As move-in day approached, I often received the same question: “Are you worried about the culture shock?” I’m from Cary, North Carolina, which is about as suburban as you can get. I went to school in downtown Raleigh, but I never really had any “city experience.” I’d taken a city bus once, and I’d only ridden the subway the one time that I visited New York with my family. I was worried about the “mean New Yorker” stereotype, knowing that I was leaving southern hospitality behind. I wouldn’t have a car, and I would have to navigate New York on my own. All of these new experiences combined left me very concerned.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised when I came to Juilliard. After a month here, I still have yet to experience any culture shock. From the moment I arrived, Juilliard and their students have made sure that I have been prepared to navigate and understand NYC. Also, the Upper West Side is a very residential area and is much quieter than a lot of the city. Lincoln Center is a fantastic area; it’s quiet enough to not be overwhelming, but there is so much to do that I never get bored.
As for the “mean New Yorker” stereotype, there are people from all over the world at Juilliard; I never feel like an outsider. There are so many different cultures and types of people here, and since the school is so small, I don’t feel overwhelmed by it. Also, the New Yorkers are very nice!!
I can’t speak for everyone’s experience with culture shock here, but from what I have experienced, Juilliard takes it very seriously. I never felt as if they were “throwing me to the sharks.” The students and faculty at Juilliard have ensured that I feel welcomed, safe, and that I am enjoying NYC to the fullest!