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Thread: An Englishman in Ann Arbor, Michigan

  1. #1
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    An Englishman in Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Hey guys.

    I'm 24 and I've recently moved to the USA from England to get married to an American.

    I'm currently preparing to apply for Master's programs in Michigan and looking for an internship in the area.

    Any advice on schools nearby or tips about potential internships would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Howdy from Austin, Texas.

    I'm applying at schools as well, including a joint law/planning program at MSU, so if you wind up there (not sure where all you're looking to attend), perhaps we'll be classmates. Best of luck with applications.

    There are a lot of Michiganders here who I'm sure would be more than willing to give you advice on Michigan planning schools. Also be sure to search the Student Lounge - there's good info there, too.

    Welcome to Cyburbia!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Hello, from Dallas, TX!

    Good luck on schools, and I hope you like this side of the pond!
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    As resident anglophile, I welcome you (from SW Michigan)!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    Unless my wife and I decide to move, the schools I have to choose from are:

    University of Michigan
    Michigan State University
    Wayne State University
    Eastern Michigan University

    I don't think I can get into the first two. My GPA is average (as far as I can convert it), I only have one letter of recommendation and they both require the GRE.

    Wayne State and Eastern are interesting. Obviously, in general terms, they have no name recognition outside of the state. I've been trying to work out what people think of them in the Planning field.

    It seems that Eastern has a good reputation amongst local planners. The only problem is that the Master's program isn't accredited. It's a hard decision.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes....

    I've worked with several fine planners who went to Eastern Michigan U. and they all said they liked the school.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
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    Welcome aboard...hope you've figured out the difference between football and football already!

  8. #8
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Welcome from the Great State of Ohio! Obviously whatever school you choose, you must (and I stress this), MUST, realize that the University of Michigan Football is horrible.

    Welcome to our little slice of heaven.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We enjoy giving Brits a hard time around here Hope you have a good sense of humour! (Maybe you or Tranplanner should start a 'Good and bad reasons to like the USA' companion thread?)

    So whereabouts in England do you come from? If you're familiar with London perhaps you could give Salmissra some suggestions

  10. #10
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Thanks, all!

    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    I've worked with several fine planners who went to Eastern Michigan U. and they all said they liked the school.
    That's what I've heard from quite a few people. I've heard that accreditation doesn't really matter to employers, it just means you only need two years work experience rather than three to become certified. Is that accurate?

    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Welcome aboard...hope you've figured out the difference between football and football already!
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Welcome from the Great State of Ohio! Obviously whatever school you choose, you must (and I stress this), MUST, realize that the University of Michigan Football is horrible.

    Welcome to our little slice of heaven.
    I've been to a couple of Michigan games. It's a great experience, although as you might have guessed, my true sporting passions are soccer (remembering to use that word is still difficult!) and cricket. My wife's parents have the soccer channels so I'm able to get my fix. Cricket is proving more difficult to find...

    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    We enjoy giving Brits a hard time around here Hope you have a good sense of humour! (Maybe you or Tranplanner should start a 'Good and bad reasons to like the USA' companion thread?)

    So whereabouts in England do you come from? If you're familiar with London perhaps you could give Salmissra some suggestions
    I might just have to start that companion thread! I certainly have my opinions on the good and bad of living in this country, based on my short experience of course.
    I'm from East Anglia. It's a nice part of the world. I have, however, lived and worked in London for the past couple of years, so I'll definitely post some advice in that thread.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I went to WSU for undergrad and Graduate school at Eastern. I preferred WSU for a variety of reasons.

    I am a life-long Detroiter. Welcome to our region. Please get a chance to experience the area outside of the Ann Arbor environs, while many will who live there think it is the center of the universe and that you will fall off if you leave its borders, there is a lot more to the area than the sleepy yet pretty college town.

    Cricket is played on a regular basis on Belle Isle by the Casino.

    Unfortunately work is not easy to come by these days. Your best bet would be to scour the planning websites prepared by the APA and the Michigan Association of Planners.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I went to WSU for undergrad and Graduate school at Eastern. I preferred WSU for a variety of reasons.

    I am a life-long Detroiter. Welcome to our region. Please get a chance to experience the area outside of the Ann Arbor environs, while many will who live there think it is the center of the universe and that you will fall off if you leave its borders, there is a lot more to the area than the sleepy yet pretty college town.

    Cricket is played on a regular basis on Belle Isle by the Casino.

    Unfortunately work is not easy to come by these days. Your best bet would be to scour the planning websites prepared by the APA and the Michigan Association of Planners.
    Could you expand on why you preferred WSU? I'm meeting the chair, Robin Boyle, on Friday.

    I feel fairly resistant to the Ann Arbor brainwashing that many residents of the town seem to have succumbed to. Unfortunately my options are limited at the moment by the lack of a car. We've been up North, to Alpena and Traverse City, and they were both lovely, especially the latter.

    Thanks for the cricket tip!

    Also, a note to any Mods - I didn't realise that a post moderation system was in effect. That's why I have two bizarrely similar posts above. If you could delete the first one that'd be great

  13. #13
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by oldy View post
    Could you expand on why you preferred WSU? I'm meeting the chair, Robin Boyle, on Friday.

    I feel fairly resistant to the Ann Arbor brainwashing that many residents of the town seem to have succumbed to. Unfortunately my options are limited at the moment by the lack of a car. We've been up North, to Alpena and Traverse City, and they were both lovely, especially the latter.

    Thanks for the cricket tip!

    Also, a note to any Mods - I didn't realise that a post moderation system was in effect. That's why I have two bizarrely similar posts above. If you could delete the first one that'd be great
    Why? Because I am a born and bred Detroit City-Boy. I went to a college prep high school in the City limits and many of my classmates ended up at Wayne. It was a very familiar environment for me. Besides my goal in life was to plan for Detroit. I went to Eastern only because I took every single graduate level course at WSU as an undergrad. I graduated with a Co-Major in Geography from the School of Liberal Arts and Urban Studies from the College of Urban Labor and Metro Affairs.

    You will find that Metropolitan Detroit is full of people from the old British Colonies. This is only amplified by the fact that you can take the bus to Canada, but you better use money with the Queen's picture on it or the bus driver won't take you!

    Robin Boyle was not on staff when I was there. I have heard him speak on several occasions.

    I am glad you enjoyed your trips North. I have a cottage not too far from Lake Huron that provides me weekend escapes. I hope on your trip to Alpena you drove the River Road or went out to Tawas Point along the way. Lenaneau (sp) County by Traverse City is among some of the prettiest areas in Michigan, much more awaits you to discover over the bridge.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  14. #14
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Welcome aboard!

    Dont worry- i will keep you up to date on how badly England loses in the Ashes
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  15. #15
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    Welcome aboard!

    Dont worry- i will keep you up to date on how badly England loses in the Ashes
    Thanks! It's our best chance in Australia for many many years, but I still think being away from home will be their downfall.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    You know, while I'm on I'll ask this question here and hope someone can answer by tomorrow afternoon.

    I've got an interview tomorrow for an internship with a Downtown Development Authority for a small town. Well, I assume it's essentially an interview, although in his email the man didn't use that word. He instead said we were going to discuss the position.

    Anyway, I'm pumped and ready. I'd just like to know: what should I wear? I'm planning on taking no risks - full suit, tie and nice shoes. Better to be overdressed than underdressed. Good idea?

    Also, are internship interviews particularly intense? What sort of questions might he ask? Bearing in mind that he knows I have no planning experience.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Congrats on the internship. The bigger question to me is what soccer/football team do you support?
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michiganplanner View post
    Congrats on the internship. The bigger question to me is what soccer/football team do you support?
    Shhhhh! Don't get him started - for all we know he's probably one of those hooligans

  19. #19
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Congrats on the internship Oldy and welcome to the Great Lake State and thank you for increasing our state's population by 1!

    As a recent graduate from Wayne State's urban planning program, I feel qualified to chime in...

    I loved my time at Wayne State and think that I got a great theoretical based education there. Also, the location cannot be beaten. Sure, Ann Arbor is a great college town but it just doesn't have the 24/7 vitality that Detroit does (of course it's not like Ann Arbor is too far away from Detroit). And the area right around the WSU campus is really a great place to be over the last few years. It's one of the few neighborhoods in the city that has had some sustained growth even during the current recession. A lot of that is due to Wayne State projects and growth at the Detroit Medical Center to the south and the Henry Ford Medical Center just north of the campus. The University has also been making a push to get more undergraduate students to live on campus and they seem to be succeeding with that. If they can continue that on-campus student growth, the immediate neighborhood will continue to get even more vibrant.

    Regarding the actual graduate courses I took, I feel that I learned quite a bit there and the graduate program also gives you the opportunity to take some higher level economics classes as part of the planning curriculum and get some econometrics under your belt if that is something that you are interested in. My only complaints with the program are that there is zero focus on site design even at the most basic levels and you will not get any academic exposure to something so basic as doing an actual site plan review if that is something that you are interested in. Yes, there is much more to urban planning than looking at site plans, but when I was looking at entry level jobs, that seemed to be a big part of what employers look for. My other complaint is that with all the growth going on around the campus and with all that the actual university is involved in, the planning department remains rather insulated. As a student, I would have loved to have been able to get involved in some of the projects that the university was working on but it just doesn't happen. for that, I blame the department, and specifically Robin Boyle. I feel it was the leaderships responsibility to get the ball rolling on that type of stuff. Fortunately, there is a rather active organization of students in the planning program and they are pretty good (depending upon who their leadership/membership is at the time) at getting involved in stuff in the city and the region.

    It seems like you would see the University of Detroit and their very new, and tiny Community Development program in the news and involved in redevelopment efforts much more often than Wayne State's planning program.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  20. #20
    Cyburbian oldy's avatar
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    Thanks WSU! That's a great post. I've been distracted by my new internship over the past couple of weeks so just wanted to let you know that I appreciate it!

    The campus and surrounding area certainly seemed vibrant and exciting. Robin Boyle was very interesting to talk to. I'm still deciding what to do. I'm swinging back towards applying to Michigan or MSU...

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