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Studying, Working and Living in Boston

Updated on December 26, 2015

Boston, Massachusetts

The aim of this lens is to talk about living in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States of America, for those people who want go there to study, work or live for a few weeks, months or years. While much of the information presented here can serve as a guide for someone who only visit the city in tourism plan, there will be some information regarding hotels and restaurants which won't be a major part of this page. This lens is mainly focused to provide as much information as possible to people who are going to change for some time his place of residence and lifestyle, and who needs to know from the most everyday details like food prices, the price of transportation, accommodation, places to buy clothes, laundries, convenience stores, etc., up to the most emblematic sights of this hub of New England.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Reasons for moving to Boston

While there may be many reasons to move to live in another city, in this case Boston, we will concentrate on the two most common reasons why a lot of people make this transition: study and/or work. Although it may seem extremely obvious, it is important to remember that these choices must be made prior to travel, often with several months in advance. The idea of traveling on tourist plan to search in the city itself a choice of work or study can be used only if the journey is the exploration and of course if the stay is complemented by the simple pleasure of knowing, otherwise go this city in tourist plan to try to stay there, in addition to violating certain migratory conditions imply that you have a large budget to live until you get a livelihood through a grant or a salary. So the following are the more generic questions that one should solve some time before starting packing:

* What do you want to do?

It is necessary to define precisely the activity that you purport to do: undergraduate, graduate, master, PhD, Postdoc, professional work, learn English, make a medical residency, etc. The options are as varied as human interests but it is necessary to define them with precision before you plan any other activity.

* How long?

Six months pass relatively quickly to make big moves, however two or three years can radically change the housing needs, furniture and even cars without mentioning the adaptation to the seasons and the very culture of the place.

* What organization or partnership with whom?

Both the activity to be performed as the institution where it takes place, determine two very different travel conditions: a) you come to study and therefore come to spend or b) you come to work and therefore come to make money. Of course there are intermediate conditions but in general terms who is coming to town to study will have to pay tuition, either from his own pocket, a scholarship or a bank loan for example. On the other hand who comes to work is assumed to come to an activity that will be paid by someone.

In any case what is clear is that unlike those traveling as a tourist who does it for study or work needs to be backed by any person or organization within the United States that invite, accept it and prove (in the institutions through international affairs office) for the activity you want to perform.

In some cases the only professional accreditation as an expert to perform a specific job is enough to be hired, in other cases such as for example those students who intend to study at an institution like Harvard University, the Institute of Technology Massachusetts (MIT), Boston College, Boston University, etc. must submit various examinations and interviews to be accepted. In other cases such as performing a medical residency in one of the city hospitals like Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham And Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, and so on., you need to take exams not only demonstrate required academic ability but also be accredited as a doctor who has trained overseas and first obtain a license to practice as a physician in the United States and only after that continue the process of admission to any of the medical institutions of interest. Detailed information on each individual case must be referred specifically to the institution to which you wish to enter.

* What kind of financing?

Scholarship, salary, savings, loan, etc.

* What immigration status?

This is another sensitive issue that must be decided in sufficient detail before the trip. It is not just to ask "any visa to study or work," because in addition to that there are some conditions for granting it, such as the institution receiving a student for instance, registering the candidate for issuing the documentary proof as such or that the professional receives a letter of invitation and/or hire of who will be the boss, etc., there are also various limiting circumstances subsequent to stay in the country or the spouse can work, etc. The various offices of international affairs will suggest, recommend or indicate (if applied only one option) the kind of visa that should be processed in each case whether it is a J-1 as an exchange visitor, H-1B temporary workers with occupation in specialty, TN for professionals Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) etc., and the corresponding visas for the spouse and children if applicable. For all this information is necessary to consult with the Embassy of the United States

Besides these questions there will be instances in which individuals will have to answer additional ones such as Will travel the whole family? Is it necessary to look for schools? What kind of schools? Will work both spouses? and if not, What other activities may do the spouse who does not work? etc.

Photo: State House © 2012 Tommy Potter - all rights reserved

The Old State House, Downtown Boston

Some facts about Boston

Boston is located on the northeast coast of the United States and has a population of about 600,000 people, although there are several surrounding cities that add to the previous population just over one million people.

Boston has been named in some publications recently as the "Silicon Valley" of the East Coast, perhaps because of its expansion even in times of global crisis, the increase in government revenue, and unemployment two percentage points below the national average, all largely due to the high concentration in this region of research companies and institutes, which have more than once shown the profitability in the implementation of their projects.

This city is characterized by rapid changes in climate so cannot speak of a "dry" or "wet" season. Before traveling to Boston especially for long periods, you should pack clothes for all types of weather, from shorts, shirts, sandals, etc., for a sunny day in which the temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) to even exceed 90 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) on a hot summer day, and should also include warm clothes for winter, including jackets or heavy coats and warm clothing, hat, gloves, scarf , etc., as the cold snap temperatures are usually around 32 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) and it is not uncommon to go several degrees below zero, that is 5 Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) or less in one very cold day of winter, with wind and/or snow.

In the fall you can find intermediate temperatures ie 45-65 Fahrenheit (8-16 degrees Celsius). Anyway, the clothes of many tropical countries is not the most suitable for extreme conditions in Boston, mainly cold so you need to stock up on clothes in the city itself.

Most people who come from outside make it through Boston Logan International Airport which is located in the area of East Boston near Downtown and unlike international airports around the world, in this case is easily accessible by public transport, as well as taxi service. There is an internal transport system within the airport marked "Massport" that stops at each airline and can carry passengers for free to public transport system stop, that is in charge of the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), commonly called "T" and which will be discussed later in this lens.

Where to study in Boston

List of some of the most important educational institutions

  • Harvard University
  • MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts University
  • Boston University
  • Tufts University

Boston Neighborhoods

There are 21 official neighborhoods that are part of the city of Boston


The nearby location of Allston to Boston University, Boston College, and Harvard University makes it an attractive neighborhood for several students. The branches "B" and "C" of the green line of "T" as well as several bus routes pass through this district. This area densely populated by students from around the world is particularly attractive to individuals seeking a lively area. It's hard to turn an Allston corner without encountering a shop, a restaurant, a cafe, etc. The Harvard, Commonwealth and Brighton avenues have several ethnic restaurants and popular bars.

Brighton is a fairly quiet especially at night. The neighborhood, the same as Allston is populated by graduate students and young professionals and families and consists of an intricate network of streets with houses and small apartment buildings. Family businesses are mixed with large local companies along Washington Street, which runs straight out through Brighton Center toward Oak Square. This area is accessible by the Green Line "T" in particular the branch "B", but there are various bus lines as alternatives to transportation.

© 2015 TommyPotter

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