First neurowandering steps…

A career in neuroscience opens many doors – both professional and personal. This includes travel to beautiful places, and making new friends & keeping in touch with old friends across the world. Come to think of it, science actually has no doors or walls! And as scientists we must truly be grateful for that.

For me, an exciting new adventure in science is about to unfold. I have the good fortune to be able to spend some time in another country for a semester – on sabbatical. As I make my preparations to move [again] to another country, I thought it would be good to share some of my experiences. Many scientists, at all career stages, are probably having to go through a similar experience. Perhaps my reflections on my own neurowanderings might make it a bit easier for others who are considering doing the same.

Today I was able to secure a furnished apartment – navigating through the various stages of completing the contract, and taking out renter’s insurance. What a relief it is to know that I will have a place to live – one huge detail taken care of.

What advice would I give to someone who is looking for accommodation in a new city in another country?

  1. Get to know the city overall. If already not familiar with the city, ask friends who are [and who may already live there] for suggestions.
  2. Familiarize yourself with individual city neighborhoods and locales. Where will your work be based relative to where you will live? Will you be close to public transport, shops and other services? What other interesting things are in the locale where you will live? Is the neighborhood a safe one – can you come and go to your dwelling at night safely? Googlemaps can actually be a great tool for investigating a neighborhood’s characteristics.
  3. Find a reputable organization that deals with advertising/and renting apartments/houses. Search the internet for bad reviews on these services, or ask friends who know which ones are reliable. Your new work place will probably also be very useful for suggestions. My travels will take me to Paris. For this city I can recommend http://www.lodgis.com – their website makes searching easy and their staff are very responsive and professional.
  4. After finding a house/apartment obtain renter’s insurance. Make sure your belongings (and the contents of the dwelling, if furnished) will be covered against losses. Again for a place in Paris, check out: http://www.french-furnished-insurance.com/fr/ This website gives all details in French and English.
  5. Pay your security deposit and agency fees. You should be able to do this via credit card, and once you have got to this stage the process should be pretty much complete.

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