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Old 02-18-2010, 08:46 AM
 
22 posts, read 49,489 times
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Hi! My boyfriend and I are trying to relocate to someplace great and we think we found it in Fargo. We are both students at the moment going into nursing and computer programming. He is originally from the San Fransisco Bay area and has lived there his whole life minus the few recent years in Idaho where we met. I have lived in Idaho for the past seven years. We are a pretty easy going couple and want to find someplace where we could raise a family in the future.

We have a couple questions about the area and would love some local advice.

1) How is the restaurant scene? Is there a diverse variety of options with food and quality?

2) The school's tuition is insanely high for out-of-state!! Is it worth it? How are the professors and student service? We have mainly been looking at going to North Dakota State University but are there other good options you would recommend?

3) We have been checking the weather stats the last couple of days and it seems to get pretty cold there. Is it one of those colds that hits you EVERY time you go out or is it something that you get used to? Also, is a block heater necessary for your car and if it is, are outlets provided at most living spaces?

4) We have read a few things on this matter but are still concerned about it. To put it bluntly, my boyfriend isn't white. Will that be a problem?

5) How are the people in Fargo? Generally friendly, talkative, rude, cliquey, accepting of newcomers, etc... Also, how is the driving? Right now we are living in a place where the drivers are completely clueless when it comes to road and we would like to go to a place where driving flows despite the number of cars on the road. We hope we don't sound too rude or ignorant with that last thing but it has become a big concern with us.

6) Is renting an apartment/townhouse or buying a house better? Is there a good variety of both and how hard are they to get into?

7) Anything else you want to say! We welcome any comments!

Sorry for the novel but I figured it best to give everything at once. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your help!
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
418 posts, read 1,186,045 times
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I've inserted my answers--or more properly opinions--below. For some, it may definitely be a YMMV situation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bears8489 View Post
Hi! My boyfriend and I are trying to relocate to someplace great and we think we found it in Fargo. We are both students at the moment going into nursing and computer programming. He is originally from the San Fransisco Bay area and has lived there his whole life minus the few recent years in Idaho where we met. I have lived in Idaho for the past seven years. We are a pretty easy going couple and want to find someplace where we could raise a family in the future.

We have a couple questions about the area and would love some local advice.

1) How is the restaurant scene? Is there a diverse variety of options with food and quality? Yes--the variety is getting much better; there are the standard chain restaurants out by the mall, but in downtown there are getting to be a fair number of interesting eateries, and we're getting more ethnic restaurants as well.

2) The school's tuition is insanely high for out-of-state!! Is it worth it? How are the professors and student service? We have mainly been looking at going to North Dakota State University but are there other good options you would recommend?
I have no idea on NDSU, never having attended there. It's had a period of rapid growth, so there are certainly strong opinions in the community about whether students' needs have been met--or not.
3) We have been checking the weather stats the last couple of days and it seems to get pretty cold there. Is it one of those colds that hits you EVERY time you go out or is it something that you get used to? Also, is a block heater necessary for your car and if it is, are outlets provided at most living spaces? Your definition of cold changes. Five degrees F w/ no wind and sun is a lovely winter day once you've acclimated. But there's no getting around the fact that -20F is just plain hard.

4) We have read a few things on this matter but are still concerned about it. To put it bluntly, my boyfriend isn't white. Will that be a problem? I've heard reports both ways on this one. In general, if you're contributing to the community and hard-working it's a pretty much live-and-let-live place. But is there closet racism--yeah.

5) How are the people in Fargo? Generally friendly, talkative, rude, cliquey, accepting of newcomers, etc... Also, how is the driving? Right now we are living in a place where the drivers are completely clueless when it comes to road and we would like to go to a place where driving flows despite the number of cars on the road. We hope we don't sound too rude or ignorant with that last thing but it has become a big concern with us.
As discussed at length in other topics, ND as a whole can be a difficult place to get to know people. The mixing of folks in academic communities makes that process a whole lot easier than if you were to move here in your 30s with a family or established career.
Driving--it can be a real mix. You have some drivers coming in from country towns who drive as if there is no one else on the road (no turn signals ever) and when talking w/ people who have lived in metro areas to the east there are many complaints that no one in Fargo-Moorhead knows how to properly merge on to the interstates.
6) Is renting an apartment/townhouse or buying a house better? Is there a good variety of both and how hard are they to get into?
There are many apartments in town in a variety of price ranges. Buying a home would depend on how long you plan on staying. Although it's a stable market in comparison w/ many metro areas, prices didn't necessarily bottom out w/ the mortgage crisis, so there aren't really great deals out there. Also, prices aren't rising rapidly that you could re-sell in a couple of years and net a profit.
7) Anything else you want to say! We welcome any comments!
It's a very liveable, safe community w/ short commute times.
Sorry for the novel but I figured it best to give everything at once. Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your help!
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Forest Hills
555 posts, read 1,429,508 times
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I would encourage you to avoid going to NDSU for 1 very simple reason... it's easiest to get a job near where you graduate and frankly, the job market for college educated folks in ND is horrible. If you're from ND and want to stay close to family while in college NDSU makes sense... but to come from out of state to attend a university that's not really known for anything, to relocate to a market that doesn't provide much in the way of college educated employment? That seems like a really poor decision.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
246 posts, read 904,290 times
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1) Pretty good actually. I am from the south, and like southern cooking as well general BBQ. With Rib Fest and places like the Cajun Cafe, I get my fill of what I like. Plenty of restaurants around that make pretty good food considering this is North Dakota. Was pretty impressed with a few pizza places too especially after moving from New England area.

2) Only comment I can give there is that I when I went to school in ND, they had some program that if you were from the midwest you could get tuition very close to the cost of what instate was. Its what got me up here. You should check and see if there are any programs the state offers that you could take advantage of to get cheaper tuition. Who knows, maybe they have one to retain people in the area as well.

3) Its cold. But its not a wet cold like in New England area. Its something you get used to, and this is coming from someone who was born and raised in the south.

4) Neither am I, though my wife is. No issues to speak of. If you plan to be with him, its something ultimately you have to learn to deal with, both the good and bad. For me and mine, its been very good in ND. The only group of people I have mainly seen issues with have been those of Native American decent, and that has been much. Fargo is a pretty progressive place as far as that goes. And North Dakotans in general I would say are good people who will treat you as deserve to be treated. Don't be an ass, and you won't get treated like one.

5) At a college age, you probably will meet people and make friends.

6) There is a good amount of rentals available for a variety of needs. As for housing, the market doesn't appear to be affected by what has happened in other areas as there wasn't a massive run up from what I can tell like California and Florida. I would say for you guys, first get your careers going and your relationship stable before looking at buying housing. When you do go look for housing, take into consideration the new flood plain.

7) I really like it here. My family who all live in the south think I am nuts due to the cold, but, there is something about living in an area that you can drive out, stand in a field, and hear nothing. Just silence. Its peaceful.

To add to this:

Does your boyfriend or you have any work experience in the fields you are looking into?

In ND, I found that in general, they want people who have experience. I did manage to get a few offers right out of college for computer programming, but it was much better once I had experience from another state. Also, don't expect pay along the lines of what you think coming from those areas.

Fargo would be probably the best place for him in the state for computer programmer work. I would recommend that if you guys do come up here and go to school, that you guys should do internships if possible.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:39 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
1,034 posts, read 1,065,949 times
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I am going to disagree with a previous poster, if you are in the health care field Fargo is a good place to head to. With an aging population and area hospitals looking at expanding, there will be plenty of opportunities for nurses.

For NDSU, you can get close to instate tuition if you qualify for one of these programs...

Quote:
Students living in the states participating in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) Progam or the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) or contiguous provinces (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming) are eligible for tuition at 150 percent of NDSU's resident tuition. WUE and MSEP tuition are considerably less than nonresident tuition. Students from participating states qualify for the reduced tuition rate simply by indicating their state of residence on the Application for Admission.
NDSU: Admission Office: Prospective Students: Costs - Tuition, Fees, Room + Board (http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/prospective_students/cost/index.shtml - broken link)

Fargo does have a growing tech sector, it isn't huge, but there could be opportunities for a person with a computer programming degree. I know a few people who recently got a job in the field after college.

As for NDSU, it is pretty much your standard state university, most professors that I had were good and I definitely don't regret going there. If you more specific questions I could try to answer them, I graduated this past December with a Comm degree so I don't really know a lot about nursing or computer programming programs.

I would recommend that you take a trip up here before moving so you can get a feel for the area. Some people love Fargo and for others it isn't their cup of tea. I am happy here, I will probably have to go somewhere else to get a job, but if have the opportunity I would definitely like to come back and raise a family here.

I just graduated from NDSU in December so I could try to answer any questions you have, I did graduate with a degree in Comm. so I don't know a whole lot about the computer programming and nursing programs though.
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:16 AM
 
252 posts, read 581,005 times
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1) Depends on what you consider diverse. For hundreds of miles in every direction from it, Fargo is diverse. We have mostly one of everything, but I have a coworker from Cali that bemoans there not being a single Filipino or Samoan place in town. But off the top of my head I know we have chinese, vietnamese, cajun, sushi, korean, indian, italian, middle-eastern, suit-and-tie, thai, mexican, and a slew of americanized whatevers.

2) I've been told for nursing that MSUM is the better school in the area to pick. Its in Minnesota, but its right across the river from Fargo. From what I've been told, any of the universities are pretty good as far as computer programing goes.

3) Most get used to it. I'm a sissy that was born and raised here and still isn't used to it. My coworkers laugh because I'd rather hide in my car for half an hour and let it defrost itself than go out and scrape because I think its too cold. But I also don't turn my AC on until it hits 90. I'm the weirdo here. and depending on how your car handles the cold, most need a block heater. Most apartments are good about plugins unless you get an apartment that is located in a house-turned-apartments or an apartment that has road-parking only.

4) Only serious racism is closet racism. It also depends on what you mean by "not white." For the closet racists, some colors are more accepted than others.

5) People are friendly, but its hard to get in a social circle. You'll get along with your coworkers great, but they'll completely overlook inviting you to social gatherings. Its like they forget that they can broaden their circle of friends until you all but invite yourself, and then once you make it to one you're invited all the time. And driving is actually pretty good. Campuses you'll need to watch out. I lived on them and you always knew who was in their first year because they had both headlights and both taillights. Lots of new drivers that don't know what icy driving is.

6) Start with an apartment and see if you like it here. Buying a house and then realizing it isn't your thing would be a huge hassle, wouldn't it?

7) Unless you get amazing loans to cover your rent, have jobs lined up here in advance if you can. Just because ND has more jobs than elsewhere doesn't mean they will fit your schedule or that they pay enough for your lifestyle. You have a lot of competition for any job these days.

Also, I lived with a guy from the Bay area... he was absolutely flabbergasted with how its always some sort of windy here during the day, but dead still at night. Not a major thing, but just something to pay attention to. :P
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:19 AM
 
22 posts, read 49,489 times
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Hey thanks for all the advice everyone! It has helped immensely. Fargo sounds like a great place and we are excited to come check it out!
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:30 AM
 
22 posts, read 49,489 times
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How are the housing prices? We decided we wanted to find a place to rent (preferably a townhouse if possible) but don't know if there is anything in our budget. We are students so our monthly is pretty small. We would like to keep it in the $500-$700 range. Is that possible here for something safe and cute? It doesn't have to be fancy just liveable.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 35,433,454 times
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You might check this source. Don't know if you qualify but it's worth a shot.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:16 PM
 
22 posts, read 49,489 times
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Thanks ElkHunter for that. We are going to look into that some more.

We are looking into block heaters for our cars. How much is a block heater going to affect our electricity bill? We are also finding all sorts of heaters (coolant, oil, battery, fuel pump, etc).....which one(s) are necessary? Thanks!
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