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Thinking about Omaha

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Hi everyone, this is my first post on UrbanPlanet. I'm really happy I've found this site, since I have a couple of questions I would like more information on. I just turned 23 and am a rising senior at a North-Eastern liberal arts college. I am also a foreigner and a gay male. Some people (especially on the coasts) may find this surprising or think I'm a little crazy, but I am seriously thinking about moving to Omaha after graduation next year. The problem is, I've never even been to the city, and so far my research has still left me with a couple of questions, which I will address as I outline the reasons why I think coming to Omaha makes sense.

First of all, there's the economic aspect. I think I would be much more able to afford living in Omaha than in most other places. I'm especially attracted by the current housing market and am thinking of buying an extremely cheap home (read in the low tens of thousands) in Omaha, and putting some work into making it better. Naturally this means I will most likely only be able to find a place somewhere in Northern Omaha, maybe Benson or Dundee if I'm lucky. How rough are these areas, for real? Can anyone compare them to, say, the South Bronx?

The music scene is probably the biggest draw to Omaha for me. I like Bright Eyes and would like to really experience the Omaha Sound, and that's part of why I want to move there. So far I have read a lot of contradictory opinions on cultural life in Omaha, some people sing the city's praise and other's proclaim that there's nothing to do. So, what is there to do in Omaha for a young guy after all?

Now, about the gay aspect, I know Nebraska or the Mid-West is not typically considered extremely gay-friendly. Still, as far as I understand, Omaha is a pretty progressive place, and has a strong gay community. Am I wrong in my understanding? I don't expect it to be exactly San Francisco, and I do understand that a lot of people are religious, but I like to believe that I won't get drummed out of town if I come there :) Can any queer Omahan in particular comment on my thoughts?

I am also looking into pursuing an MA in Geography from the UNO. How is this school ranked? What is its reputation like in Nebraska, Great Plains and the Mid-West overall? Also, how does the weather compare to, say Massachusetts or Vermont?

These are a few of my questions so far, I would be happy to clarify them if I left anything ambiguous. Thanks in advance for your answers!

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