MINERVA VOICES

How to Make the Most Out of Living in a New City: 7 Detailed Tips

by Yuzzy Itaba, Class of 2025

October 25, 2023

The excitement of moving to a new rotation city is akin to unwrapping a gift. Every street corner, local eatery, and casual conversation brings a world of possibilities, waiting to be explored. But just like every gift, the real magic lies in the way you unveil it. Do you hastily tear off the wrapping, or do you gently uncover it, savoring every detail? The cities you will inhabit during your Minerva University rotation are your gifts. As a Minerva student, I can vouch for the fact that a conscious approach can turn a mere stay into an unforgettable experience. Here are seven tips, carved out from my own memories and lessons, to help you make the most out of living in a new city.

  1. Dip Your Toes in the Local Language

Learning a new language might be challenging, but the rewards are immensely satisfying. Not only does it help in day-to-day conversations, but locals tend to appreciate the effort you're putting in to communicate with them. Even if your pronunciation isn't perfect or your vocabulary is limited, these attempts often become icebreakers or memorable moments. Learning a new language might be challenging, but the rewards are immensely satisfying. Not only does it help in day-to-day conversations, but locals tend to appreciate the effort you're putting in to communicate with them. Even if your pronunciation isn't perfect or your vocabulary is limited, these attempts often become icebreakers or memorable moments. For instance, on a regular day in front of my residence, a man was smiling at us. I took the initiative to greet him in Chinese and introduced myself in the same language. To my surprise, we quickly bonded, and he invited us to play basketball together. Such experiences highlight that even a simple greeting in the local dialect can lead to unexpected friendships and genuine connections with residents.

  1. Dig into the City's History

Every brick and stone of a city has a story to tell, and these narratives shape the cultural and societal norms of its inhabitants. When you acquaint yourself with a city's history, you begin to notice its reflections in architecture, art, and even in local conversations. In Taiwan, acknowledging the history of the Japanese occupation helped me understand some subtle cultural nuances. For instance, I noticed the blend of Japanese and Taiwanese influences in local architecture, food, and festivals. This understanding allowed me to strike up conversations with locals about their family histories, the fusion of cultures in their daily lives, and the impact of the past on modern Taiwan. I made several local friends, and we often discussed topics ranging from the shared cultural heritage to personal stories of their grandparents during the occupation era. These interactions not only made my stay richer and more meaningful but also showcased my genuine interest in understanding and integrating into the community.

  1. Go Tech-Free for a True Adventure

Smartphones and their accompanying apps certainly offer unparalleled convenience, but this same convenience often acts as a barrier to raw, unfiltered experiences. It was a conscious decision of mine not to buy a SIM card when I landed in Taiwan. This choice, though seemingly trivial, turned out to be transformative. Without the ever-present crutch of GPS and instant online translations, I was propelled into genuine interactions with the locals. Asking for directions became more than a mere query; it was an opportunity. What started as simple questions often transformed into extended chats, rich with suggestions for off-the-beaten-path spots, local restaurants, and even invitations to community events. This deliberate tech-free approach didn't just amplify my language skills; it allowed me to soak in Taiwan's essence, as narrated by its very own people.

  1. Savor the Local Flavors

Food is often a direct reflection of a city's culture, history, and soul. In Taiwan, our quest for breakfast led us to a quaint eatery, which quickly became our favorite spot. Their beef noodle soup was unlike anything we'd tasted before – a perfect blend of flavors that told a story of traditions, passed down through generations. Frequent visits to the same place can also lead to recognition and friendships. Before we knew it, we were receiving culinary suggestions, learning about the ingredients, and even getting insights into local festivities and events.

  1. Engage in Community Events and Activities

Diving into local routines can be both enlightening and fun. I remember the rhythmic movements of the 太極拳 (Tai Chi Chuan) enthusiasts outside my residence in Taiwan. Their synchronized motions, emanating tranquillity, intrigued me. One day, I decided to join them. The experience was meditative, and the community was welcoming. After the session, some participants approached me, leading to invigorating discussions about the philosophy behind the movements and their personal experiences. This interaction was a testament to the fact that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to rich, rewarding experiences.

  1. Try Unique Transportation Modes

Traveling like a local can be both economical and exhilarating. In Taiwan, the U-bike system is not just a means of transportation but an experience in itself. The cycling paths, especially those alongside rivers, offer scenic views and a sense of serenity. Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, India, the tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) is an adventure. The colorful, three-wheeled vehicles weave through traffic, providing an adrenaline-packed ride. While they're a common mode of transport for locals, for an outsider, it's a blend of thrill and cultural immersion.

  1. Embrace Spontaneity in Every Moment

Sometimes, the most unforgettable experiences aren’t the ones you plan for, but the ones that catch you off-guard. While staying in Taiwan, I had the chance to join a local festival. As the festivities were in full swing, a band began playing an energetic tune. The atmosphere was electric, and just when it seemed the energy had peaked, a stranger spontaneously jumped into the fray. His dance was mesmerizing, blending with the music in perfect harmony. To everyone's astonishment and delight, he even performed acrobatic flips, further elevating the mood. Both in Hyderabad and Taiwan, these unexpected moments reiterated the beauty of embracing spontaneity. Whether it’s an impromptu street performance or a passionate dancer joining a band, such unscripted moments often end up being the most memorable, reminding us of the magic cities hold when we allow ourselves to be fully present.

Living in a new city is a mosaic of experiences, a tapestry of memories stitched together by conversations, discoveries, and those serendipitous moments of connection. Whether it's the rhythmic cadence of a new language, the heady aroma from a local food place, or the unexpected joy of spontaneous adventures, every experience adds a unique tile to your mosaic. As you journey through the Minerva University global rotation, remember that the essence of a city is not just in its monuments or tourist attractions, but in its heartbeat — the stories of its people, the legacy of its past, and the promise of its future. Keep your heart and mind open, and let every city leave its indelible mark on your soul. After all, every adventure, no matter how brief, has the potential to transform the traveler. Safe travels and happy discoveries!

Quick Facts

Name
Country
Class
Major

Cognitive Science and Economics & Political Science

Social Sciences & Business

Business & Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Computational Sciences & Social Sciences

Computer Science & Arts and Humanities

Business and Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Arts and Humanities

Business, Social Sciences

Business & Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

Data Science, Statistics

Computational Sciences

Business

Computational Sciences, Data Science

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Business, Natural Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Science

Social Sciences, Business

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Science

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Science, Statistic Natural Sciences

Business & Social Sciences

Computational Science, Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Business

Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Arts and Humanities

Computational Science

Minor

Computational Science & Business

Economics

Social Sciences

Concentration

Cells and Organisms & Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Applied Problem Solving & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence & Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Designing Societies & New Ventures

Strategic Finance & Data Science and Statistics

Brand Management and Designing Societies

Data Science & Economics

Machine Learning

Cells, Organisms, Data Science, Statistics

Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science

Cells and Organisms, Mind and Emotion

Economics, Physics

Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance

Global Development Studies and Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Scalable Growth, Designing Societies

Business

Drug Discovery Research, Designing and Implementing Policies

Historical Forces, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology

Designing Solutions, Data Science and Statistics

Data Science and Statistic, Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science

Strategic Finance, Politics, Government, and Society

Data Analysis, Cognition

Brand Management

Data Science and Statistics & Economics

Cognitive Science & Economics

Data Science and Statistics and Contemporary Knowledge Discovery

Internship
Higia Technologies
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org
Business Analyst, Clean Energy Associates (CEA)

Conversation

The excitement of moving to a new rotation city is akin to unwrapping a gift. Every street corner, local eatery, and casual conversation brings a world of possibilities, waiting to be explored. But just like every gift, the real magic lies in the way you unveil it. Do you hastily tear off the wrapping, or do you gently uncover it, savoring every detail? The cities you will inhabit during your Minerva University rotation are your gifts. As a Minerva student, I can vouch for the fact that a conscious approach can turn a mere stay into an unforgettable experience. Here are seven tips, carved out from my own memories and lessons, to help you make the most out of living in a new city.

  1. Dip Your Toes in the Local Language

Learning a new language might be challenging, but the rewards are immensely satisfying. Not only does it help in day-to-day conversations, but locals tend to appreciate the effort you're putting in to communicate with them. Even if your pronunciation isn't perfect or your vocabulary is limited, these attempts often become icebreakers or memorable moments. Learning a new language might be challenging, but the rewards are immensely satisfying. Not only does it help in day-to-day conversations, but locals tend to appreciate the effort you're putting in to communicate with them. Even if your pronunciation isn't perfect or your vocabulary is limited, these attempts often become icebreakers or memorable moments. For instance, on a regular day in front of my residence, a man was smiling at us. I took the initiative to greet him in Chinese and introduced myself in the same language. To my surprise, we quickly bonded, and he invited us to play basketball together. Such experiences highlight that even a simple greeting in the local dialect can lead to unexpected friendships and genuine connections with residents.

  1. Dig into the City's History

Every brick and stone of a city has a story to tell, and these narratives shape the cultural and societal norms of its inhabitants. When you acquaint yourself with a city's history, you begin to notice its reflections in architecture, art, and even in local conversations. In Taiwan, acknowledging the history of the Japanese occupation helped me understand some subtle cultural nuances. For instance, I noticed the blend of Japanese and Taiwanese influences in local architecture, food, and festivals. This understanding allowed me to strike up conversations with locals about their family histories, the fusion of cultures in their daily lives, and the impact of the past on modern Taiwan. I made several local friends, and we often discussed topics ranging from the shared cultural heritage to personal stories of their grandparents during the occupation era. These interactions not only made my stay richer and more meaningful but also showcased my genuine interest in understanding and integrating into the community.

  1. Go Tech-Free for a True Adventure

Smartphones and their accompanying apps certainly offer unparalleled convenience, but this same convenience often acts as a barrier to raw, unfiltered experiences. It was a conscious decision of mine not to buy a SIM card when I landed in Taiwan. This choice, though seemingly trivial, turned out to be transformative. Without the ever-present crutch of GPS and instant online translations, I was propelled into genuine interactions with the locals. Asking for directions became more than a mere query; it was an opportunity. What started as simple questions often transformed into extended chats, rich with suggestions for off-the-beaten-path spots, local restaurants, and even invitations to community events. This deliberate tech-free approach didn't just amplify my language skills; it allowed me to soak in Taiwan's essence, as narrated by its very own people.

  1. Savor the Local Flavors

Food is often a direct reflection of a city's culture, history, and soul. In Taiwan, our quest for breakfast led us to a quaint eatery, which quickly became our favorite spot. Their beef noodle soup was unlike anything we'd tasted before – a perfect blend of flavors that told a story of traditions, passed down through generations. Frequent visits to the same place can also lead to recognition and friendships. Before we knew it, we were receiving culinary suggestions, learning about the ingredients, and even getting insights into local festivities and events.

  1. Engage in Community Events and Activities

Diving into local routines can be both enlightening and fun. I remember the rhythmic movements of the 太極拳 (Tai Chi Chuan) enthusiasts outside my residence in Taiwan. Their synchronized motions, emanating tranquillity, intrigued me. One day, I decided to join them. The experience was meditative, and the community was welcoming. After the session, some participants approached me, leading to invigorating discussions about the philosophy behind the movements and their personal experiences. This interaction was a testament to the fact that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to rich, rewarding experiences.

  1. Try Unique Transportation Modes

Traveling like a local can be both economical and exhilarating. In Taiwan, the U-bike system is not just a means of transportation but an experience in itself. The cycling paths, especially those alongside rivers, offer scenic views and a sense of serenity. Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, India, the tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) is an adventure. The colorful, three-wheeled vehicles weave through traffic, providing an adrenaline-packed ride. While they're a common mode of transport for locals, for an outsider, it's a blend of thrill and cultural immersion.

  1. Embrace Spontaneity in Every Moment

Sometimes, the most unforgettable experiences aren’t the ones you plan for, but the ones that catch you off-guard. While staying in Taiwan, I had the chance to join a local festival. As the festivities were in full swing, a band began playing an energetic tune. The atmosphere was electric, and just when it seemed the energy had peaked, a stranger spontaneously jumped into the fray. His dance was mesmerizing, blending with the music in perfect harmony. To everyone's astonishment and delight, he even performed acrobatic flips, further elevating the mood. Both in Hyderabad and Taiwan, these unexpected moments reiterated the beauty of embracing spontaneity. Whether it’s an impromptu street performance or a passionate dancer joining a band, such unscripted moments often end up being the most memorable, reminding us of the magic cities hold when we allow ourselves to be fully present.

Living in a new city is a mosaic of experiences, a tapestry of memories stitched together by conversations, discoveries, and those serendipitous moments of connection. Whether it's the rhythmic cadence of a new language, the heady aroma from a local food place, or the unexpected joy of spontaneous adventures, every experience adds a unique tile to your mosaic. As you journey through the Minerva University global rotation, remember that the essence of a city is not just in its monuments or tourist attractions, but in its heartbeat — the stories of its people, the legacy of its past, and the promise of its future. Keep your heart and mind open, and let every city leave its indelible mark on your soul. After all, every adventure, no matter how brief, has the potential to transform the traveler. Safe travels and happy discoveries!