So… you scored that big city internship! Congrats, girl. We know you deserve it.
You definitely earned a night of popping champagne and celebrating with your girlfriends but once the confetti settles, it’s time to face reality: You’re about to embark on a journey in a brand new city.
And uprooting to an unfamiliar place comes along with lots of questions and concerns:
Where are you going to live? What are you going to do all summer without your college besties? Will this be the best summer ever…or *gulp* the loneliest?
But no worries! The Lala presents you with The Out-Of-Towner’s Guide to Interning in a Big City.
Find Housing…Like Now.
Not a student at a school like NYU or the University of Chicago? Not a problem! Many city-based universities offer residential housing for visiting students during the summer.
Opting for the dorm life is a convenient, reliable way to stay in the city. Most dorms come fully furnished, have heightened security and there is no headache from dealing with brokers and landlords.
The catch? The fees for outside students can be pricy and summer dorming fills up fast. If you think dorming is the best option for you, you should start signing up now.
But for those who would rather stay in an apartment than live in a dorm, sites like Craigslist and airbnb are filled with cheap sublease listings. Be sure to note that most listers won’t post their apartments online until a few weeks before they want the space filled. Check out web classifieds about a month before your internship start date and promptly begin your housing search from there.
Insider tip: NEVER send money in the mail, online or put any money down on a sublease until you’ve seen the place in person. This might mean couch surfing for the first few days in your new city, but it’s worth it to avoid a potential scam.
InstaStalk Your Co-Interns.
Leaving your college roommates and sorority sisters for an entire summer is a bummer, but you now have three whole months to meet new people and bond with your co-interns. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know fellow college students from all over the country!
If you are given the names of your co-interns ahead of time, do a quick search on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t go too crazy with the creeping (no need to dig up that embarrassing tweet from ’09!) but do try to find a few things that you and your co-interns have in common.
They’ll definitely be impressed when you subtly mention that you, too, are obsessed with their favorite bands and agree that avocado toast is, like, life changing.
Prep, Prep, Prep!
Use the rest of the semester to prepare for your heavily anticipated first day: Read up on the company. Stay in-the-know with industry news. Double-check the office dress code and buy that perfect “first day” outfit. Figure out the route you will need to take from your apartment or dorm to the office and do a trial run a few days before (navigating subway and bus routes takes some time!).
“You want to set a consistent tone on that first day,” Berger said. “Be on point the first day and continue that behavior throughout the entire internship.”
Do your homework and set the bar high—you only have one chance to make a killer first impression.
Sign Up For City Insiders.
A good chunk of your time will be spent in the office but don’t forget to explore your new home for the summer.
Use social media to your advantage—hit the ‘like’ button on Time Out New York, Chicago and Los Angeles Facebook pages for frequent updates and statuses on happenings in your city. Sign up for email alerts, follow the city’s best bloggers and even engage in some old-fashioned Googling for restaurant and nightlife ideas.
After you find a few events and places you want to try, round up your co-interns and plan a weekend outing.
Once you have your housing ready-to-go, your first day outfit planned, your route memorized and some new intern friends, you can finally feel free to relax and enjoy your exciting summer in the city!