The NYC Experience from the Eyes of Non-Natives

by Kelly Kennedy & Lilliana Bifferato, Asst. Production Editor & Contributor 

Angela Gallegos

Los Angeles, California Freshman

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How long have you been living in New York City now?

“I’ve been here since last semester, so August 2019 until now.”


What was the biggest shock to you when coming to New York City?

“It is a lot more crowded and when people push you they don’t say excuse me. That’s city- wise. But at school, everyone tries to help each other, meanwhile at the big California schools ,everyone is just competing and trying to be bet- ter than everyone else. It’s such a small school here and everyone is just trying to improve them- selves and I really like that.”

What are some of the major differences?

“Back in Los Angeles, everyone is always taking pictures and posting what they’re eating, wearing and who they’re with. With the culture back in LA you always have to look your best because everything is broadcasted. But here, I see people wearing sweatpants to class and that wouldn’t slide at my school back home. And when I go out with someone here, in NYC, they just like to live in the moment and don’t worry about any of that, which I really like.”

What are some things that are similar?

“I have to think about this because it really is just so different. But since LA and NYC are both some of the biggest cities in the world, people are always really motivated to make it there and achieve their goals. People from all over the coun- try and the world travel to LA and NYC to achieve their goals because they’re both such big cities filled with opportunities. You guys have Broad- way and Times Square, while we have Hollywood and all the beaches. Both cities have landmarks that make them very special.”

Are there big differences that you love? Are there any that you hate?

“I like how everything here is really close. The traffic in LA is terrible, a drive that could be maybe 20 minutes could take nearly two hours. LA is very dependant on cars, and the metro over there isn’t cool and no one rides it. But here the transit system is almost like a culture, riding the subway was one of the first things I wanted to do when I got here. But since I’m vegan, I like how LA is very heavily cultured with a healthy life- style. I mean here, a slice of pizza is 99 cents and it’s very easy to have a bad diet. I feel like when I go back, I’m able to have more chances to have vegan options because every single menu back there has vegan options.”


Kayla Brown

Yellow Springs, Ohio Freshman

How long have you been living in New York City now?

“I’ve been here since August of 2019 when I came to school.”

What was the biggest shock to you when coming to New York City?

“I always knew that New York was really big and had a lot of people, but actually being here and being around in such a diverse part of the city, the Bronx is super diverse, just like Manhattan is. Be- ing able to see the difference between the Bronx and Manhattan and also the diversity of people was also really shocking to me. Also, the subways are really cool. That was a big thing for me too, commuting, and getting around at first.

Screen Shot 2020-03-11 at 10.04.01 AM.pngWhat are some of the major differences?

“Well, since I lived in a village in Ohio, it was really small and everyone knew everyone. It was mainly Caucasians, so coming to New York where there are so many people and there are so many different stories, it was kind of a shock in how big the world really is. I know that sounds cliché, but it was a shock of how far I could go and how many people I can actually meet because I was just kind of in a bubble for my whole high school experi- ence.”

What are some things that are similar?

“Honestly, no not really, because I was sur- rounded by nature and cornfields. If I applied it to Manhattan, though, I was able to find a second family and a second form of friends that I actually trusted, so that is the same between the two.”

Are there any big differences that you dislike?

“Not really, but if I had to say something, I’d say that since the city is so big. you don’t really stop and look at things that much, you know? I used to look at my surroundings and take everything in, but you kind of get lost in the fast-paced vibe.”

Jana Clark

Wiesbaden, Germany Sophomore

How long have you been living in New York City now?

“I’m here for the first time, I moved here when I started college.”

What was the biggest shock to you when coming to New York City?

“Well for me I grew up living between the United States and Germany because my dad is in the military, so I guess American culture wasn’t much of a shock, it was just adjusting to the New York City lifestyle; the very fast pace and kind of more independent, relying on yourself to do things and learning how to navigate the subways. Mass transit like that isn’t really as big in Germany; we have pub- lic transportation like buses and stuff, but the subway system was probably the biggest thing that I had to learn how to navigate.”

Screen Shot 2020-03-11 at 10.09.18 AM.pngWhat are some of the major differences?

“I guess the culture. The lifestyle was kind of the biggest shock for me. You always meet different kinds of people and you never know who you are going to meet. There are so many different kinds of people here and obviously the languages, I didn’t expect New York, and especially the Bronx, to be so diverse, espe- cially the college too is very diverse. It helped adjusting because there are so many differ- ent kinds of people. Food was also definitely a big thing and trying to adjust to that and learning how to sustain myself. I love the city because there are so many different options and Germany does not have nearly as much variety.”

Are there big differences that you love? Are there any that you hate?

“I don’t really hate this, but I feel like sometimes, especially at the college, maybe connections aren’t as close. It sometimes may not feel like such a community when in Germany you go outside and you are walk- ing through your neighborhood and every- one says hello to each other. It’s a respectful thing, but in the city its always ‘go, go, go’. I kind of miss that kind of community like you know everybody kind of feeling. Homesick- ness is real, especially with the time zone dif- ference. When it’s late at night and I want to call home I can’t because it would be 3 or 4 a.m. in Germany. The time difference is prob- ably the hardest thing and being so far away.”

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