campus so you spend less time commuting and stressing out.

9.To buy clothes and shoes,I would recommend waiting for sales and big events like the black Friday(I cant wait for the next:D).Stores like Marshalls and Nordstrom rack offers branded stuff from last season at affordable prices.

Did I miss anything?Please feel free to ask any questions that you might have regarding budgeting and I will try my best to help you.

Until the next blog,take care:)

In and around Minneapolis!

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In my country,"fall"is referred to as autumn.I think this is true for many other places too?Like i mentioned previously,i never had a chance to appreciate the changing seasons as it was always very warm in my part of the world.I heard the word fall for the first time when i enrolled for my classes.Needless to say,i experienced my first fall in Minnesota,and unlike the word "autumn",i found it pretty amazing.The temperatures are moderate,the trees are changing colors(yes,the color of falls),the skies are clear for the most part and it is the best season for outing.So me and my friends decided to go around the cities last weekend.We went to the como park zoo and conservatory,a lake in Alexandria,which is a small town in middle of Minnesota and Duluth!

The Como Zoo and conservatory is located in St.Paul and easily accessible by public transit.lts a must visit in winters as the plants would stay green despite the weather.



A Fulbright alumni invited us to his place in Alexandria and took us around a Lake in his boat!Now I feel like a true Minnesotan!Boating is fun and a stay in Minneapolis without a boating adventure would have been incomplete.It was pleasant to see how people enjoy the outdoors in fall. DSCN9910.JPG


And last but not the least,i went to Duluth.It is located on the shores of Lake superior(which according to my knowledge is the largest lake in USA).The reason to visit Duluth was to see color of falls which unfortunately had not peaked by then,still it was a beautiful experience.


Why U?

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I will not lie.When I told my dad I am joining University of Minnesota,he was a little apprehensive.I got admission offers from some other universities where I could have been closer to some family and the weather would have been less challenging.However my experience here has proven all his fears and some of my own wrong.I am glad I took the decision to join the campus of one of the biggest public research university,and I have been happy ever since.The campus is full of resources for graduate students both in terms of academics and life.The program allowed flexibility for choosing the minor and courses I wanted to take.The international student office offered many programs which allowed me to get more involved in campus life and make new friends.The city is beautiful and the people are nice.The best thing about Minnesota however is its weather..yes no kidding!I am from a part of the world where it is summer for the most part of the year,I experienced spring,fall and winter for the first time in my life and the experience was great.I was surprised to see how people enjoyed every season including winter.Indeed I am looking forward to the next winter because I want to enjoy the winter sports and festivals which I missed last year.Yes,just wear your winter gear,grab your hot chocolate and enjoy winter!:)
In the end I just have to say that I LOVE myU!!


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Hello everybody

My name is Sehrish Javaid and I am doing my masters in Oral biology from the school of Dentistry.I am a Fulbright Scholar from Pakistan.I came to the university of Minnesota last year.My experience here has been amazing.I love the campus and the city.I am excited to be the new International Student Ambassador.I hope my blogs can be of help to the current and prospective international students.

Looking forward to talk to you and feel free to ask me any questions that you might have regarding the university or the city:)


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