The American Dream Against The World

When I speak about New York, people tend to think that I am flying high on the American Dream cloud. My answer has and always will be that being in love with New York doesn’t mean being in love with America. I often find myself explaining that New Yorkers don’t carry guns, they actually eat healthy food and most of them aren’t Republicans. That’s more or less what my family and friends need to hear to feel slightly reassured.

That was until Cadillac recently came up with a commercial that pretty much screwed all attempts at justifying my choice to live in the United-States for the next few months. Thanks!

This ad doesn’t repel me because it mocks French culture; making fun of my people is actually one of my favorite hobbies, so I ain’t mad at you! No, this commercial has simply managed to represent everything that the world can’t stand about America in 60 seconds: pretentiousness, materialism, elitism – and last but not least – tremendous tackiness.

This ad was obviously not meant to air outside of the US, so it could almost have passed as a bold move from a brand that knows its audience and doesn’t need to please the masses. But Cadillac is a global company, so why emphasize on this ego-boosted patriotism when valuable international consumers could be watching online? Cadillac must assume that the rest of the world barely has an Internet connection, and that what happens in America stays in America.

What fascinates me is that the brand is targeting a consumer profile that only represents a fraction of the American people, and yet has no issue with projecting this character’s values and beliefs as if they were the ultimate definition of success. Isn’t the American Dream about believing that anything is possible? Because to me, this ad is just a reminder that social injustice, racial inequality, financial supremacy – and everything that’s so messed up about American society – is still possible!

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be here if I thought America didn’t have a lot to be proud of – its incredible diversity, artistic influence, or blooming startup culture just to name a few – none of which are featured in this commercial. Thankfully – and granted, for capitalism’s sake – another brand was smart enough to reply to Cadillac with a parody that says a lot about today’s changing America.

Ford took a stand against the one-sided American Dream vision painted by its competitor to show a more human, relatable and caring face of America. In this parody, Detroit activist Pashon Murray put the focus right where it belongs: environment. You were probably too annoyed by this arrogant rich guy to even realize Cadillac was promoting a hybrid car. The character played by actor Neal McDonough seems more excited about the techy coolness of his hybrid – adding to the list of all his “stuff” – than the fact that it’s a step forward for our planet.

It’s hard not to wonder how an auto company so emblematic of Detroit can come up with such an insensitive narrative after the city recently filed for bankruptcy, and praise a system that is obviously only beneficial to the happy few.

Muhammad Ali, whose name is used for all the wrong reasons in Cadillac’s commercial, once said: “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize.” I think the United-States doesn’t realize that the unrecognized part that Ali was talking about is what people in the world relate to and admire the most about this country. This unrecognized part is what made me fall in love with New York: its unique melting pot, countless subcultures, and incredible success stories. That’s the dream.

New Yorkers You Will Meet: #1 The Roommates

Unless you are very lucky, if you are a twenty something moving to New York City, you will need a roommate. I don’t think I know anyone of my age who lives alone here, which can actually be a good thing if you are new to the City. Your roommate, or most likely roommates (the more people you can squeeze in an apartment, the cheaper the rent) will be one of the first people you meet in New York. So choose them wisely! Although your passion for the City was probably fueled by all the fun Rachel and Monica had in their Greenwich apartment, I thought I’d share a few basic rules that your favorite TV shows didn’t teach you about roommates:

Rule #1: Roomies Don’t Equal Homies Breaking Bad At least not when you first move to New York. Making real friends here takes time, so until you find your Ted, Lily and Marshall, you will have to settle for the next best thing and search for roommates on Craigslist! I know that American Television taught us otherwise, but New York is too big of a City to stay in a small apartment and hang out with the same people all day. Once you get in the swing of things, chances are you will barely see your roommates, but this is actually not a bad thing. Think of your New York roomies as the siblings you grew up with: you love them – deep down! You are not a selfish brat, but you’ll come to realize that sharing things sucks, especially when it comes to space – or the lack of it.

Rule #2: Roomies Rhyme With Parties BROKE_GIRLS_Max_and_Caroline_66abdf62d76d2e16b8b5049a1fdfefaf Just because New York roommates do their own things doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be here for the fun times! Creating a friendly environment in your apartment is essential to survive in the City. When times are hard and you’re too broke for 15 dollars cocktails plus tips, you want to be able to bring the party to your place! That’s why you shouldn’t feel bad about stalking potential roommates on Facebook before you commit to an apartment. Nobody wants to be stuck with anti-social people! Having enough in common with roommates so that your respective friends can mingle and party together is crucial. With that being said, also make sure that your new roomies are as active and independent as they are requiring you to be. The busy New Yorker who you are about to become doesn’t have time for needy roommates! Hanging out should be an exciting option…not an obligation!

Rule #3: Roomies Have No Guarantees Monica and Rachel gif. Not going to live together Roommates will definitely be a part of your New York experience, but the bottom line here is that you shouldn’t depend on anyone to make yours a fabulous one! Buddha probably had New York in mind when he preached that the only constant thing in the world was change. All anachronisms aside, people move in and out of the City all the time. Think about the interns, students, artists and travelers that come from around the globe to take a bite of the Apple. They are the amazing people you will live with, so enjoy their free-spirited energy while it’s here and before everyone – including you – goes onto the next adventure!

Having roommates in New York is like dating: there will be no strings attached, until you find the right one.

6 Things That Happen While Job Hunting In New York

#1 Send Your Resume Everywhere Rachel Resume Looking for a job in New York takes a lot of energy, so no need to waste it by applying for jobs you don’t even want! Sending a lot of applications is fine, as long as you narrow your search down to one particular field. Putting your goals in writing will help you define them and present your unique skills to the world!

#2 Get No Answer tumblr_mp05zzX4bz1swrcnyo1_500Just because you sent 100 resumes doesn’t mean you will get 100 answers. Not hearing back from potential employers is actually normal in the City. You are going to start wishing they said “NO” rather than giving you the silent treatment. Stay strong, this is just New York’s way to encourage you to get out there and meet as many people as possible instead of hiding behind a computer. Sending online applications is not the only thing you should be doing!

#3 Cry A Little…Drink A Lot Beyonc_Why_Don39t_You_Love_Me__f09ae48ca1f6f82e8d60c65dacfb13e5 Being ignored is the worst feeling in the world. Allow yourself a few tears, but only for little bit! Look at the bright side: the frustration of being unnoticed will turn you into a networking machine. Since meeting the right people is half of the struggle while looking for a job in New York, going out and dancing your troubles away is more than acceptable…I actually recommend it!

4# Meet Someone Who Knows Everyone Gatsby Sooner or later, you will meet your New York Guardian Angel, and this person will be more helpful than a thousand cover letters. She or he’s waiting at this party you don’t want to attend because you don’t know anyone, or sitting next to you at Starbucks while you’re busy Instagramming your Latte. Be open to your surroundings and the universe will reward you!

5# Go To Your First Interview tumblr_mvs85eygsq1qg1qx9o2_250 When it’s finally time for your first New York interview, your ability to keep the conversation flowing can make the difference between you and your competitors. So before shaking your future boss’s hand, make sure to step your New York game up! Open a Time Out New York magazine to learn about the latest MOMA exhibit, the lineup of the upcoming Governors Ball, or anything that says “I’m ready for this City.”

6# Explain You Need a Visa…And Immediately Regret It Leelo Please Help So you were nailing your interview… until you mentioned that you need the company to sponsor you for a visa. Rookie mistake! As you become what I like to call a professional job hunter, you will realize that the less information your share about immigration status the better. Let people fall in love with you before revealing administrative details that might scare them away and make you look desperate.

 

Now that you know what to expect while job hunting in the City, go ahead and run this town!

Started As Exchange Students Now We’re Here: From Studying in New York To Landing A Job

If you are anything like me, you grew up with one thought and one thought only: one day you will live in New York City. You don’t know how, but you know it will happen. So you started dreaming, but soon realized that dreams without a plan are like a rap song featuring Miley Cyrus: not real…and never will be!

Woody Allen

I began plotting as soon as I knew that New York was what I wanted, basically since I first heard a Nas song and watched a Woody Allen movie – yes, the obsession started early! For years, I considered every possible option but they all seemed out of reach. I thought of College, but education in the USA was nowhere near affordable. Or maybe I could graduate in France and work in New York, but how would I find a job and a visa with no connections?

As I looked into French Grad Schools, I realized that many of them had International Programs, so this became my motivation. When the moment finally arrived to pick between studying or interning abroad for six months, I decided it was time to Party in the USA – see Miley, I am okay with you as long as you stick to pop music! After convincing the exchange organization that I will be just fine in New York and won’t regret declining a Mid-West campus, my master plan finally unfolded!

Spending a semester at The City College of New York turned out to be the experience of a lifetime for me. If you are obsessed with the idea of moving to the Big Apple, studying here is the way to go and the perfect introduction to the City. From students to professors, I met incredible New Yorkers who eventually became my support system for years to come. I know what you are thinking: New York college life ain’t cheap! But think of this as an investment for the future. All you really need is a little bit of time here to feel the pace and prepare for bigger things.

For students coming from abroad, transferring to the City shouldn’t cost anything if your school has partnerships with New York Colleges, and a lot of European Universities offer financial support through scholarships. Combined with a babysitting job or a side hustle, you can make enough money to survive in the concrete jungle. Sure, you will still need to learn the art of getting free drinks…but I’ll get to that later!

If you don’t qualify for an exchange program, there are still public and community Colleges with affordable tuition. CCNY is definitely one of them and I recommend it for its down to earth people from all boroughs and nationalities, and the beautiful campus in the heart of Harlem.

Hard to believe CCNY is in Manhattan...right?

Hard to believe CCNY is in Manhattan…right?

The bottom line is, if New York is what you want…work the system to get it! Columbia or NYU may be dream schools on paper, but in the end, you can only count on yourself to turn a studying abroad program into a career opportunity. Be open to everyone you meet on campus, but also while out sipping $5 Frozen Margaritas! You’d be shocked to see how total strangers are willing to give free advice in New York.

If you are on a student visa, don’t forget that you can stay in the US for another month after it expires. Use that time wisely to network your butt off! I randomly found an internship once the semester ended, which turned out to be an amazing experience, not to mention that my boss was the one and only Travelin’ Girl. If it wasn’t for interning with her, I would probably still be looking for a job now. And if it wasn’t for being an exchange student, I simply wouldn’t have been in the right place at the right time to jump on the opportunity.

Studying in New York is more than going to class three days a week and hanging out at Blockheads. It’s about getting your foot in the door and keeping it open until you are ready to apply for a real job. They say it’s up to you…

New York: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Welcome to Liv For the City!

Before we get started, one might ask…

Who Dat GIF

Yes I am French.

But this blog is not a NY survival guide for home sick Frenchies. In fact, if I have one advice for the 100,000 French people in the City that can also apply to all internationals, it’s to branch the hell out! New York is the most diverse place on the planet so if you want to learn anything from your experience here, you better step out of your comfort zone! It may be easy to meet fellow citizens when you first arrive, but pop that bubble as early as possible unless you want to keep pronouncing Chipotle “Chipottle” and remain an outcast for the rest of your New York life.

Yes I am a girl.

But this blog will not keep you up to date with the best nail salons in town and the hottest brunch spots to cure your Sunday hangover (with more alcohol). God knows NY is superficial, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it – $15 dollars Chinatown hair blowouts I see you – but I will keep my self-centered New York ways (almost) private.

Yes I am a Hip Hop junkie.

But I am no Necole Bitchie wanna be. Let’s be honest, no one compares to the Queen of online urban entertainment! Since Hip Hop does rule New York City and – and so it happens, my life – simply expect me to use its refined aesthetics to express my deepest thoughts.

Surfboard Beyonce

Now that we all agree on what Liv For The City isn’t, I’ll give you the real deal! This is about the ups and downs of a foreign girl who moved, studied, partied, job hunted, networked and now works in a City where every door is an opportunity…with 8 million opportunists knocking.

Living in New York is a dream that you keep chasing even when it becomes true. I wish I had known that before coming here, although that wouldn’t have stopped me. So whether you are miles away planning your next chapter in the City, or already here pursuing your goals, I hope you will learn a little and relate a lot to my experience of the beautiful dark twisted fantasy that is New York.