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Old 01-09-2010, 01:53 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,641 times
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Default FIU-Student from Canada, safety concerns.

I was offered acceptance for a graduate program at FIU. One of the reasons I applied in the first place is my perception of Miami. Being born and raised in Toronto, Canada I absolutely love cultural diversity and can only see myself living in a city that is multi-ethnic. Thus Miami seemed like an interesting place to apply to.

Nonetheless, i've read a lot of horror stories online that it is incredibly dangerous and almost unliveable. How bad is it really?

Would I be able to live close to campus and be able to take public transit and walk everywhere? Or do I need a car to duck through the bad neighbourhoods depending on where I want to go? I don't want to feel like I need to be locked into specific areas and neighbourhoods having to worry all the time.

I'm planning on visiting Miami with my parents who are in their late 60's. I
offered advice to NOT rent a car and take cabs everywhere because of possibility of ending up in the wrong area, etc. etc. Do I have to really worry about taking them now?

We don't speak Spanish well either. Will that make us stand out and be targets?

Anyway, I have visited a lot of 3rd world countries before including latin america and have been fine taking the proper precautions. It's just that I don't know what Miami is like and my questions may be ungrounded based on horrendous stories i've read online.

Someone please give me a reality check for what the city is like for a grad student with little money and potential precautions and things to do with parents in their late 60's.

Thanks
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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Troll
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:54 PM
 
Location: between Ath,GR & Mia,FL...
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Hmm,maybe,let's see...
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:13 PM
 
3,369 posts, read 7,342,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysterious_Mose View Post
I was offered acceptance for a graduate program at FIU. One of the reasons I applied in the first place is my perception of Miami. Being born and raised in Toronto, Canada I absolutely love cultural diversity and can only see myself living in a city that is multi-ethnic. Thus Miami seemed like an interesting place to apply to.

Nonetheless, i've read a lot of horror stories online that it is incredibly dangerous and almost unliveable. How bad is it really?

Would I be able to live close to campus and be able to take public transit and walk everywhere? Or do I need a car to duck through the bad neighbourhoods depending on where I want to go? I don't want to feel like I need to be locked into specific areas and neighbourhoods having to worry all the time.

I'm planning on visiting Miami with my parents who are in their late 60's. I
offered advice to NOT rent a car and take cabs everywhere because of possibility of ending up in the wrong area, etc. etc. Do I have to really worry about taking them now?

We don't speak Spanish well either. Will that make us stand out and be targets?

Anyway, I have visited a lot of 3rd world countries before including latin america and have been fine taking the proper precautions. It's just that I don't know what Miami is like and my questions may be ungrounded based on horrendous stories i've read online.

Someone please give me a reality check for what the city is like for a grad student with little money and potential precautions and things to do with parents in their late 60's.

Thanks
Most of the Miami area is not unsafe, and the area around FIU is fine as well. Parts of Miami are heavily Hispanic (including the area around FIU) and you will hear a lot of Spanish spoken, but most people do speak English. Getting a car for your visit with the parents is a good idea, as Miami as pretty spread out (similar to Los Angeles in that sense) and it's the easiest way to get around.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:22 PM
 
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^thanks for your comment. I apologize for the inflammatory nature of my original post. As much as Miami seems like a very vibrant and multi-cultural city(which is what attracted me in the first place), from some reading i've done online it came across as virtually unliveable, almost like Detroit. From questions i've asked on other forums, i've had people tell me not to rent a car because of ending up in the wrong areas, dressing down to not attract thieves, and how not speaking Spanish could attract negative attention as well, etc.

I've been to a lot of bad parts in the US and even around the world, but based on heresay Miami has been painted as a warzone. As a potential grad student, I just want to know what my lifestyle would be like having to consider the potential "dangers" and having to rely on public transit, walking, being out at night and so on.

crisp, thanks again for your honest response.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:04 AM
 
3,369 posts, read 7,342,825 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysterious_Mose View Post
^thanks for your comment. I apologize for the inflammatory nature of my original post. As much as Miami seems like a very vibrant and multi-cultural city(which is what attracted me in the first place), from some reading i've done online it came across as virtually unliveable, almost like Detroit. From questions i've asked on other forums, i've had people tell me not to rent a car because of ending up in the wrong areas, dressing down to not attract thieves, and how not speaking Spanish could attract negative attention as well, etc.

I've been to a lot of bad parts in the US and even around the world, but based on heresay Miami has been painted as a warzone. As a potential grad student, I just want to know what my lifestyle would be like having to consider the potential "dangers" and having to rely on public transit, walking, being out at night and so on.

crisp, thanks again for your honest response.
FIU is located in western Miami-Dade county, which is largely a middle-class suburban area with a low-to-average crime rate. A warzone it is not. To be honest with you, anything of interest in the Miami area is in a decent area; there is really no reason to go into the bad areas. Don't let the fact that there is a high Spanish-speaking population fool you into thinking that you'll stick out like a sore thumb just because you speak English - all young people speak fluent English and most older people who aren't recent immigrants speak English at at least a conversational level. Also, many people speak little Spanish or no Spanish at all. This includes many people whose parents have come to Miami from Spanish-speaking countries, and of course many people whose families strictly speak English or English + a non-Spanish language.

Public transit in the FIU area is neither very convenient nor widely used; it is a very automobile-oriented area just like the great majority of the United States. If you were to live closer to the water in denser, more established areas, you would be able to rely on the MetroRail to get to downtown Miami and shopping, but out by FIU almost everyone either drives or carpools. Again, regarding safety, there are no areas that I would call "bad" anywhere near FIU. One of my best friends got a degree in business from there, lived a few miles away in Doral, and graduated three years ago. He never witnessed or was affected by crime, and this is a person who grew up in a wealthy, safe area so I am sure he would have complained if he found the area to be questionable!

Let me know if you have any further questions, and best of luck with your impending move.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:18 AM
 
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I think your fears are based on a few highly publicized incidents that happened way back when. Crime agaisnt tourists is not high in Miami, it happens, but it happens everywhere.

The biggest problem here is using public transit. Rent a car!!! You will be fine. No area is so bad that you can't drive through it. I mean if worse comes to worse you floor it lol but seriously, you would have to be looking for a street that rough, you wouldn't stumble across Ali Baba Blvd in Opa Locka by accident.

People perceive Miami as being dangerous because of the different cultures and languages, what would be unsafe in Canada is no big geal here (bars on windows, which are also decorative in South Florida).

In general Miami has the attitude and I mean ATTITUDE of a big city, but there are so many tourists here, another 3 won't stand out over anyone else. Most people just go about their lives and won't notice you all.

Live in an area near FIU, it is all safe. Sweetwater is the cheapest, but also the most run down (ubut not dangerous). Find a place in Kendall or Doral...which is where most of the FIU students from out of the area live. In Westchester there are few options unless you rent a room in a house. Oh, there is Fontainebleau nearby also, but it is so overpriced and nothing special, you may as well live in Doral or Kendall and pay the same for something nicer.

You need a car because everything is so spread out, not to avoid bad areas.

You will always have a fear of a place you have never been to before and heard bad things about, but once you are here, and have an open mind, you will see it is perfectly safe to live here if you make the right choices in life...and while it isn't like any other city, it is not third world or a war zone...it is unique in it's own way and that is why a lot of people want to come here as well. You will be fine!
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:19 AM
 
1,080 posts, read 2,360,085 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisp444 View Post
FIU is located in western Miami-Dade county, which is largely a middle-class suburban area with a low-to-average crime rate. A warzone it is not. To be honest with you, anything of interest in the Miami area is in a decent area; there is really no reason to go into the bad areas. Don't let the fact that there is a high Spanish-speaking population fool you into thinking that you'll stick out like a sore thumb just because you speak English - all young people speak fluent English and most older people who aren't recent immigrants speak English at at least a conversational level. Also, many people speak little Spanish or no Spanish at all. This includes many people whose parents have come to Miami from Spanish-speaking countries, and of course many people whose families strictly speak English or English + a non-Spanish language.

Public transit in the FIU area is neither very convenient nor widely used; it is a very automobile-oriented area just like the great majority of the United States. If you were to live closer to the water in denser, more established areas, you would be able to rely on the MetroRail to get to downtown Miami and shopping, but out by FIU almost everyone either drives or carpools. Again, regarding safety, there are no areas that I would call "bad" anywhere near FIU. One of my best friends got a degree in business from there, lived a few miles away in Doral, and graduated three years ago. He never witnessed or was affected by crime, and this is a person who grew up in a wealthy, safe area so I am sure he would have complained if he found the area to be questionable!

Let me know if you have any further questions, and best of luck with your impending move.
thats doral, and people do get shot and killed around fiu/westcheszter/fountaineblue area, but most of the time they know each other. remember bbefore christmas 2 people were shot by the trailer park on 142ave( think its the area) and then at the house on 132 ave by sw 8th st.

sweet water is run down looking but not ghetto, its all about who you involve yourself with.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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I'm laughing at how people think Miami is a war zone! If you are not into illegal drugs you won't wind up in the bad areas where they are sold. Public transport consists of buses mostly and the one Metrorail where you would actually have to drive to use. Don't worry about renting a car since you are going to need it. Crisp444 gave you good advice on housing options so best of luck to you and enjoy your stay.
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Old 01-10-2010, 01:36 PM
 
7 posts, read 11,641 times
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Thanks for your advice everyone. I will definitely rent a car and check out those areas around campus mentioned. If I do choose to go to school there, I will 100% take Spanish courses and learn it as best I can.

Any advice on where to take the parents? stuff to see, do, stay, etc. ?
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