I want to move to NYC and get a design/dtp job. Or graduate school.
November 7, 2013 5:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm a fresh college graduated from a European academy for Graphic Design and want to move to NYC to gather more experience in the field, and live there for a while. Question about job search and accommodation. Considering doing a masters degree too.

Hi! I know I can find answers to most of these questions online, but I prefer the personal answers here, so here goes;

I just graduated from a fairly hip academy for Graphic Design in the Netherlands, and would like to move to NYC. We were mostly focused on graphic design for the culture sector, so I mostly have experience there, designing books, websites, identities etc.

But I don't really mind working for any sector really, and would be happy to work in more commercial branches; I'm really interested in design for fashion though, and magazines, which there is plenty of NYC. I actually really enjoy doing the laborious dtp stuff as well, and would be happy to do that kind of work.

I have some studios and the like I could contact, some of which I know personally, and think it could be fairly easy to at least get an internship, but would be happy to get more ideas.

I also understand that rent is expensive there, but what can I expect? I don't mind living with roommates either. What's the average for shared housing in Manhattan? Brooklyn? I wouldn't move there before securing a job though.

And lastly, I'm considering doing a Master's degree in Graphic or Interactive design, but could never afford tuition fees. In general, are there scholarships for graduate school at that level? How common is to teach as an assistant to partly cover the fees? (I know Yale School of Art does, and I'm considering an application there, but while they do great stuff, it's too similar too my undergrad degree)
posted by ahtlast93 to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Rather than go by the average rent for various boroughs, it might be more useful to look at what rent you would be willing to pay.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:00 AM on November 7, 2013

Are you a US citizen or green card holder? If not you'll need a visa sponsored by your employer. That may be a pretty significant obstacle to overcome.
posted by dfriedman at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

The city is really big and the rents vary enormously, even within boroughs.

That said, the closer your housing budget is to $2000 a month, the easier your life will be.

Shared housing? I can't imagine you finding anything for less than $700 that you'd actually want to live in, particularly if you don't have existing connections in the city.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:34 AM on November 7, 2013

I have some studios and the like I could contact, some of which I know personally, and think it could be fairly easy to at least get an internship, but would be happy to get more ideas.

This will be the only realistic way for you to get a job here. Getting a company to sponsor you for a work visa is rather difficult, as most American employers don't need to go through the hassle -- from what I understand, work visa sponsorship across Europe is infinitely easier than sponsorship in the US -- unless they really want a specific person to work for them.
posted by griphus at 7:32 AM on November 7, 2013

And as far as housing goes, an average amount isn't a useful figure. Rents vary wildly and are tied more to the neighborhoods (which also vary wildly in character) than the actual quality or size of the apartment (although, obviously, bigger and nicer means more expensive.) Figure out what you want out of where you live -- public transit accessibility, distance from your job, distance from the sort of things you find fun, relative safety, rent cost in proportion to your expected salary -- and then take it from there.
posted by griphus at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2013

Response by poster: Nope, I have a German passport. In Europe it's extremely easy to get employment anywhere within the EU, yes.

It would depend on how much I could get payed, but assuming I find a 3 month unpaid internship (which is also fine), I couldn't afford more than 1000$ a month on rent. The ideal scenario is to stay for a year at least, with a paid position.
posted by ahtlast93 at 8:26 AM on November 7, 2013

Yale MFAs are extremely competitive and expensive. Even if you get a partial waiver it will cost a lot. As in, I've heard some Yale MFA grads are over $150K in debt from their time there.

Your best bet for an MFA that's fairly cheap is to find a state school (FSU, LSU, etc) that offers a tuition waiver and small stipend if you are awarded one if its teaching assistantships or other type of scholarship. I went this route and did a TA at LSU and while it's still not a livable wage by any means, you'll actually come out ahead (even with paying for health insurance and university fees which are separate from tuition and not covered) with a few thousand dollars in income per year. Even with this and working a bit outside of the MFA (I did less outside work than some of my peers and more than others; I was probably about average) I ended up with $17K in debt by the end of the MFA because life is expensive.
posted by vegartanipla at 8:32 AM on November 7, 2013

Your main challenge here is is going to be getting the proper visa to work or study in the US.

In order to be employed in the US, you'll have to be hired by a company that is willing to go through the expense and time of sponsoring your work visa. These positions are very competitive and hard to get and they tie you to a specific company. You can move jobs, but that process requires a visa adjustment and is also full of red tape and more expense for the hiring company. If you are found to be working unofficially without having the proper visa (for example, arriving on a tourist visa and working for cash) your visa can be revoked and future entry to the US can be blocked as a punishment.

For MFA studies, you should expect that you will have to pay full tuition and that many loan, grant, scholarship opportunities will be closed to you. Student visas will also have employment restrictions.

For an internship, you will still need a J1 visa - and to be eligible, you have to be either currently enrolled in a degree program in your home country or have graduated no more than 12 months from the internship start date.
posted by quince at 11:30 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend getting work in the Netherlands with a multi-national company with an office in New York. Work for a while, then see if you might transfer or do a long-term project in New York.

There are approximately 3 bazillion Graphic Designers in New York, and they're all looking for a job. New York is VERY expensive and competative, both for housing and for jobs.

If you want to work away from the Netherlands or Germany, perhaps consider another EU country. It will be much easier than the visa process for the US.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:52 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't move there before securing a job though... I have a German passport. In Europe it's extremely easy to get employment anywhere within the EU.

I think the only realistic way to do this is with a 3-month internship on a J1 visa. To comply with the visa terms, it must be a paid internship, and in NYC these are super-competitive. Here is some information for Irish students about the J1 programme, but the same guidelines will apply to you because as a German citizen you will not actually have to secure this internship before you leave (though you should.)
posted by DarlingBri at 10:21 PM on November 7, 2013

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