Posts in Travel
Questions about living in NY

Hi guys, how's everything ?!

There was no new post on Monday but I finally finished the new layout! I hope you like it. Everything was done with love and attention to details that will make the transition between two languages easier.

Now let's talk about New York ...

As everyone knows, I live in New York. I spent two years studying, going back and forth to Brazil, until I moved here for good in 2015. As there are people from all around the world in NYC, there are a huge amount of Facebook groups of people living abroad with a bunch of questions about moving here.

Lately, I have received many messages from people in the groups and also friends. Because of that, I put together the most common questions about living in New York here:

1 - Is it expensive? What is the average price for rent?

B: Yes. It is very expensive to live here compared to other states. Taxes are higher and anything you buy adds an 8.875% sales tax to the value of the purchase. As for rent, it depends a lot on where you are going to live. Just so you have an idea, the average rent for just a bedroom in Astoria or Brooklyn is between $500-$1200 and in Manhattan $900-$1800. Of course the price also depends on who is renting for you, location, and some other factors.

2 - I have a tight budget. Where can I study English?

B: There are several libraries and churches that offer free classes. But if you want something with a routine of classes and with a lower price, my tip is to look for community colleges near where you live.  Prices are usually lower than the other schools.

3 - Is it cold in the winter?

B: YES !!!! The winter is VERY COLD and I feel like every year it gets worse. The temperatures between January and February are usually below 32 degrees (or 0 degrees in celsius). If you want tips on what to wear to protect yourself from the cold, take a look at the Winter Fashion post!

4 - Can I work with a tourist visa?

B: No! Legally you cannot work with a tourist visa. To work, you need a specific work visa (H1, H2, H3, H4 or O1)

5 - Is it easy to find a job?

B: Tell me. Where on the planet is it easy to get a job? Here it's pretty much the same. There are many job options, but it also depends on which field you are looking for. There are websites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn Jobs where you can filter your job search by companies that provide visas.

6 - How much does it cost to stay in New York?

B: That depends a lot on where you live. I would say you need at least a thousand dollars, not considering rent, to live a simple life and maybe still save a little bit.

7 - What are the best neighborhoods to live in?

B: I'm of course biased but I LOVE Astoria. It was the first neighborhood I lived when I came here and I loved it! I lived in the Upper West Side and Midtown Manhattan, but to be honest, I was very happy to move back here. It is a very residential neighborhood and full of different cultures. The area I live is predominantly Greek. I think it's amazing!!!

There are also nice areas in Brooklyn like Williamsburg, Dumbo, Park Slope. And in Manhattan, I like the extremes: Uptown or Downtown. I think Midtown is too crowded all the time and I, in particular, prefer to live in a quieter neighborhood. But again, it all depends on what you like and also on your budget.

8 - How long can I stay with a tourist visa?

B: You can legally stay in the country for 6 months with the tourist visa and can apply for up to a year and a half extension. The extension gives you 6 months at the time and you can apply it twice as long if you state the reasons you want to stay and prove that you can afford to stay more time in the country. You can download the form (I-539) from the USCIS website, fill the form, and pay a fee of $ 370. This document is what you will need to enter the country again and prove that you did not stay illegally.

It's always good to remember that you don't need to hire a lawyer or agency for this type of application. There are many people charging for this service, but you can fill it out yourself without any problems. I myself did this process and guaranteed the extension of my stay without any help. If anyone wants to know more about this, leave a comment here or send me an email.(babi@dicasbarbaras.com).

9 - How do I get a student visa?

B: First, it all depends on how long you're staying. For courses of up to 6 months, no student visa is required. If you plan to stay longer, check with the school of your choice. Most English courses provide the paperwork for student visa but courses like cooking, arts, or theater do not always have that option. The best thing to do is to take a look at what the school provides.

10 - How can I get a Green Card?

B: The Green Card is acquired by work or marriage.

When you are hired by a company, you receive the Green Card as proof of your residence in the country. It is linked to the condition of the bond with the contractor and its validity also depends on the company. Not all jobs give you a Green Card though, usually just the big companies do. The most common document provided by the contractor is the work visa.

The marriage one is acquired through your spouse and it is bound by the condition of staying married for 2 years. After that period, you need to renew it and in that renewal, the condition is removed. Of course, you have to prove you are still married. It is a whole new process.

Both processes are not simple. There are a number of steps where you must prove employment or a legitimate marriage. The forms are also available online at the USCIS website and there you will also find instructions on how to submit paperwork.

 

 IF SOMEONE HAS ANY OTHER QUESTIONS OR DOUBTS RELATED TO TODAY'S POST, LEAVE YOUR COMMENT HERE OR YOU CAN WRITE DIRECTLY TO ME, I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP!

Honeymoon

Well, as most people know, we were not able to go to Punta Cana as planned. So we decided to go to Disney World and it was AMAZING! It was a completely different trip from what I had initially thought. My idea was to enjoy the honeymoon, to rest, have some drinks, and enjoy the beach. Instead, we were waking up at 8 am every day to enjoy the parks! We didn't rest at all; we went to the parks every single day!

We stayed at the Rosen Inn near Universal. They offer a free shuttle service to Universal parks. And we rented a car to go to Disney parks and outlets (which we only went for 10 minutes to buy sneakers since I forgot mine). Renting a car is always a great option in Orlando!

The park we chose to start was Islands of Adventure and of course, we had lots of fun. We went to all the attractions and bought the Express pass, which was so worth it! The parks were crowded and with the express pass we would cut the wait time in half. This is the best tip I can give to you: save a little bit and get Universal's express pass!!! 

Now there is Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. it's worth it to get a third day at Universal just to enjoy both sides of Harry Potter! We did that, since we are Harry Potter freaks as you can see in the picture below. 

Oh! Don't forget to buy the interactive wands (YES! NOW THEY HAVE INTERACTIVE ONES SO YOU CAN PLAY AND PRETEND TO BE A WIZARD IN THE PARKS!)

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Another Universal attraction that I highly recommend is the Rockit! For roller coaster fans, that baby is a must go! You pick a song to listen to on the ride to really enjoy it! Then you can watch the video of your ride!

Now, a VERY IMPORTANT message: Animal Kingdom is no longer the most boring park. Now with the Avatar land, Pandora, the park has become one of the most crowded parks. So get ready to face a 2 hour wait in line and no fast pass available usually, but IT'S STILL WORTH IT! Mike and I returned to Animal Kingdom just to go one more time. The 4D simulator is fantastic and exceeds all expectations! Pandora is indeed A MUST SEE!

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I was shocked at the size of the Avatar in the lab. You really feel like you are in the movie, passing by the fluorescent forest and caves. Again, do not get scared by the 2 hour line, this is with no doubt my favorite attraction. Just so you have an idea; the Avatar experience is better than Harry Potter! = X

Pandora is an amazing world to explore and to try the food and drinks. You can make your own Avatar. They scan your face, you choose your hair, accessories, and an hour later, come back to get your Avatar! We did ours and we also bought a Banshee! 

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Another cool tip I have is to get the bracelets,. They cost $ 17.00 on average and you connect your ticket, fast passes and credit card, so you do not have to keep getting your wallet all the time. We bought the limited edition Avatar ones since we fell in love with Pandora.

The honeymoon was wonderful. We had so much fun.  Punta Cana would have been nice, but Disney exceeded all our expectations. We cannot wait to get back. We ended our honeymoon in Magic Kingdom and we only have wonderful memories of those 10 days! Oh, and do not forget the sneakers!!

If anyone wants more tips, just comment here or email me (babi@dicasbarbaras.com) I am always happy to help people going to Disney World! 

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