A month before summer, I got a very important call. I was accepted to an internship in Los Angeles (LA). However, if any of you are familiar with LA, it is very expensive to live there. So, my extreme excitement turned to worry very quickly. Seeing apartments in the area for $1,000 a month at the cheapest, I feared the worst. Just as I was ready to call up the company and tell them I couldn't accept, I found a solution.
The internship was an unpaid one, but it was a great opportunity and not something I wanted to pass on. One of my good friends forwarded me an email that I must've missed from my student inbox. It was an application for funding for an unpaid summer internship! I was very excited. I filled it out, it only required basics. How much money are you requesting? For what? I put together a budget sheet, included $1,000 a month for rent and $500 total for travel, since I'd be driving cross country from Chicago. Soon enough, I was called in for an interview to describe my internship and talk more to the people in charge.
I went into my interview, told them what I'd be doing, mostly work in sports media, which is my minor. They were very interested. They helped me connect with alumni in LA to chat with and get recommendations as to where to live, how to pay for certain things, areas to avoid, etc. After my interview, I waited in anticipation to hear back from the college if I was granted my funding.
In the meantime, I found yet another grant to apply for. This one was more specific, to be used only for housing and travel and nothing else, but it was an extra $1,500 to add to my pocketbook and pay my rent with. Not only rent, but gas in California is extremely pricey and I would have to pay to get back and forth from my internship, along with being able to drive back home at the end of the summer. I applied for this one and heard back quickly. I got the grant!
The other one I was still waiting on. I got an email about a week later calling me into the office. I went in, and they granted me $2,900. So, I was given the two grants, and hope that'd I'd be able to accept my internship and go to California! After the grants were given, I had to put together a decisive budget and make sure I planned everything out. Turned out, I had just enough to get to California, back, and pay my rent!
The stipulations of the grant included that I needed to write a thank you letter to the family who established the grant and I also needed to create a PowerPoint about my experience. It wasn't anything that was insane and too much to ask, plus I got my internship fully paid for!
Finding housing was another thing, but subletting is really easy if you go through Facebook! Most schools have a business center and grants that would apply to most unpaid summer internships. This can be really helpful, no matter what city you're attempting to go to, because it can be really expensive! Plus, feeding yourself in a new city is probably the most pricey thing!
I would not recommend college housing in the area until you exhaust subletting/renting options in the area. I was going to rent a dorm at a nearby college in summer housing, and it was so much more expensive than the apartment I ended up finding. Plus, the dorms didn't have a kitchen or air conditioning, so I got a lot more bang for a lot less buck!
Good luck in your internship journey, and feel free to reach out if you need any help finding grants or looking for housing in the area!
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