I will say congratulations as you got admitted in the University of Michigan, a world class University in one of the best towns in the United States of America. Maybe you also got admitted to some other universities, but your choice to study at U-M will be a great investment for your career and life in the future. Also, if you have family, this is a moment that can be a good opportunity for you and family to gain living experiences outside your home country together. But, you need to be aware that if you fail to manage both your life and your family life, it may jeopardize your academic achievement - which is not good. Here are two things that I will share to you as a brief picture of living with family in Ann Arbor.
First of all, as an international student, it is important for you to prove a certain amount of money to obtain a visa. To me, that amount of money is adequate enough to shop for groceries for cooking and purchase some fast foods or hangout on the weekends. But, please keep in mind although you have that required amount of money, you still need to have a little bit extra money for an emergency call or vacation purposes. Healthcare costs, for example, which are known as a co-pay, may occur when you are having illness or injury. The costs are various and you can visit this website to get further information. Another example is that a weekend or holiday is the best moment for you and your family to get rid of stress and have fun. But, unfortunately, during that time the public transport (like buses) is not as frequent as a weekday. Even on some national holidays they stop operating. So, all you need to do is rent or buy a car, unless you are willing to spend your days at home. But, you do not need to worry: the International Center would provide a presentation on how to rent or buy a car so you can get a better understanding on how to do it.
Next is housing. If you do not have any idea where you are going to look, it is a good for you to start with visiting the University housing website. There are a lot of options to live either on-campus or off-campus. I would suggest you to observe following things: public transport access, marketplaces, amenities, and the neighborhood. Last year, after doing some research I chose Northwood V because of many reasons. The bus service is available over most of the semester and has many bus stops which are located at strategic places, such as markets, university housing, hospitals and clinics, sport stadiums, recreational centers, parks, and more. Another reason is the neighborhood is also friendly, so it is safe for your family to stay at, even when you have to be away from home past midnight to do your homework. Furthermore, the housing security and the police frequently patrol around the apartment complexes. Lastly, the room rate is affordable with amenities that a family needs to do their daily work and there is a 24-hour support staff. The latter is the most important thing when you there is a failure in your apartment and you do not know how to fix it.
All in all, I would say it is possible for you to live in Ann Arbor with family. Even though there could be more burdens that you may get, you can still overcome it when you can identify as early as possible what your family needs in Ann Arbor! I hope you can easily do your research and get success. If you still have questions you can call the International Center for help.
Written by Gatot Arif Triaji
International Center Summer Orientation Peer Adviser
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Master’s Student in Public Policy