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Old 01-07-2009, 05:52 AM
 
12 posts, read 33,515 times
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Hello everyone ! I hope starting my graduate studies in Fall 2009 as an international student in the field of Ship and Sea Constructions and I really need some help for guidance because it's like I am going to be getting into a totally new type of living in a foreign country.

After the declaration of admissions, I will choose among 3 universities, namely University of Michigan (@ Ann Arbor), University of California(@ Berkeley) and Virginia Tech(@ Blacksburg.) But I am clueless about which one would be the most suitable for me. Can anyone help me by providing some ideas on this matter and information about these places ? Here is some information about me so that you can say what is good or bad according to my properties and conditions :

Age: 23 year-old male.
Income: My tuition, student fees, compulsory charges for education and health insurance will be handled by a sponsor; I won't need to think about them. And I will have a monthly budget of $1235 to pay for my room&board, food, transportation, personal expenses, entertaintment etc.
Lifestyle: I have a social lifestyle. I am a scuba-diver and also a professional salsa and RnB hip hop dancer who regularly attends dance parties. I am pretty used to meeting new people (especially girls ) and getting social. So, as an engineering graduate student, I would like the place I will live in to provide me opportunities for a lively social life in a not-so expensive way. I don't smoke but I like drinking and nightlife(just for fun; not too much.) It seems like I will use public transportation instead of a car due to the strict budget I will have. UC Berkeley and University of Michigan have very expensive dorms, so; I can think about living with mates by renting.
From the Past : I grew up in a warm, shore city of Mediterrean where nearly 4 million people live in. It never snows here in my homeland, and the weather is pretty good even in the winter. We have sun nearly every day of the year except a few days in the winter. People are also open-minded,warm and easy to to communicate here in my city. I have enjoyed a cheap university life here.

Although the quality of the universities will be an important element in my consideration; financing myself and living a happy life during my graduate studies is also important in equal. I would be glad to hear any suggestions, ideas or information for they will be very helpful.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by mturkol; 01-07-2009 at 06:02 AM..
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: West Coast
1,291 posts, read 3,491,055 times
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I know about Berkeley and a little about Ann Arbor.

Berkeley is a college town in the middle of a huge metro (San Francisco Bay Area). The town is vibrant, very walking friendly, and is connected to SF via the BART (subway) system. Being close to SF puts you near the cities nightlife. There are lots of small shops and an unbelievably diverse selection of restaurants. Most restaurants on University Ave and Telegraph Ave are affordable and very good, but you can also find high end restaurants on College Ave. Weather wise, you may like it the best out of the 3 cities you have to choose from. The climate is mediteranean, and as you know, that means it only rains during the winter and is typically dry the rest of the year. The rainy season is between Nov-March, with the bulk of rain falling Jan-March. Winter day time temps generally are in the mid 50s to low 60s, and night times can go into the low 40s. Also it never snows. April-October is in the upper 60s to low 70s and nighttime temps are in the 50s. Very nice climate if you ask me. You can enjoy jogging most of the year along the Berkeley Marina, which is seperated by the bay waters from Downtown SF. It is a beautiful view.

As far as Ann Arbor goes, I understand it is a college town as well. The only issue you may want to be aware about is that it is very cold 6 months of the year. I'm talking about snow and cold temps. Also since it is more of a continental climate, there is rain in the summer. It is very different, and you may enjoy the change in weather compared to your home.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:10 AM
 
22,770 posts, read 25,202,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mturkol View Post
Lifestyle: I have a social lifestyle. I am a scuba-diver and also a professional salsa and RnB hip hop dancer who regularly attends dance parties. I am pretty used to meeting new people (especially girls ) and getting social. So, as an engineering graduate student, I would like the place I will live in to provide me opportunities for a lively social life in a not-so expensive way. I don't smoke but I like drinking and nightlife(just for fun; not too much.)
I can't help you with picking a town, since I haven't been to those particular campuses.

I can say that in my experience, engineering school and a social life (one that involves girls, I mean) are incompatible.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:35 PM
 
Location: West Coast
1,291 posts, read 3,491,055 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubber_factory View Post
I can say that in my experience, engineering school and a social life (one that involves girls, I mean) are incompatible.
haha.

True.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Rockport Texas from El Paso
2,601 posts, read 7,310,901 times
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yeah yeah I said when i went off to law school that no women or parties - that this was for serious study. It was too.. for about 10 days.

Ok Cal -Berkeley is the best public university in the world - Michigan is up there but Berkeley is different with many international students. There is nothing quite like Berkeley.


Ann Arbor is not too far from Detroit. You can buy a house for less than $1000 and perhaps you could go for a semester without being killed. Actually its not a reasonable commute. Ann Arbor is cold and although its ok summers its not as cool as you might think.

Frankly I don't even know what university is in Blackstone VA but only the Univ of Virginia comes even close to Cal and Michigan and thats in Charlottesville.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:31 AM
 
1,964 posts, read 5,655,272 times
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For experience and variety and weather, Berkeley.
Between Berkeley and Michigan academically it basically a wash with Berkeley having a very slight edge.
Michigan is much cheaper and Ann Arbor is a very nice town, however.
V.T. isn't in the same ballpark academically and is easily dismissed from this discussion.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
2,927 posts, read 7,395,791 times
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Oh I would pick a city in Virginia anyday over Michigan or California. But that's just me. The weather and job market in Michigan is so unsuitable.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,284 posts, read 15,298,035 times
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It would make absoultely no sense to live in Detroit and commute to A^2.

I got my Master's from Michigan. Great school with lousy weather nine months of the year. Campus is pretty spread out, but there's a good on-campus transportation system that's included with your tuition and fees. City/off campus mass tranist is adequate by American standards. I'd say the rainy season is more in the fall than in the summer. (Summers in Michigan are usually very, very pleasant)

If you can manage the transportation out of town, there's supposed to be some very interesting scuba diving in the Great Lakes in spots- lots of shipwrecks and such. Just bring your very cold water gear.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,057 posts, read 29,727,451 times
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You're going to choose your university based on lifestyle? I must be getting old, because I remember when people chose their university based on what the school had to offer in the area of education.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:06 AM
 
3,567 posts, read 7,517,376 times
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UofM is a better school than Berkeley. It'll also take you more places

If you're an engineering student, fewer places in this country are as well positioned as Michigan to offer you education in that area. On the job as well as otherwise. I'd highly recommend UofM, especially for their chemical engineering program.
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