FAQ

Below we have tried to provide an overview about important information that are good to know for residing at New Haven and Yale. The information covers housing, transportation, getting a driver’s license, groceries, bankings, mobile connections, and few more. In case you think we missed something feel free to send an email to saga.yale@gmail.com.

Housing 

The following is a super handy and awesome guide to housing out here (first version written by Nhung Ho of the Astronomy department ) There’s a map included to accompany this guide, which shows the areas in which we recommend and don’t recommend living in, many points of interests, as well as the Yale shuttle routes. 

 
There are many housing options available to you including the dorms (Prospect Street, Helen Hadley Hall, no meal plan included), university owned housing (i.e. Whitehall, Esplanade, Mansfield, Elm Campus Partners), or off-campus apartments. We’ll go through the pros and cons of each one below and also include some links.
 
Helen Hadley Hall (HHH): link here.HHH is a big graduate dormitory. Compared to HGS, it is more modern and does not require a meal plan, which makes it cheaper. Additionally, it has its own fitness room (delete) and much better common areas for grad students than HGS. 
 
Prospect Street Dorms: link here and here. This is a good option if you want to live in a dorm like setting without having to pay for a meal plan. It is just up the street from the department so your commute will be short. However, the lack of a meal plan means you’ll have to utilize the communal kitchens; you also have to share the bathrooms. These apartments are a bit harder to get into as they have very few slots to begin with, but they could be a good option. 
 
University owned housing: link here. These are Yale owned and managed buildings which vary in the utilities included with the rent price. These are all on the North side of campus and are within 1 mile of the department. Esplanade is meant more for graduate student families, and there are often young, loud children running around during the warmer times of year. These apartments are very reasonably priced and being Yale owned and managed, they are in relatively good condition. I believe all of these apartments are connected to the Yale network, so you don’t have to pay for fast and reliable internet and you don’t need a VPN to access department computers from home, which is a nice bonus. 
 
University owned, third party managed apartments: There is a company called Elm Campus Partners, which manages apartment buildings owned by Yale in the downtown, Broadway, and Mansfield areas. There are many good options at reasonable but not totally cheap prices. They are well-managed and well-kept. Note that you do not need to attend their tours to be able to apply for any apartment.
 
The real meat of this email is about off-campus housing. The first place you should look is off-campus listings. This is a service provided by the University which allows landlords who only want to rent to Yale students advertise their apartments. Most of the time you will not be able to find these listings on sites like craigslist. For off-campus apartments, there are two areas that you should be looking in:
 
If you want to live downtown and don’t mind the ~1 mile walk up to the department, then stick to apartments inside the square created by George Street (South), Elm Street (North), Dwight Street (West), and Orange Street (East). These are the absolute limits, New Haven gets bad very quickly and I stress that you do not want anything that is on Whalley Avenue no matter how close and cheap it seems, it really is not worth it. Most people who live downtown are people in the humanities, law, medical, and bio programs. The advantage of downtown is the night life, proximity to restaurants, and really the fact that it is downtown. Disadvantages: a bit far from department (although you could take a shuttle up), not as aesthetically pleasing as East Rock, a little less safe (but still definitely safe enough to live here; see the map at the end of the email). Some landlords/management companies that I have found downtown are: chelsea co and ca white, and craigslist is also a good source (the link is to a query for downtown new haven apartments), new haven towers, and blox. 
 
We don’t advise you to look in Wooster Square, it is very far away from the department and main campus and you have to cross through a possibly bad area to get to campus.
 
For East Rock/North Campus stick to the areas bounded by Mansfield street (W), East Rock Road (N), State Street (E), and Trumbull St (S). Most apartments within this area are at a maximum distance of 1 mile away from the department. Most grad students in the department live in this area and there are small, neighborhood grocery stores around so you don’t need a car if you don’t want one. Some landlords/management companies are: trumbull, betsy grauer, susan frew (more expensive), park property, and franklin (the only apartment close to the department is the eli whitney, all others are too far) in addition to craigslist (East Rock query). Advantages of East Rock: close to the department, very cutesy neighborhood feeling, small grocery stores, bikeable, a bit safer than downtown. This neighborhood is where most Yale graduate students and postdocs live (and even some faculty) so it’s a good community. Disadvantages: farther away from nightlife (but the Yale shuttle can always take you down to bars and back), quieter, rent can be a bit more expensive. 
 
One other resource to check for housing is this Yale Facebook group. You can find housing ads there and also search for potential roommates.
 
Prices: Expect to pay between $1300 and $1800 per month for a relatively nice two bedroom apartment. One bedrooms should be ~$1150 and studios ~$900. Keep in mind there will likely be utility costs on top of this. There are fewer studios available in East Rock. In East Rock, there are many large houses that have been divided up into apartments. These have between two to six rooms per house/apartment, and generally cost between $600 to $900 per room. Downtown is usually around $100 cheaper than East Rock, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. If you decide to rent an apartment without heat included, subtract $100 from the average price listed previously. Heat can be costly during the winter given that a lot of apartments are converted/divided Victorian houses, which can be incredibly inefficient. If you’d like to see these areas/streets on a map, check our Google Map on living in New Haven.
 
I would say that you should begin your search now-ish and keep an eye out throughout the spring/summer in case something comes up. Most people will notify their landlords 2-4 months ahead of time if they are staying or not so if you are looking for August I would suggest following the boards/websites closely beginning in May/end of April (i.e. now). Landlords will not do partial month leases in most cases so expect your leases to begin August 1. There aren’t that many apartments that open up in September so I would advise you to look for an August 1 start. 
 
If you won’t be able to swing by here and check out apartments for yourself (due to living far away, etc), we have a solution for this as well – there is a company called Squeakly which can check out apartments for you for a fee. 
 

Transportation:

Yale Shuttle Service: 

 
There are two kinds of shuttle services at Yale. 
 
  1.  One is the day-time shuttles which are more like buses that go around the campus and adjoining areas. [ The operation timings vary from line to line, but a large number stop after 6pm – the Blue line runs till midnight on most days]. You can get live location of the shuttle lines here → http://yale.transloc.com/  You can also download the “TransLoc Rider” App to get the same information.
  2.  From 6pm to 6am, you can get dropped to anywhere in New Haven by Yale’s super-handy door to door shuttle service. To request a shuttle, you can call the Central Dispatch at 203.432.6330 or you can also use the “Tap Ride” app to do the same. 
 
 
 
Operates in and around campus. To get more info about the  shutlle service see https://your.yale.edu/community/getting-around-yale/shuttle
 
 

CT Transit :  (local public buses) 

Bus service that can take you around New Haven and other parts of Connecticut. Extremely cheap and convenient. You can get tickets from the New Haven Green, Chapel St., or give exact fare on the bus itself to buy ticket.
 

Zipcar  : (car sharing)

Zipcar is a car-sharing service available within Yale (& other cities/campuses in the US). You have to pay a yearly fee (~$20) to join the program and after that you pay $7-$9 per hour (gas and insurance incl.) whenever you rent a car. 
 

Noa:  (bike sharing) 

Noa is the cycling equivalent of Zipcar. (Although not as popular as Zipcar)
You can get more info here → https://to.yale.edu/bikeshare
 

Uber – Lyft:

Both services are widely available in and around New Haven

 
 

Rental Cars:

All the major car-rental providers (Hertz, Enterprise etc.) rent out cars in New Haven. Even for leisure trips, you can get rates that Yale has negotiated. Look for the discount code to enter during booking here → https://your.yale.edu/work-yale/travel-relocation-fleet/travel/ground-tr…
 
 

Travelling to NYC:

Metro-North trains run every 45 mins or so. They are cheaper than Amtrak and take the same time. Fares vary according to time, but is roughly ~$18. You can get more info at www.mta.info
 

Travelling to JFK/LGA/EWR:

Travel to all nearby airports is summarized here and has Yale’s recommendation for both public transport and shuttle→ https://your.yale.edu/work-yale/travel-relocation-fleet/travel/air-trave…
 

Public Transport options (our favourites):-

JFK:-  

Take Metro North to Grand Central. From there take subway 6 and go uptown to 51st Street and then take the E train from there to JFK/Sutphin Blvd. Thereafter, the JFK Airtrain takes to the subway you have to depart from. Subway:- $2.5 Airtrain:- $5
 

LGA:-

  1. Take Metro North to Grand Central. From there take subway 7 and go towards Queens to Roosevelt Ave./Jackson Heights. From there take Q70 Select Bus Service to LGA. (note that for Select Bus Service, you need to get your ticket using the bus-stop machines before you board the bus). 
  2. Take Metro North to Harlem-125th St. Station. From there take M60 Select Bus Service to LGA. (note that for Select Bus Service, you need to get your ticket using the bus-stop machines before you board the bus).  Note that the area around Harlem-125th is not one of the nicer parts of NYC.
 
EWR:-
  1. Take Amtrak directly to Newark Airport Station.
  2.  Take Metro North to Grand Central. Then use one of the shuttle buses departing from there to go to EWR. 
Travelling to Boston
Train:- Amtrak  
Bus:- Greyhound / Megabus / Boltbus/ PeterPan etc. 
 

Getting a CT license / driving with a foreign license 

> In CT, it is allowed to drive with a foreign license upto one year after your entry into the US. If the license is not in English (or just to be extra safe), it is advisable to get an International Driving Permit from your license issuing authority before you come to New Haven. 
 
> To get a license in CT:-
  1.  You have to pass a written MCQ test to get the learner’s permit
  2.  You have to mandatory do a “Safe Driving” instructional class course. This is for 8 hours in a classroom and most driving schools in the area offer this
  3.  Actual Driving lessons are options, unless you are a teenager
  4.  After this, you can take your actual road test! 

Groceries:

 

Places within New Haven:

 
Stop & Shop (150 Whalley Ave, New Haven) – Big US chain – large store. Bikeable from anywhere on campus. The Blue Shuttle Line also stops here on weekends. 
 
Ferraro’s (664 Grand Ave, New Haven) – Big Family owned Local Store – lots of fresh seafood and meat – on the other side of the train tracks downtown – one of the cheapest, but good, options in New Haven
 
Elm City Market (777 Chapel St, New Haven) – Good place for getting organic things. 
 
Hong Kong Market (71 Whitney Ave, New Haven) – Local Chinese place with a decent and cheap seafood selection. Also this is the only place nearby selling actual green chillies! 
 
 

Further away from New Haven (Use Zipcar, Uber, Lyft or CTTransit buses) 

 
Bharat Bazaar (85 Boston Post Rd, Orange) – Indian store selling most South Asian groceries.
 
Aldi (466 Foxon Blvd, New Haven) – Big German supermarket chain having decent cheap selection of items. 
 

Supermarkets/Specialty Stores (Use Zipcar, Uber, Lyft or CTTransit buses) 

 
Burlington Coat Factory (Orange, CT) – Store with a reasonably priced collection of Boots and jackets for the winter !! 
 
Kohl’s (Orange, CT) – Clothes, Home Decor, Small Appliances, Kitchenware etc. 
Target (multiple nearby) – Clothes, Home Decor, Small Appliances, Kitchenware etc. 
Walmart (many nearby) – pretty much everything for clothes – to appliances – to groceries 
 
IKEA – for all you furniture needs
 
Best Buy – for all your electrical/electronic needs
 
 

Mobile Phones / Connections:

 Major US Networks:
AT & T – Verizon – Xfinity mobile – T Mobile / Sprint
These are the big 5 of US telecom. They own and operate actual physical networks. Expect plans with a decent amount of data etc. to cost you around $50. If you are buying a phone on a monthly payment basis, be careful of the many small add on charges. You can try to get a few friends together and get on a family plan for cheaper rates. 
 

Mobile Virtual Network Operators 

Lycamobile – Freedom Pop – Straight Talk – Ting and many more
These companies don’t own actual networks, but use one of the network’s above to operate.Their rates are usually much cheaper than the major networks – however don’t expect walk in stores etc. for these service providers. 
 
           Lycamobile also provides unlimited talk/text to South Asian countries along with their basic plans (which are about ~ $22). 
 

Useful Apps:

TapRide: You can go anywhere in Yale campus from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Rider: See real time updates of Yale shuttle lines, stops and locations.
 

Banking:

Bank Of America – Chase – Wells Fargo – Kay Bank are the big players with branches in New Haven. BofA probably has the maximum number of ATMs near campus (including a handy one in the basement of KBT, if you are near Science Hill).  Remember that most banks charge fees for withdrawal from non-partner ATMs. Also, usually banks offer some free cash upon opening checking accounts with them. Remember to google for these offers before opening your bank account. 
 
 You can also get your account with the small banks/credit associations around town. Some of them have free checking accounts without any conditions and tend to have lower fees than the major players. 
 
Credit Cards:- 
In the US, to get a credit card, you need to have a decent credit score – a score calculated by 3 major credit reporting bureaus – Transunion, Equifax, Experian. A score is typically calculated based how reliable you are on handling money that you borrow. 
 
If you just arrived in the US, it can be a bit difficult to get your first credit card. However, there are a few options:-
  1. Deserve (https://www.deserve.com/) offer credit cards specially for international students without any credit history. Their Deserve Edu has no monthly fee and also has no foreign transaction charges. To get a $30 bonus on opening your credit card, you can use the link → deserve.com/2CF23
  2.  Another option is to try to get a credit card with a bank with whom you have a checking account. It helps, if before doing that, you try to build some credit history. Credit history is also built when you pay your utility bills on time. This is a good way to build credit history. 
  3.  Discover and Bank of America have been known to approve international students with a little bit of credit history (~6 months)
 
 

Getting Documents Notarized:

 
If you are applying for a visa to another country or for many other reasons, you may need to notarize some documents. Note that most banks will notarize your documents for free. You can also get it done (possibly for a fee) at most FedEx and UPS stores. 
 
 
Personal Contacts by Department/School
Sayoni Mitra, PhD student, Chemistry Department
 
Aritra Ghosh, PhD student, Astronomy Department
 
Soham Jana, PhD Student, Statistics and Data Science