New York is the most expensive city in the Unites States and probably one of the most expensive cities in the world. You notice it right away when you arrive, because you over-pay for everything. Food and housing will cost you more than anywhere else. I had to pay 2 dollars for a 1 liter bottle of water! But this post will not be about food, today I am going to talk about housing and how I found my apartment.
When I contacted New York Language Center I asked them what housing options they provided for the students, because I read on their website that they had a few different options. They send me a document that explained everything very carefully. There was a shared apartment in Manhattan that I was interested in, but the prices were outrageous. I do not remember the exact price, but it was around 500 dollars a week. There was also a shared apartment in Brooklyn which would cost around 300 dollars a week. That is 1200 dollar a month!
All the way at the bottom of the document was a suggestion to use New York Habitat for those who wanted to find an apartment in New York City themselves. NYLC said that there were other sites I could use, but that they knew for certain that this was a reliable organization. So, I decided to see what options they had. The website is very user-friendly. You can send them a request and they will find the best options for you. To send a request you have to fill out a Client Information Form. You just have to tell them about yourself, about the apartment you are looking for and about you stay. It is really self-explanatory.
I got an e-mail back with two options and I was really happy with one of them, so the agent send me some forms I had to fill out and the room would be mine. But if you do not like the options they give you, they will look further for you. Once I had filled out the forms and signed them, I scanned them and send them back. I had to pay them a fee for their services, which is 50 percent of the rent. That is when things started getting complicated.
Apparently the landlord had rented my room to someone else. Now I had to wait to see what solution they would come up with. Fortunately the landlord rented out rooms one floor below the room I wanted and there was a room I could rent for the same price and time on that floor. This meant new paperwork, so I had to fill out the forms and send them back. This time the room was mine!
Now I live in an apartment in Harlem I share with four other people. We share a bathroom and a kitchen, but we all have our own rooms. Fortunately the rooms are completely furnished. I have a bed, a closet, a dresser, a desk and there is air-conditioning which I am extremely thankful for, because the temperature has been around 35 degrees Celsius most days.