Tips on Moving to Durham

Everyone knows that moving to a new city is nothing less than stressful, but the only word I can think of to describe moving to another continent is “overwhelming.” There were so many things that I needed to figure out. Where would I live? How would I get around? What bank should I choose? It was all up in the air, and so difficult to plan without being able to personally check it all out. I now consider myself something of an expert on the topic, so I decided to compile a list of some of the things  that I wish I had known before I moved to Durham:

Housing

For the most part, I looked up housing on the Incoming Student Website (ISW), which is a secured website that incoming students get access to. The site had a pretty extensive list of housing options, with ratings and descriptions. It was important to me to get an apartment where a lot of other MMS students lived, but you can’t tell much about that from the ISW because it doesn’t have any MMS specific statistics. This is understandable since it’s probably something that changes from year-to-year. But this year, the majority of my classmates live in just a few places: The Lofts, The Belmont, Trinity Commons, and West Village. Personally, since I wasn’t going to have a car, it was really important to me to live close enough to campus to walk if necessary. That’s one of the things that led me to The Belmont (also I was only 20, and both Trinity Commons and The Lofts require their residents to be 21).

Distance

In terms of distance, almost all the apartments I listed above are walking distance to school, they’re not even long walks. In fact, The Belmont is the farthest, and it’s actually a really nice walk, when the weather is cooperating. West Village is very close to downtown, but not at all convenient for getting to school unless you have a car or want to take the bus. The Bull City Connector is a good option.

Transport to School

In terms of getting to school, if you don’t plan to drive there, you can either take the LaSalle Loop, or you can walk. The LaSalle Loop is a bus that goes all around campus. It comes approximately every half an hour, and there is an app called TransLoc Transit Visualization, which you can download on your phone to track the bus in real time. The bus is most convenient to The Belmont because it stops almost right outside the gate. That being said, it’s not inconvenient to The Lofts, Trinity Commons or Erwin Terraces, you just have to walk a bit in the opposite direction of Fuqua to get to the bus stop, so it’s probably faster to just walk all the way to school.

Furniture

Pretty much all of the available housing in Durham is unfurnished, so as an international student without a car, I was very worried about how I’d go about furnishing my apartment. My roommate and I bought most of our stuff from Walmart, and are really happy with it. We did need a car for a few days to transport things around, and we had to assemble all of our furniture ourselves. The other alternative that a lot of MMSers used this year was a furniture rental place called CORT. It is more expensive than Walmart, but you don’t need to worry about transporting or setting up your furniture, or even getting rid of it at the end of the year. Also, from what I’ve seen of the CORT furniture, it’s all really nice. When it came to furnishing our apartment, I think the best thing that my roommate and I did was to get in touch with some of the MMS students from last year. We bought all of their random household supplies (brooms, shower curtains, dishes, cutlery, etc.). The items had all only been used for a year anyway, and it made moving just that much easier.

Safety

Safety is a big concern when you’re choosing a place to live in Durham. It’s not an unsafe city, but safety is not something you can take lightly when selecting an apartment here. Of course, how safe the place needs to be depends on you. My advice would just be to do a little research into the neighborhood. Some classmates had to move to a different apartment after a couple of weeks, either to be closer to Fuqua, or because they didn’t like the original place that they had chosen. Moving twice is not ideal, and frankly, the pace of the program just isn’t conducive to elaborate moving plans.

Banks

There are two main banks in Durham: Bank of America and Wells Fargo. I chose Wells Fargo because it has a branch in the Duke medical center, which you can get to easily via the LaSalle Loop. Also, they have an ATM in the Fox Center at Fuqua, and the convenience charge for someone from any other bank is $3!

Timing

Figuring out Durham and Duke isn’t all that difficult if you have the right information. It is important to figure things out by the first couple of weeks of class though, because the program is intense, and the last thing you want to worry about is moving and furniture while you’re getting your bearings in the program. If you can, arrive in Durham a week or two before the MMS program starts, so that you’ll be completely settled by the time classes begin.

Anu Kumar

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MMS, Class of 2013. Find out more about me...

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8 Responses to Tips on Moving to Durham

  1. Aakash Ravi says:

    Hey Anu,

    I’m currently pursuing my Bachelor of Engineering in Bangalore and am currently in my final year.
    Even though I am deeply interested in science and engineering, from a career point of view, I want to distance myself from it as much as possible.

    I have a keen interest in the field of business and would like to learn more, have an in-depth understanding and follow a career in this sector.
    After going through all available courses on the internet, I shortlisted MEMPC(Masters of Engineering Management Program) and MMS offered by Duke as my two top options.
    As an MBA is out of question with my ZERO work experience, coupled with my desperation to deviate away from my undergraduate field of study, I’d like to know if the choices I am making are right.

    Could you please help me out and shed some light on the MMS degree?
    It’d be of great help.

    Thanks.

    Aakash Ravi

    • Anu KumarAnupama says:

      Hey Aakash! I’ll get in touch with you if you provide your email address, or you can post more specific questions here. I’d be happy to tell you what I can regarding the program.

  2. Srishti Garg says:

    Hi Anu,
    I’m from Bombay and I’ve lived here all my life. I’m currently studying Engineering and I’ve applied for the MMS program at Duke. I’ve just sent my application and after reading your blog I’m praying I get in. I wanted to know about their interview procedure and about the life out there in general.

    It will be a huge help if you could get in touch with me.
    My email- srishti191@gmail.com

    Thank you so much :)
    Srishti

  3. Sheldon D'Souza says:

    Hi Anu,

    I grew up in Dubai before moving back to India at the age of 12.
    I recently completed my Engineering in Bangalore and am considering Duke’s MMS program.
    Have a couple of questions about the program and the admission process.
    My email address is sheldons.dsouza@yahoo.com
    Hope to get in touch with you.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon

  4. Mohit Batra says:

    Hi Anu,

    I have completed my Engineering in 2012 and was working till recently in a IT company. I left the job as I wanted to work from the start itself in a Consulting firm.
    I am applying this year to MMS program of Duke( in round 2). I have a couple of questions about the program and the optional essay.
    My email address is mohit.bitsgoa@gmail.com

    Hope to get in touch with you.

    Cheers,
    Mohit

  5. Janhavi Hunnur says:

    Hi Anu,
    I wanted to connect with you regarding the MMS program. I am still contemplating on whether MMS is the right fit for me considering my goal. My email id is janhavi.hunnur@gmail.com
    It would be of great help if you could write back to me and we can take the discussion further in detail

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Thank you,
    Janhavi Hunnur

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