Updated on december 26, 2016
New York internship preparations
Except of finding the internship, doing the interviews and fixing all the paper work there’s much more to do for a New York internship. You need to have a visa, housing for the duration of your stay, proof of a dignified health insurance, flight tickets, proof of financial status and much more. In this post I’ve written about the most important things for your internship. The visa sponsorship, your flight tickets and your search for accommodation.
J-1 Visa application
Most important: When you go to the States, you need to have a Visa. I was required to have a J-1 Visa and to apply for this visa at the US embassy you need to have a DS-2019 document. This document can only be provided by certified organizations. You can’t try to apply for your J-1 visa by yourself! Don’t waste your time on trying. I’ve asked around about this on the All America Forum (Dutch), and they told me it’s impossible to do. Fellow students who already did a New York internship also told me to go with a visa sponsor. So I went with CICD as visa sponsor because they provided me the best information. Also was my host company Night Owls already in their system thanks to their previous interns. Other visa sponsors I’ve contacted are Belcham, WEP, CIEE and Cultural Vistas.
Before I received a payment invoice, I needed to send them a lot of documents. To read more about my Visa struggles, please read my post about my visa hell (coming soon).
Booking my flight
It’s recommended that you don’t book any flights before you have your J-1 visa in hand. The problem you’ll have, is that you can only apply for a visa when you already have found your internship company. I’ve received confirmation from my company in October and started looking for a J-1 Visa sponsor late October. Only late november I had chosen my visa sponsor but this was also the time that the flight tickets where the cheapest. So I think that I will get my visa in hand somewhere late December, early January, but this is way too late to book cheap flight tickets.
This is why I’ve contacted Joker. A Belgian organization for booking all-round trips and flights. They offer also the option to reserve your flight, without booking or paying them until you confirm. With this option it was possible for me to ‘reserve’ a flight before I have my visa in hand.
Searching for housing in New York
My internship is in Lower Manhattan so for my housing it’s best to find a place in Brooklyn. The prices of housings in Manhattan are too high for me during an unpaid internship. I’ve asked around in my network to find the cheapest possible housings and joined a few Facebook groups that offers housing as well. I’ve contacted some AirBNB hosts and started looking on Craigslist, but it’s recommended to use Craigslist only when you are in New York yourself. So you can go looking at the places to avoid fake advertising.
This week I was searching on Airbnb and found an offer I could not refuse. I think I got the offer because I was looking for last-minute rooms, but I found a room that was priced at $ 80 / night. This room was discounted to $ 30 / Night, for a room with a double bunk bed. A double bunk bed means that I will share the room with a roommate from my school! So we could get the room for only $ 15 / night! The house is located in Brooklyn with a 30 – 45 minute commute to the Night Owls office.
We booked the Airbnb room for 14 days. This will give us a place to go to when we arrive in New York. During the first 14 days of our stay we will go looking for a more permanent stay for the rest of our internship.
The more I need to prepare for my internship, the more enthusiastic I become. Not everything is going as planned or isn’t easy and requires much phone calls and emails, but for a dream internship it’s absolutely worth it!