LLM GUIDE Focus on Student Life: New York City

Living and studying in a city that never sleeps

With some of the most prestigious law schools in the United States, there is plenty to say about the high standard of graduate legal education available in New York City and its surroundings. But aside from the opportunity to study at schools like Columbia, NYU, Cardozo, Fordham, St. John’s, and Hofstra, most LL.M. students from around the world also come to New York to experience the city's diversity, excitement, and culture. Not only is New York one of the world's most popular cities for law students; it is one of the world's most popular cities. Period.

New York City is also a hub of international business and finance. Studying here puts one in close proximity to countless corporate offices, financial institutions, and international organizations, and presents LL.M. students with exciting career prospects after graduation. As a result, graduate school in New York City is an educational opportunity that can only be matched in other global hubs like London, Paris, and Hong Kong.

But just like these cities, New York can be expensive for students. Renting a room in a shared apartment in Manhattan or Brooklyn will almost certainly cost you over $1,000 USD per month. Usually more. Small studio and one-bedroom apartments will be closer to $1500 per month. Furthermore, finding an apartment with compatible roommates, in a good area of town, and near public transportation can be a very time-consuming and tiring ordeal.

For these and other reasons, many NYC-bound LL.M. students choose to live in university residence halls. Most residence halls in New York, including those operated by NYU and Columbia, are usually designated specifically for either graduate or undergraduate students. LL.M. students are often housed in dorm-style rooms, shared apartment suites, or studio flats with other graduate students. As Columbia, NYU, Cardozo, and Fordham are all located in Manhattan, so are their student residence buildings. This makes the residence halls all the more convenient.

Cost of living in New York can also be expensive. Students in New York are notoriously good at sniffing out a bargain in their immediate surroundings. Finding inexpensive (but tasty) slices of pizza, noodles, bagels, sushi and happy hour specials drinks is a tradition among students in New York. To be sure, there are enough eateries, cafes, bakeries, and bars in New York to suit every taste and budget. And some of these places are even open around the clock. Graduate students should also investigate the meal plans offered on campus and at university residence halls.

New Yorkers generally walk a great deal. Many walk several miles every day. This means that not only will you need a comfortable pair of shoes, but you can probably also save some money on transportation. And if you do find yourself more than walking-distance away from anything of interest, a ride on the New York City subway system -- one of the biggest underground network’s in the world -- is an affordable option. One-way subway tickets to anywhere in town are $2 a piece. And if you can't be bothered with public transportation after a night on the town, a taxi is usually never more than shouting distance away.

Many of New York's students are concentrated in places like the East and West Village, Chelsea, SoHo, Alphabet City, the Lower East Side, or Williamsburg in Brooklyn. These neighborhoods are loaded with great restaurants, cafes, and nightlife. But if you are willing to venture out of your immediate surroundings, then the possibilities for engaging activities and entertainment become almost endless. Once you realize that New York's world-class theater, music venues, museums and galleries are just the tip of the cultural iceberg, then you may wonder just how you will possibly experience all of New York City in your LL.M. year. We hope you have fun trying.

Here are some links NYC-related that you may find helpful or interesting:

Image: "Times Square 1-2" by Matt Wade Photography / Creative Commons (cropped)

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