One of the best places to live serve as a fellow –Boston. But it can be a nightmare if you are caught in the middle of all the moving parts – the weather, the language and the quiet seperatedness of everybody.  

As an Atlas Corps fellow serving in Massachusetts, it took me more than a month to finally adjust to the area. The culture was a shock, but, thanks to the community at my host org, it was not much of a stretch to cope and then adjust (even to the colds!). Trust me, it can be tough to deal with settling into your new work environment and tackling the colds, for instance. Or, to get caught up for just days or weeks (if you are lucky), or for arduous months searching for a place to stay.

I arrived here in Boston, MA during the best time of the year: summer, with everything green, bright and warm. Perhaps this and the loving community at my host org are the two most important factors that quickly cut short the time length I otherwise would have had to endure the stress and shock.

With a fine and warm weather, I wasn’t immediately bothered with getting warm cloths, jackets or boots. Looking back to the past couple months, I can safely say I was blessed to have had friends, colleagues and supervisors who always gave or recommended things for me to get, try out or plan for. In the end, these advices, gifts and the times they shared with me helped me properly adjust to the seasons and plan for the coming winter.

Of all the recommendations and things I got or tried, the following are my winning choices so far. These will be useful if you are posted here or visiting us.

1. Get Warm, in and out.
It is no jive: the Boston truly is COLD. Very cold. So, get warm! Take the warm seasons to get warm clothing at a price. If you are here during the summer days, it is best to find shops for great gears for the fall and winter days ahead. This was the first advice I got from everyone; get warm garbs and gears. Arm your self to your nose with warm clothing. The cold can surprise you. Don’t be that brave.

To save money, search for the good-as-new versions first. This app turned to be very useful in getting deals such as a space heater (you may need one), a new jacket for less than half the actual price. Also check out Facebook’s marketplace. You can find great things there for cheap.


2. Learn
As a fellow, one of your goals should be to learn; learn by working; learn by observing; learn the curture; learn from Atlas Corps’ diverse community. One other thing you should consider in Boston is to take short courses. Well, this is a global need, so you won’t be surprised I mentioned it here.

Take short courses, especially in office skills you need. One of the skills I found I needed was the proper use of Microsoft Excel! Surprised? Well, don’t be. You see, I know Excel, but not to the functional level I found it used at my host organization. It was an immediate skill I needed to upgrade.

For your short courses, get some free premium courses at Class Central. Also consider buying good courses from platforms such as LinkedIn Learning (I use LinkedIn and can say their courses are very detailed and lucid compared to some other sources. My take was to invest at least $50/month on learning something to make me more efficient.


3. See the city!
Boston has loads of nice spots, museums, parks for all seasons. You cannot live here and not experience this city! I recommend you plan a small monthly budget to see this lovely city.

Hopefully, these tips will help make your Boston experience a robust one.