Resources for incoming Fulbrighters
Congratulations on your Fulbright, and welcome to Ithaca and Cornell!
We know how moving to a new country can be challenging. At Fulgright Graduate Students at Cornell (FULGRA), we all had to go through this at some point. For that reason, we keep an up-to-date list of tips, arrival recommendations, and useful resources, which you can find below.
Don't forget to join our Facebook group to keep track of everything we do, and get in touch with any of us if you need any help! We're looking forward to meeting you in person.
Official Cornell resources you should not miss:
Current Fulbrighters live or have lived in the following neighborhoods, and this is their general opinion (this is of course personal, but to give you some ideas):
Collegetown is where most of the undergrads live. It is very close to campus and there are a small stores and restaurants around. It might be a little noisy, and we're guessing that as a graduate student you will not want to share a house with undergrads (some Fulbrighters had traumatic experiences). That is of course up to you, and good options for graduate students do exist in this area.
Downtown is the center of the town, further away downhill. There are also many options in terms of restaurants and stores, and excellent bus connection to Cornell, so distance will not be a huge issue. Note that buses are free during your first year here.
Fall Creek is a residential neighborhood that is quite close to Downtown Ithaca. Many graduate students and families choose to live here. It is more isolated but bus service is also more than adequate.
Cornell also offers housing for graduate students in North Campus, particularly Hasbrouck. You can find out all about these options here: https://scl.cornell.edu/residential-life/housing/campus-housing/graduate-professional-student-campus-housing
There are also private housing complexes that provide nice services (gym, laundry, shuttle, etc.) as a more convenient option, especially for your first year. These are usually more expensive. Fellow Fulbrighters report positive experiences living in Collegetown Terrace (http://collegetownterraceithaca.com/) and Fairview Apartments (https://dawnhomes.com/fairview/). Cornell also recommends a new complex called Maplewood Apartments (https://www.livemaplewoodapartments.com/).
A good place to begin your search is the Facebook group "Cornell University Housing, Sublets & roommates", and we recommend that you try to visit or at least arrange a Zoom tour with the owner and roommates in advance. Do not hesitate to ask if you need a fellow Fulbrighter that lives nearby to take a look at the place you like before renting it!
Also, keep in mind that landlords tend to overprice, and it is socially acceptable to negotiate.
- From NYC: We recommend a service like OurBus or the Cornell Campus 2 Campus bus (check the schedule, you might have to spend one night in NYC!). Another option is renting a car. You can do it with an international license or your country's license in most cases (but send an email or call in advance to make sure).
- From Ithaca airport: there are buses you can take, if it is late (after 5) you might have to call a taxi or Uber. But here we can probably help or even pick you up! Get in touch.
Let us know if you need us to make a phone call to a hotel, or any other arrangement.
Going out to explore by yourself can be fun, but this is not a possibility right now due to COVID-19. You must quarantine, even if you need to buy basic things like food or furniture. For that reason, we recommend that you order things ahead if possible. If not, some local Fulbrighter might be able to hold on to some of your things until you arrive.
You should ask your landlord for precise information regarding what you have and do not have in your apartment. Common things you might have to order ahead are bed linens, plates and other kitchen utensils, towels, etc. Cornell might be providing "arrival kits", so be on the lookout for that too.
Also, make sure that all banking arrangements that can be done in advance (see below) are ready for when you arrive, or you might not be able to buy/order online.
Recommended shops, grocery stores, and services:
- Instacart: Grocery (and miscellaneous) delivery app. Use it to order food from other local stores like Wegmans or ALDI.
- Walmart: A chain of "superstores", they sell basically everything at competitive prices.
- ALDI: Another chain. Smaller than Walmart, mostly for groceries.
- Wegmans: Higher-end chain, mostly for groceries.
- Amazon: You already know this one.
Keep in mind that most stores charge a fee for delivery. And you might have to tip generously on top of that!
As you probably do not have a Tax ID (SSN or ITIN), you probably cannot open a bank account online, so you will have to wait until your quarantine is over.
Cornell recommends CFCU (at the Cornell Store and Downtown), but Chase also has a large branch downtown.
Telephone / SIM card
(Work in progress)