Friday, May 08, 2009

Intern Housing Advice: Scope your location

In a few weeks we'll be getting some shiny new interns, or fellows. Apparently at some places you can't call interns, interns, something about a seedy connotation. At my place we got some gal last year who came to the area, rented waaaaaay out in Fairfax, with no car, and paying what I thought was too much for the location. So I'm putting out this public announcement in memory of her.

Physically check out apts, group homes, rooms, don't just rely on the internet.


"Walking distance" and "close to" are subjective. So are at times location names. Where I am has been described as Dupont East, LeDriot, Logan East, Eckington, Bloomingdale, Shaw, Truxton, and NW. Only three of those are correct.

"Near metro" can mean the metro station is just across the street or the area is served by a metro bus a mile away that only runs every other hour and never on weekends. If you have to depend on the bus and the place is in PG County, avoid at all costs. Metro bus service there is crap.

When I advertise my extra bedroom I tend to demand that perspective roommates visit the house. Besides being a way to separate the serious house searchers from the flakes and Nigerian scam artists, it lets me gauge a person's comfort with the neighborhood. The TC ain't right for everybody. The bars on the windows of about 80% of the houses on my block bother some people. The demographics on the street may be unsettling or the houses seem too small and cramped. Things you can't tell or judge by simply looking at a few pictures on-line.

'But', you say I live all the way out in BFE, USA and I'm in school, I can't take off time to look at places.' When I was a grad student at UMASS-Amherst I took the 3 hour bus ride to Boston to look for housing before my internship started. When I went to London for work, I stayed in youth hostels and cheap tourist hotels before I landed in a group house in Earls Court. So I'm really not feeling that excuse.

Next time: Intern Housing Advice: $500 a month will not get you an apartment in Penn Quarter.



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