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Old 11-11-2011, 10:06 AM
 
16 posts, read 46,262 times
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I'm a 20 y o european student who is going to move to north america for a year in august 2012.

I can chose one of these three places:

1. Grand Forks in North Dakota, US
2. Chicago (North Park neighborhood), Illinois, US
3. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Do you know anything about these places? What should I know as an european foreigne about them? I am from Iceland for that matter... (doesn't mean I wanna live in the cold though)

I wanna live in a VERY tollerant and liberal place.
Safety is important as well, don't really want to watch my back all the time.
The weather isn't important in this case.

Which of the places is the most beautiful? Where the people are friendly?
How is the night life in these places? (would be fun to go out sometime and get a little drunk )

What I'd want to avoid are rednecks and possible gang neighborhoods. I wanna come back to Europe alive in one piece

PLEASE HELP ME GUYS!
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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Grand Forks, North Dakota is like the last frontier. It is a small town literally in the middle of the Great Plains. There is not much to do there and little public transit. I would advise against going there.

I have no knowledge of Victoria, BC.

Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States. I am from there. North Park is a good neigbhorhood. Lots of stuff going on in Chicago, great public transit, and plenty of activities to keep you busy. Chicago does have a large gang presence, but not anywhere near North Park. You will be safe. Just avoid parts of the South and West sides.

Just of note. I gather that by August 2012 you will be 21. If not, you will not be able to drink legally in the US as the drinking age is 21. Most places are very very strict on that, it is not like Europe in that regard.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:24 AM
 
16 posts, read 46,262 times
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Haha yeah of course I will be 21 by then, here it's legalized at the age of 18 :P

I am ALMOST positive that I will be placed in the North Park neighborhood since I would attend the North Park college, and the Chair people there are aware of me being an exchange student with little or even none knowledge of the US so they would find me a placement close to the uni.

Is the North Park neighborhood large? Is it close to downtown? Speaking of downtown, is it dangerous there? Are some gangs there etc?

Is it very far from North Park to get to these west and south sides that you mentioned? So that I wouldn't get there "by accident" and end up in big trouble?
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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North Park is cool. It's pretty diverse and pretty safe. Go to the Chicago sub forum and ask questions there, they're good about answering questions.
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Old 11-11-2011, 10:49 AM
 
1,806 posts, read 3,384,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucky3169 View Post
Haha yeah of course I will be 21 by then, here it's legalized at the age of 18 :P

I am ALMOST positive that I will be placed in the North Park neighborhood since I would attend the North Park college, and the Chair people there are aware of me being an exchange student with little or even none knowledge of the US so they would find me a placement close to the uni.

Is the North Park neighborhood large? Is it close to downtown? Speaking of downtown, is it dangerous there? Are some gangs there etc?

Is it very far from North Park to get to these west and south sides that you mentioned? So that I wouldn't get there "by accident" and end up in big trouble?
North Park is pretty large I guess. It's a city neighborhood. It is not dangerous at all. The area by the university is pretty good. It is about 30-35 minutes on the train to downtown. Downtown is very safe. But there is plenty of nightlife near where you are also. The West and South sides are far away. Google Map "North Park" and you will see the distances to everywhere.
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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I would vote Victoria BC. Extremely beautiful, oceanside. It's close to Vancouver BC as well as Washington state. Warmer weather than your other two choices but also good proximity to winter recreation.
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Old 11-11-2011, 01:18 PM
 
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Grand Forks is less than 100,000 people in the entire area, and is about 250KM from the nearest city (which isn't really that big). It's also quite cold up there, so I'd be aware of that. Averages in the winter are anywhere from -10C to -20C for highs and lows. It can get down to -30C.

Chicago still gets cold in winter, but averages from 0C to -6C for highs and lows. Chicago is much larger, around 10,000,000 people in the metro area.

North Park is a very safe area, so you don't have to worry about gangs or fear for your life. Chicago is known for crime, but it's also very segregated in certain areas of the city. You'd have to go 10KM through a very built up area of the city to get down to the closest dangerous areas on the west side. It's something you'll just probably never do. The really bad areas of the city on the south side are almost 30KM away. There are almost 100 neighborhoods in Chicago, and North Park is just one of them. They all flow into each other though, so you really won't know when you're leaving one neighborhood and entering another. The street is set up on a massive grid, so the streets go on forever.

There is a rail line that ends about a 5 minute walk from North Park University. It's proabably the best line as far as being clean and going through very nice neighborhoods (the Brown Line). That will take you down towards the lake and Lakeview/Lincoln Park where there is a lot of nightlife. It's about 10 stops from North Park, and would take maybe 20 minutes. If you stay on the train it will take you right into the downtown Chicago area in another 8 stops or so (another 15 minutes).

Downtown is very safe and there's a lot to do. Always thousands of tourists and hundreds of thousands of college students, office workers, etc.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Murphy, NC
3,223 posts, read 8,511,763 times
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I'd go for North Dakota.. Chicago is probably too similar to Europe. But also look how cold ND is. British Columbia is probably less cold and more diverse, but then again, it isn't America.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
6,526 posts, read 7,481,467 times
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I would say British Columbia is by far the most beautiful and likely the most liberal as well. Chicago is a very large city and parts of it can be dangerous. It has a very nice setting on Lake Michgian however. Chicago is the home of Obama so it obvioulsly leans left, but probably not as liberal as British Columbia. North Dakota is wide open spaces and alot of isolation, and definately not liberal like your looking for. Judging by what you said you want I would say Victoria British Columbia would likely be more your style. British Columbia, Washington and Oregon are often refered to as "Cascadia" and that whole area would offer a similar lifestyle. Other cities to check out in that area are Seattle and Portland. Im sure they would meet your needs as well.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Some of the gang violence centered in Albany Park does occasionally spill into North Park. Not an issue on the north end of the neighborhood, but it can have quality-of-life implications on the southern end.
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