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LarsLairo

Exchange student for UALR seeking advice

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Hello everyone

I'm a Norwegian student currently finishing my second year of a bachelors degree in history at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. I recently learnt that the departments of history at NTNU and UALR made an exchange agreement in December 2008, and I'm rather hastily trying to figure out if I should make use of this agreement for the 2009/2010 academic year, starting this coming August. Since Norwegian and US bachelors are structured somewhat differently, this coming academic year will be the final year of my bachelors degree. In that regard, I have a near endless supply of questions, and I was hoping that some of you who live there might be able to give me som inside advice on the city, the university and various other issues. I'm sorry if I'm being way to detailed here, I hope you'll bear with me.

As I mentioned, I'm Norwegian, and have not yet visisted the US, so I'm not too well aquainted with how an average US city works. I grew up in Bod

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1. Crime is mostly concentrated in "bad" areas of town. Unfortunately, UALR is in one of those "bad" areas. You're safe on campus but off campus I wouldn't let my guard down.

2. Coleman place should be alright, but there are many shady apartments in that general area. Most people in Little Rock want to be in West Little Rock, west of I-430 along the Chenal area or in the Hillcrest/Heights areas which are north of I-630.

3. Little Rock is EXTREMELY suburban and car-centric. I wouldn't recommend coming to Little Rock without a car because it virtually cannot be done. You can take the bus, but its very inconvenient. Most people here rely on their cars to go anywhere and everywhere.

4. I didn't attend UALR so I am not sure.

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I am as big an advocate as anyone of Little Rock and UALR; however, do you have other options for studying abroad? UALR does not really offer the traditional American college/university experience. A majority of the students commute and many are not the traditional 18-24 year old university students. There aren't many dorms and the campus just doesn't seem to have the life that others do. So, I'm not sure how rich of an experience you'd have. It all really depends on what you are looking to get out of it. Being an exchange student you'd probably make friends easily (folks would be interested in you) and that might make up for any shortcomings of the university.

I'd strongly recommend having a car while you are here or at least living with someone that doesn't mind toting you around everywhere. You don't want to have to rely on using the bus system. Buses leave UALR for downtown (30 minute ride) every 30 minutes to an hour from about 5:30am -8pm on weekdays and less on the weekends. From downtown you can take buses to everywhere else in the city pretty much. Regardless, it would take you a long time to get anywhere.

Non-violent crime (robbery, theft) can usually happen to anyone here. Violent crimes usually occur in concentrated areas and are committed by parties that know each other. I wouldn't let the murder rate bother you too much unless you are planning to join a gang and sell drugs.

Good luck regardless what you choose. I think UALR is great for what it is and Little Rock is a great place to live. It all depends on what your expectations are.

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I can echo most of the above comments. Crime is definitely a possibility, but some street smarts (eg. avoiding certain areas) will keep you relatively safe. It is true about the commuter nature of UALR makes most students off campus residents. A car is definitely helpful but I know some international students who use bikes to get to grocery stores and what have you. Most of the internationals I know get bored quick on the UALR campus because of the lack of recreational areas in the immediate (eg walking/biking distance) I and my wife have taken classes at UALR and feel like the classes arent too rigorous - that is to say it is not too difficult to get good grades in classes .

I find alot of internationals choose Arkansas for its central location, and I really wonder if this really helps in being able to visit the rest of the US. - Id say that If you have a car or motorcycle it will help some for exploring, but if you plan to use airplane to get to other citys this issue is irrelevant , or might hurt you (eg may be able to get cheaper tickets from a bigger city.)

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Hello everyone

I'm a Norwegian student currently finishing my second year of a bachelors degree in history at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway. I recently learnt that the departments of history at NTNU and UALR made an exchange agreement in December 2008, and I'm rather hastily trying to figure out if I should make use of this agreement for the 2009/2010 academic year, starting this coming August. Since Norwegian and US bachelors are structured somewhat differently, this coming academic year will be the final year of my bachelors degree. In that regard, I have a near endless supply of questions, and I was hoping that some of you who live there might be able to give me som inside advice on the city, the university and various other issues. I'm sorry if I'm being way to detailed here, I hope you'll bear with me.

As I mentioned, I'm Norwegian, and have not yet visisted the US, so I'm not too well aquainted with how an average US city works. I grew up in Bod

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Thank you very much for your response, it's exactly the kind of info I need, though perhaps not quite what I was hoping for :)

I suppose the next thing I should do is get some sense of what it would cost me to buy and own a car for a year. I realize this is a question which can be answered with a lot of latitude, but roughly how much could I expect this to cost me? My only demands in buying a car a car would be that it be in reasonably good condition, that it wouldn't break down all the time and that it didn't smell of death. I won't care much about how it looks or it's top speed, the main thing is that it works and gets me around. Also, I expect there would be other costs, like insurance and so on. Disregarding the cost for gas (which I am able to calculate myself), what could I expect over a period of a year?

As for my expectations for studying at UALR, it wasn't mainly about campus life, but rather a desire to live in the US for a little while and get to know americans and american life, as well as hopefully getting something good out of the studies of course. This may be my only chance of doing that in a study related situation unless I want to pay an obscene amount of money to study somewhere without an exchange agreement backing me. If going to UALR doesn't work out, I'll keep looking for other options, but the financial part of it (not having to pay tuition fees at UALR) is very attractive.

Unfortunately, the department of history at my university is a bit lazy in some areas, so up until January, they had no exchange agreements whatsoever, but where pushed by someone higher up in the system, whereupon one of my professors went to UALR to set up this agreement. Beisdes UALR, they've also made agreements with universities in Poland and Germany, but those aren't really that attractive to me.

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Thank you very much for your response, it's exactly the kind of info I need, though perhaps not quite what I was hoping for :)

I suppose the next thing I should do is get some sense of what it would cost me to buy and own a car for a year. I realize this is a question which can be answered with a lot of latitude, but roughly how much could I expect this to cost me? My only demands in buying a car a car would be that it be in reasonably good condition, that it wouldn't break down all the time and that it didn't smell of death. I won't care much about how it looks or it's top speed, the main thing is that it works and gets me around. Also, I expect there would be other costs, like insurance and so on. Disregarding the cost for gas (which I am able to calculate myself), what could I expect over a period of a year?

As for my expectations for studying at UALR, it wasn't mainly about campus life, but rather a desire to live in the US for a little while and get to know americans and american life, as well as hopefully getting something good out of the studies of course. This may be my only chance of doing that in a study related situation unless I want to pay an obscene amount of money to study somewhere without an exchange agreement backing me. If going to UALR doesn't work out, I'll keep looking for other options, but the financial part of it (not having to pay tuition fees at UALR) is very attractive.

Unfortunately, the department of history at my university is a bit lazy in some areas, so up until January, they had no exchange agreements whatsoever, but where pushed by someone higher up in the system, whereupon one of my professors went to UALR to set up this agreement. Beisdes UALR, they've also made agreements with universities in Poland and Germany, but those aren't really that attractive to me.

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I wouldn't let our negative responses discourage you too much. I would just say that you need appropriate expectations. For example, UALR is not going to be the stylized American college experience. That doesn't mean you won't have a good time or enjoy the experience. You'll just need to engage yourself in the community at-large to a greater degree. Get off campus and experience the area. That may ultimately be more what you are interested in anyway.

You also need to consider my perspective. I may be critical of UALR, but thats becuase I want it to be more than it is. I think it has potential for more than it is. Despite any criticisms, I still have chosen to attend the university as a graduate student.

You could get a decent used car $5,000-9,000 US. www.autotrader.com is a could resource for finding used cars. If you buy take somebody you can trust with you to make sure you get a good deal. Don't pay asking price, for any reason whatsoever.

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I agree that contacting other internationals at UALR will help you find more advice. I myself was an exchange student to switzerland, and my experiences set up some of my comments as you saw above. Probably you dont want to spent too much $ on a car and yes 5+ k will help you get a decent car (id say if you look hard enough a 1k-2k car is possible to find that might not be too problematic for you) , but remember you can also rent cars here easily for let us say 20$ (w.out insurance - 50$ + w. insurance) So If you plan your excursions you can resort to this as an option. - rather locally you can try to buy a scooter (eg 1k, or a bike for less than 100$)

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I would second the idea of a scooter. Distances aren't so great in LR that you need a car, but operating only with a bike and buses is something for only the most devoted and the folks too poor to do anything else.

Something that hasn't been mentioned (I think?) is the climate. For a Norwegian, Arkansas will be miserably hot in the summer. Count on the high temps being over 30 from May through September, and getting to the 40s (seriously) multiple times a summer (and this is without the 'heat index'). I love the heat, but it doesn't suit everyone.

You will likely find the people in LR most appealing. They are extremely friendly, helpful, and humble people. I have no idea about the international students at UALR, and how much they tend to stick together, but you should try and find something on the internet about that.

We should be friends! I made a lot of awesome Norwegian (mostly lesbian?) friends this summer when I was in Istanbul, am moving back to LR next year after spending the last 4 years in Chicago/ abroad, am really worried about the culture shock of living in a place without a prominent intellectual community, and greatly miss my European friends. If you end up choosing to study at UALR, definitely contact me, because I grew up in LR and can show you around to some favorite local places (and also get around only by bus or bike).

Hope this was helpful and not too solicitous.

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Hello again all

I used Google to scrape together some aproximate numbers on what I'd have to spend in a year to buy a used car (between $4000 and $8000), pay for gas, insurance and some maintenance/repairs, and then sell it with some value depreciation. The cost for a year of car ownership I came up with was $4600 (after selling the car again). I realize this has to be a very aproximate number, but does it sound somewhat realistic from your viewpoint?

I'm a bit worried about the process of buying a car, since I've never bought a car before (let alone a used one) and don't have any particular mechanic skills, so I might not be able to tell the difference between a good and bad deal. There seems to be a few guides on the web to help out with this though.

The $4600 is a cost I've decided I can live with, and after doing a lot of hard thinking, I've decided to go ahead with the UALR plans. I'm now getting the final documents sorted out ahead of going to the US Embassy in Oslo for my Visa application, and it's looking very good.

abdintp: We should definitely hook up. Would be great to have a local ally! Not sure If I'd be the best conversation partner on the subject of Norwegian lesbians since I know none myself, but I'm sure there are other topics I know more of :) I don't seem to be able to send messages through this forum (because I'm a newbie or non-paying member perhaps?), so I am unable to contact you personally, so If that's something you're able to do, please do. I'm reluctant post my e-mail adress here due to spam issues.

Looking forward to coming to Little Rock!

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If you don't know already www.craigslist.org is a fine way to find things when you move to a new area. Little Rock has a site, and you can scope out deals on cars, lodging ect. A good way to get reduced rates on tickets as a student http://www.studentuniverse.com/. Also remember that you will need to cover yourself with health insurance in the USA (since we dont have universal care ( yet :whistling: ) --> likely for you if you do need care it will be better for you to get insurance from an american provider (locally there is a cheap one - arkansas blue cross and blue shield, (or humana)--- Just dont admit to any preexisting conditions and you can get an ok deal (60 $ a month is what you can expect for cost.

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Hello again all

I used Google to scrape together some aproximate numbers on what I'd have to spend in a year to buy a used car (between $4000 and $8000), pay for gas, insurance and some maintenance/repairs, and then sell it with some value depreciation. The cost for a year of car ownership I came up with was $4600 (after selling the car again). I realize this has to be a very aproximate number, but does it sound somewhat realistic from your viewpoint?

I'm a bit worried about the process of buying a car, since I've never bought a car before (let alone a used one) and don't have any particular mechanic skills, so I might not be able to tell the difference between a good and bad deal. There seems to be a few guides on the web to help out with this though.

The $4600 is a cost I've decided I can live with, and after doing a lot of hard thinking, I've decided to go ahead with the UALR plans. I'm now getting the final documents sorted out ahead of going to the US Embassy in Oslo for my Visa application, and it's looking very good.

abdintp: We should definitely hook up. Would be great to have a local ally! Not sure If I'd be the best conversation partner on the subject of Norwegian lesbians since I know none myself, but I'm sure there are other topics I know more of :) I don't seem to be able to send messages through this forum (because I'm a newbie or non-paying member perhaps?), so I am unable to contact you personally, so If that's something you're able to do, please do. I'm reluctant post my e-mail adress here due to spam issues.

Looking forward to coming to Little Rock!

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You may be interested in central Arkansas's International Friendship Outreach as a way to locate someone to correspond with.

I think that a scooter would be a great way to leverage your day-to-day travel budget, especially if you saved some money for car rental for regional trips.

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adam12: Thanks for the studentuniverse tip, hadn't heard about that one before. As for health insurance, that's covered by the Norwegian government when it comes to students abroad, so I should be OK. I think the coverage is quite solid, but I'll check the details to make sure.

abdintp: I'm not sure if it's any better than putting the address up here on the forum, but I put my mail address in an html-document at this URL. Send me an e-mail when you see this, and I'll remove the address.

tangle: Thanks for the tip about IFO, they look great and I'll definitely get in touch with them. As for transportation, I did some math and decided I can afford a car. While the savings on getting a scooter instead would without doubt be substantial, I think I would just feel a bit too nimble amongst all the big cars :) Also, I just downright like the idea of owning a car and being able to go on long or short trips when I feel like it, which is not something I'll be able to do at home in Norway for many years still, since cars cost MUCH more over here.

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tangle: Thanks for the tip about IFO, they look great and I'll definitely get in touch with them. As for transportation, I did some math and decided I can afford a car. While the savings on getting a scooter instead would without doubt be substantial, I think I would just feel a bit too nimble amongst all the big cars :) Also, I just downright like the idea of owning a car and being able to go on long or short trips when I feel like it, which is not something I'll be able to do at home in Norway for many years still, since cars cost MUCH more over here.

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