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Old 12-01-2013, 02:41 PM
 
49 posts, read 48,563 times
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I am an American History student in the U.K. and next year I am going on my year abroad to the U.S.. One of my university options, Marquette University, has made it to top of my list. I can also study at UW-Milwaukee, so that will be my 2nd choice. However, I have a few questions about Milwaukee.

1. I have heard Milwaukee is a bit grim, but based on Google Street View it looks nicer than my home town!! I love the close proximity to Chicago and the fact it is a large city but is apparently a very warm and welcoming one. What would you describe the "vibe" of the city to be like? What is it like to really live there?

2. Weather. I have heard the weather is pretty extreme. I love snow, but I doubt Midwest snow is as timid as British snow. I hate the heat, how hot can it get? What are the summers like?

3. Crime. What is the crime like? I come from a high crime town, so I am used to it, however, Milwaukee may be more dangerous as it is considerably bigger than my home town.

4. Locals. How accepting are the locals? Would a Brit fit in? I understand MKE is heavily influenced by European culture because of immigration boom.

5. History. I am a history student so need to be in a city with an interesting history. I know little about MKE's history but love Chicago's criminal history and how it's grown to be such a powerhouse. I know MKE was involved in the Great Migration, so that would be a topic for me to research.

Thank you!
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee, Wi
181 posts, read 262,283 times
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1) It has it's gritty areas and it's nicer areas like any other place. In general Wisconsin is a beautiful state and you don't have to travel far from Milwaukee to see some great outdoors. I myself live in Juneau Town and I think it's a beautiful area.

2) I guess this is subjective. I don't think the Winters are that bad, but I love Winter. Last week it was 14F and about 0F with wind chill. The summer the only thing that sucks is the humidity during a heat wave. AC is a must! Window unit or whatever. If I remember correctly it in July it was like 95F with very high humidity making it feel like 110F for a week.

3) As for crime I would say it's typical of a pretty large urban city. I moved to Milwaukee almost 2 years ago so I don't know all the neighborhoods but I can tell just by looking which areas to avoid. It's like that Dave Chappelle bit. You may not know you're headed to a ghetto but you'll figure it out soon enough.

4) It's a mix for me. For the most part people are really cool. However when I'm walking down the street and say "Good morning" or "Good evening" to people, half of them ignore me.

5) I don't know enough to comment on this.
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:03 PM
 
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I think you will love it here. Milwaukee is a very nice small city that is easy to get around and there are many very nice attractions, restaurants and things to do around town.

I live in the suburbs and I imagine you will want to live in the city; so there will be other people here better qualified to answer. My husband used to live in an apartment on Prospect Avenue on the East side. But let someone younger with more current info. help you with that. There are very nice walkable neighborhoods that would be nice for you to live in. The area around UWM is more neighborhood and the area around Marquette is more urban. Be deliberate about choosing where you will live. I would be more cautious around Marquette; and would suggest looking into housing on the East side (generally) talk to the people at the schools to get their advice and comments too.

For weather, it's cold. You will need a WARM parka (not one that looks warm for fashion, something that is really warm!) a hat, scarf, boots, gloves. (When I was in college, I had a friend who came her from Japan. Her family gave her a fur coat; it's not that cold, you don't need that!) You will need an ice scraper for your car. City Parking is tough in the winter, get a parking spot or a garage if you can. Winters are manageable. Be safe and sensible and don't drive in snowstorms and keep some gas in your car, etc. It can be COLD when it's windy but otherwise isn't terribly bad.

You will be fine. You will have a great time here! People are mostly friendly. I think most Midwesterners love British accents and many people will find you charming and be very receptive if you are also social, outgoing and friendly.

We have a wonderful art museum, the Harley Davidson motorcycle museum is very nice, the public museum is nice, the breweries are nice. If you go to the Great Lakes distillery, one of my family members is a tour guide -- also check out Boerner Botanical Gardens in the southwest, Old World Wisconsin historical museum about an hour's drive, the Lynden Sculpture Garden and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

Enjoy your studies here!
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles County, CA
29,125 posts, read 21,185,462 times
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Just a note on transportation.

Harrier visited Milwaukee earlier this year and used MCTS(the local bus transit system).

It seemed to be quite efficient and affordable. It cost a bit more than the local public transit here in California, but it may be worth the cost if the system is superior in quality(upon which Harrier didn't stay long enough to be able to make an informed judgment call).

The city seemed somewhat sprawling to Harrier(though not as much as L.A.).

Harrier spend a significant amount of time in downtown Milwaukee and the area just west of it, where Marquette University is located.

If you choose to attend Marquette, you should be able to get around rather well using public transit.

Harrier wanted to get up near the UWM area, but was unable. That campus is more removed from the downtown area, so that may be something to consider.

However, Harrier took the bus between downtown and the airport area, and it was a quick and efficient trip.

Point being that Milwaukee is a decent town if you choose to live there without a car.

Of course, you should seek local advice; maybe Harrier's positive experience was an aberration.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:01 AM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,505,693 times
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UWM gives a free bus pass to all students. So don't worry about the price of public transportation if you go there.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee Ex-ex-ex-urbs
358 posts, read 397,822 times
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Marquette has the JRR Tolkien archive in the library. It's wonderful.

Will you even have a car? I was in Britain for ten days and rented a car one day to go from Salisbury to Stonehenge and Bath and back. It was weird driving on the other side of the road, but I managed all right. The hardest part was shifting with my left hand. But I wasn't about to try driving in London! Especially if you've never driven in snow and ice, be very careful! There are zipcars available if you want to go into the country.

Amtrak trains run from downtown to Chicago, that's the easiest way to do that. There's also a bus that goes to O'Hare if you want a cheaper and more timely flight than what Mitchell offers. Those are airports, BTW.

Crime is there if you go looking for it. Watch where you go north and south and at night. East and west are okay. Don't be nave or foolish.

People are friendly enough if you are. If you like bars, you will have lots of friends. There is also a decent British presence in the city; they probably have an online community.

Summer in Milwaukee is excellent. It never gets really hot for very long. There's always a lot to do, especially for a newbie. It can get frickin' cold in winter though. It seems to go on forever, too. But it's worth it.

As for history, the land was inhabited by the Potawatomi up until the Europeans moved in. Marquette and Joliet came through on their journey in 1673. The city was incorporated in 1846, which wasn't very long ago by British standards. Lots of various European cultures have been involved over the decades, French, Irish, German, Slavic. Blacks came up in the 20th century to settle the central north and west sides and now Hispanics have settled the south side.

Teddy Roosevelt was shot here once during a speech. He finished the speech and then went to the hospital. He lived.

If you like sports, we have them. Baseball, basketball, the Green Bay Packers! Soccer, although there is no MLS team, we do have a top indoor team, the Wave. Auto racing, golf, snowmobiling, skiing (sort of), Olympic speedskating. Even rugby and polo. I don't know about cricket.

Most concert tours come through regularly; those that don't go to Chicago.

Last edited by mbradleyc; 12-02-2013 at 11:36 AM..
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:48 PM
 
49 posts, read 48,563 times
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Thanks everyone.

I really like the look of Milwaukee Based on what you've written back to me:

I can't drive at all. So rental cars are obviously out of the question. I could learn to drive before I go on my year abroad, because I feel it'll be a better experience overall. My dream is to do Route 66, without a car I can't do that!

I am sports crazy, and I follow the Chicago teams (Bears, Cubs, Blackhawks, Bulls, and the MLS's Fire), so being that close to them would be awesome. Milwaukee also have the Brewers, a team that I quite like despite the "rivalry".

A few more questions:

1. Is UW-Milwaukee a commuter campus? I want to make friends which would be more difficult at a commuter campus.
2. I am hoping to experience all the American traditions (a traditional Thanksgiving is something I'd like to experience). How friendly are the student body and Milwaukee(ans?) in general? Would I be likely to be invited home for Thanksgiving or would I "excluded"??
3. If I decide on the two Milwaukee schools as two of my three choices. Which would you say should be number 1 choice? I think Marquette is my preferred one.

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:42 PM
 
Location: OC/LA
3,831 posts, read 3,505,693 times
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I wouldn't necessarily call UWM a commuter campus, but the majority of the undergraduate student body lives off campus in the general neighborhood. However, there are university owned dorms (both on campus & off campus) which I would assume would make meeting people very easy.

If you want to be located closer to the bar scene these dorms are probably your best bet for UWM - Kenilworth
However, if you're under 21 (legal drinking age in US) you probably want to be closer to campus and just walk to class / go to house parties.

I have no clue to Marquette other than it's a Private Jesuit school and located in more of a sketchy neighborhood. So take that as you will.

With regards to your Thanksgiving questions, if you are close enough to your friends having an out of town guest is not unheard of for the holiday. What may be tricky is that if you come in late August that's only 3 months to make relatively close friends with someone, which is not that long of a time. However, if you make that a priority I'm sure someone will help you out.

With regards to choosing between the 2 universities, what are your most important criteria?
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:52 PM
 
49 posts, read 48,563 times
Reputation: 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by HyperionGap View Post
I wouldn't necessarily call UWM a commuter campus, but the majority of the undergraduate student body lives off campus in the general neighborhood. However, there are university owned dorms (both on campus & off campus) which I would assume would make meeting people very easy.

If you want to be located closer to the bar scene these dorms are probably your best bet for UWM - Kenilworth
However, if you're under 21 (legal drinking age in US) you probably want to be closer to campus and just walk to class / go to house parties.

I have no clue to Marquette other than it's a Private Jesuit school and located in more of a sketchy neighborhood. So take that as you will.

With regards to your Thanksgiving questions, if you are close enough to your friends having an out of town guest is not unheard of for the holiday. What may be tricky is that if you come in late August that's only 3 months to make relatively close friends with someone, which is not that long of a time. However, if you make that a priority I'm sure someone will help you out.

With regards to choosing between the 2 universities, what are your most important criteria?
Thanks for this

Most important to me:
- Good academics
- Easy to get into the city
- Walkable campus
- Close to travel links to Chicago
- Safe
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee Ex-ex-ex-urbs
358 posts, read 397,822 times
Reputation: 725
Marquette is on the western edge of downtown. Maybe 8 blocks from the train/bus station. There are enough dorms on campus for the freshman and sophomore classes to live, which is mandatory. There are plenty of apartment buildings around the campus that are for older students to live in. I lived in one of them when I went there.

Marquette men's BB games are at the Bradley Center, home of the Bucks and in the heart of downtown. That's where lots of concerts are too. All very walkable.

The bad neighborhoods are about six blocks north and west of campus. There's no reason to be up that way, (unless you are going to Speed Queen for great BBQ!). The Campus Police patrol regularly. I never felt threatened walking around.

UWM is a good school. I went there for a few classes as well. They have started really developing into a comprehensive public research school with the new Freshwater Sciences and Public Health Schools as well as the new Innovation Center campus out by the County Grounds. But there's no question MU has the better academics, if you can afford it.

UWM's campus is well north of downtown. There are bike trails all through the city and that is a good way to get around from there. I wouldn't want to be on some of them at night though.

As for Thanksgiving, there will surely be families that will welcome you to join them even if you've only known them for a few weeks or less. Especially with you being so far from home. Making friends is the easiest thing to do. You will have no trouble getting invited to parties and dinners all the time. Don't miss tailgating at Miller Park. It's like a town fair everyday.

Last edited by mbradleyc; 12-02-2013 at 06:09 PM..
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