How I saved hundreds of dollars in the cost of living in the US as an International student.

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For the last one year, I did not pay a dime for heat, electric, garbage pick-up, laundry and gas without any roommates. I am successfully graduating from GCC this fall and I managed to do it by saving hundreds of dollars in the cost of living. Most Americans and International students alike, stare at me in disbelief when I tell them that I pay nothing for utilities and I managed to do so without a roommate. Do I sound too good to be true? I certainly do. Let me show you how I made frugal living a reality in this outrageously exorbitant economy. According to a news report by the national low-income housing coalition, a full-time minimum wage job won’t get you a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America. A lot of one bedroom apartments in Batavia range between $500-650 plus you will have to pay for heat, electric, Internet, phone bill and fuel separately.

I have spent the first one year at GCC building friendships. I have spoken with everyone and I got to know everyone around me. I am a keen observer of people around me and I am a pretty decent judge of character. It did not take me long to figure out people who would be genuinely helpful to me. I like helping people as well and I am usually extra kind and respectful to elderly folks. I live away from my parents and whenever I come across an elderly person I suddenly miss my parents. South Asian children like me usually live with their parents until their parents pass away. South Asian culture also emphasizes a lot on family values. Very quickly, I got to know a lot of elderly folks with empty houses in Batavia and Oakfield because their children moved out. Many of these elderly, soon to be retired folks were impressed by me and offered me to live in the basement of their large, empty houses to pay off their mortgage. It did not take me long to figure out that it is way cheaper for me to lease one bedroom and bathroom space in a large empty house, instead of, leasing a whole apartment. I pay only $500 for rent without any roommates. Electric, heat, laundry, garbage pick-up and everything else is included with it. I do not deal with electric or fuel companies at all.

I know a lot of International students who pay $300-400 for off-campus housing but they are forced to put up with roommates and additionally need to pay for heat, electric and other necessities separately. On-campus housing is extremely expensive and if you are like me who is not at all interested in dealing with roommates, residential assistants then, yes, off-campus housing is for you. Some International students almost get free on-campus housing if they choose to be a residential assistant on campus. However, all students do not get the job of being a residential assistant. International students also do not get financial aid from the US government to live on-campus. Personally, the job of being a residential assistant and dealing with on-campus drama never appealed to me. Never mind, how much you dangle the offer of a free on-campus housing to me. I simply refuse to have roommates. Hence, I never considered applying for a residential assistant job.

Leasing a basement or a separate unit in a large, empty house with no children is the best way to save money on the cost of living, instead of, renting a separate house or one bedroom apartment all by yourself and being responsible for your own heat and electric. I live in a basement of a large house with my own kitchen, bathroom, study room, and bedroom. I have a nice backyard and parking space as well. I almost never see my landlord who lives upstairs. I have my own separate entrance. There is no way I would be charged a separate electric or heat bill as there is usually only one meter per house. However, be respectful. Try to conserve energy and heat. Do not abuse anybody’s generosity and trust. I keep all my lights off when I do not need it and I use as little water as possible. Do not tamper or raise the thermostat. You certainly do not want to upset a landlord who is willing to pay for your heat, electric, garbage pick-up, and laundry.

Thus, the moral of the story is to be nice to people in general. Do not pretend to be nice to people just because you have an ulterior motive. People will quickly realize your motive and turn away from you. If you want to successfully live in a place for a year or two like me, then focus on building a good relationship with your landlord. Good behavior will take you a long way in life. Do a background check and make sure you really know the person you are living with. You will definitely come across good-hearted people who will offer you almost free-housing or housing at a lower cost. I am graduating this fall from GCC and I am moving to another state. I will be a house-aide at an elderly person’s house and I will be paying nothing for rent, electric, heat, garbage- pick up and other expenses. Now, I have decreased my cost of living from $500 to zero dollar. I repeat again, “Be nice to elderly people!”

GCC Cougar Weekend!

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I am excited to announce that GCC Cougar weekend will take place Friday and Saturday, September 21-22, 2018. Everyone is welcome. GCC is pleased to invite the entire community to join Cougar Crawl in Downtown Batavia on Friday, the 21st September, 2018 at 5pm. The Cougar crawl will begin at Ken’s Charcoal Pits at 5pm and features stop at The YNGodness (73 East Main Street), Valle Jewelers (21 Jackson Street), Pollyanna and Dot (202 East Main Street), Eli Fish Brewing Company (109 Main Street) and T-Shirts Etc. (37 Center Street).

The crawl ends at T.F. Brown’s Restaurant (214 Main Street) for the Cougar Crawl Bash including live DJ till 10pm, a buffet and prizes included. Cougar Crawl tickets are only $10 and can be purchased online or by contacting Jennifer Wakefield, GCC assistant director of Alumni Affairs, at 585-343-0055 ext. 6265 or by email at jgwakefield@genesee.edu

Cougar weekend event on Saturday, the 22nd September, 2018 will be held at GCC’s Batavia campus. GCC’s Batavia campus will host a full day activities, exhibits and more! It begins at 10am when the craft and vendor market opens in Richard C. Call Arena. You can also register for Annual Bike and Car Cruise. A chicken BBQ will be available for only $10. You can also view exhibits “Portraits in Trash” by Dion Hitchings in the Roz Steiner Art Gallery from 12 noon through 3pm and “Landscape Interaction/Intervention” photography exhibit on the display in the Stuart Steiner Theatre Lobby.

Five new inductees will be welcomed in the Athletic Hall of Fame at 5pm in the Richard C. Call Arena. Alumni co-ed soccer game starts at 7pm on the campus Turf Field.

Finally, the Alumni bonfire will take place at GCC dorm “College Village” at 8pm. I hope you will join us to have fun!

Come one, come all! Housing Survey!

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housing batavia

Hey y’all! It’s time to participate in something. Let your voice be heard in this online survey. Basically, it’s a survey given by Genesee County and they’re trying to decide what type of housing and additions to add to Batavia!

If you or someone you know would like to participate in helping the town of Batavia develop and grow, please fill out this short 11 answer questionnaire given in the link below. It has to be in by the 17th of November.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XZBVSXP

Thanks and have a great day!

Student Support Services Visit Local Business

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By: Christi Lotempio

Celina and Erin from Student Support Services arranged a tour of T-Shirts Ect in Batavia. This is a T-Shirt company located at 37 Center Street in Batavia, or mytshirtsect.com. The company offers screen printing, canvas prints, wall graphics, embroidery, Decals, Banner and so much more. The owner, Brian Kemp, was a graduate of SUNY GCC.

Our group was able to walk through the entire business to view the printing and the embroidery being completed at the time of our tour. We learned about everything from taking a customer’s order, how the T-Shirt is printed or embroidered, and their checks and balance system. Mr.Kemp was very informative and gave us many tips on running an effective business. Some of the most important things he noted were networking, providing great customer service and being honest (The Golden Rule). He was able to share with us some of his marketing ideas, such as the wooden coin (if you find one and you return it to T-Shirt Ect – you get a free T-shirt!) and the logo printed on the sleeve of the left arm of a shirt. He was able to give us a complete outline of being an entrepreneur, and encouraged to think outside of the box to make your company stand out.

Not only was the tour fun but we all got our own shirts. Thanks for the T-Shirts Mr.Kemp!!

Three Things To Visit On Your Summer Break Near Batavia, NY

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What: Jell-O Factory Museum

Where: Leroy, NY


UntitledBirthplace of JELL-O

Original Advertising Art • Molds •Spoons • Toys •Collectibles • Recipe Books• Canadian Advertising Magazine Ads •  Package Inserts • Memorabilia

Why visit?

The Jell-O factory is a great place to learn about local history, and it is worth a visit to see what such a small town can hold.

What: Darien Lake Amusement Park

Where: Darien Center, NY

kWhy visit?

Darien Lake is full of fun rides and entertainment for all your summer needs and is a great way to fill up your day and get outdoors. They also host many concerts in the summer!

lWhat: Genesee Country Village and Museum

Where: Mumford, NY

Why visit?

Genesee Country Village & Museum features costumed interpreters in restored historic buildings, breathing life into an authentic 19th-Century Country Village. One of the largest living history museums in the country located just outside of Rochester, NY, in Mumford, it is also home to the John L. Wehle Gallery (following a major remodel) and a nature center. It’s a great way to get some interactive history knowledge

GCC: Home To Teachers Who Care

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Professor Messenger, one of the many teachers who makes GCC a great place to learn and succeed!

Why choose Genesee County Community College over any other college? The answer is simple, because of the teachers. GCC is the third college I have attended and I can say for certain that it has the best teachers out of the three! They care more about the students and actually want them to succeed. If a student has a problem (family/medical), or just doesn’t understand how to do homework, they will work with you until you understand, because they care.

GCC faculty also learn of job openings and share them with their students, keep in touch to see how students are doing, and share their personal experiences to help everyone learn. They also support their students when looking for employment.

For one of my classes I had to do community service. Not being from Genesee County, I had no clue where to look for a community service opportunity. I went to my teacher and asked for their help, they were very understanding and gave me places to look into. After being turned down from three different places, I almost gave up on passing the class. But, I eventually found a place very late in the semester and the teacher was willing to work with me. I was able to hand in my volunteer hours after the deadline without a penalty; they even let me do an extra paper for the hours I wasn’t able to complete at my request!

In my experience other colleges I had been to would not have been so nice. They would have just said, “not my problem, you had all semester to find a place.” Just one reason as to why you should pick GCC as your school is for the teachers, there are many reasons, but the teachers are the best!

This blog was contributed by Kristina Yadloczky.

Four Benefits Of Studying Abroad

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In Japan, there are not many universities and colleges, which offer Travel and Tourism as a major. I could only find a few universities, but those were private schools, which were expensive. I really wanted to major in tourism, so I decided to study abroad in the U.S. and came to GCC. While studying abroad, I got many great experiences. So, I want to tell you about them.

1. The Culture
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Learning different cultures is one of the best benefits to staying in a foreign country. I am learning American culture while living here. I enjoyed experiencing Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Black Friday. They were good experiences that other Japanese people living in Japan could not do. Also, I realize how much I love my home country of Japan, the culture, food, and the people. I would not have realized it if I did not study abroad. It is very important to see my own culture and country from outside of the country.

2. Making The Most Of The Trip

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I enjoy traveling here. I went to Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Orlando in the 1.5 years that I had been here. Also, I am planning to go to Miami this summer. I never thought I could travel so easily before I came here. If I were in Japan, I could not travel to so many places because it is too far. I plan to travel more until the end of my study abroad.

3. Making New Friends

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I am making friends with a variety of different people. If I went to college in Japan, as we all know, there is not much of chance to meet other people and become friends with them. Studying abroad gives me the opportunity to meet many kinds of people. In addition, in a foreign country, we can become close friends with other Japanese students because they have much of the same struggles and share the same feelings. I have many close friends who share thoughts about our future, have fun, eat, drink, and live together. These relationships will continue after we go back to our countries.

4. Family 

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Studying abroad, I notice the importance of our families. My family supported me through everything. They understand me and welcome letting me go. They support all financial sides and mental sides. They always stay on my side. Sometimes, I miss my family, but I think it is a good time to make sure of the family’s importance. I give thanks for my family more whenever I go back home.

What do you think about studying abroad? Studying abroad brings people many benefits that they will never experience unless they study abroad. Also, there are a lot of opportunities in many ways. It makes your life more meaningful and changes your mind dramatically.

This blog was contributed by Tourism & Hospitality Management Student Yurina Yasutomi.