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The Graphic Design Student’s Guide to Studying Abroad in New York City

Ever thought about studying graphic design abroad in New York City? Well you can do that with Shillington’s graphic design course. The Big Apple is an amazing city to study graphic design, with some of the world’s best culture right on your doorstep and incredible restaurants, architecture, live music, and a whole lot more to boot. It’s also home to some top design studios and agencies, making New York a perfect place to study graphic design.

Want to make your dreams a reality? Here’s our guide to learning graphic design in New York City. How to get here, where to live and how to get around, with some tips from local designers thrown in for good measure.

Shillington Study Abroad Program NYC

Shillington’s New York campus is located at 315 Madison Avenue, right in the heart of Manhattan. The campus is a two minute walk from the world famous Grand Central station and the New York City Subway also has stops close by at 5th Avenue and Bryant Park. The campus’s central location means that it’s super accessible from across the Five Boroughs on public transport. What better place to study graphic design than on the iconic Madison Avenue surrounded by the skyscrapers of Manhattan—you can even see the Empire State Building from campus.

What else is great is that the Shillington New York fees are the same if you’re an international student as they are for domestic students—so it won’t cost you any extra to study with Shillington if you’re coming from abroad.

New York Visa Information

M-1 Student Visa holders, Canadian and Bermudian citizens can join our 3 month full-time course. The United States offers the M-1 Student Visa for Shillington, which allows you to live in New York while studying, including one month before and after the course.

First, read about the application process to receive your New York Student Visa. You need to be enrolled as a full-time student at an approved institution (Shillington!), have proof of sufficient funds to self-support during the course and promise to maintain your permanent residence abroad.

Ready to get started? Apply to Shillington online first, select the M-1 Visa option, pay the $1000 deposit and we’ll be in touch with the next steps, starting with the I-20 certificate form. If you start early, it’s a straight-forward process that can make your New York dream come true.

What to do Around the New York City Campus


Coffee is a daily necessity in the city that never sleeps—and there’s no shortage of places to grab a cup of joe near the Shillington New York campus. The iconic Pershing Square Central Café is a 2 minute walk away so head there if you want to feel like you’re in the lead role of a movie, living your best NYC life.

Head of New York Cathy Sison recommends Australian run coffee shop Taylor Street Coffee and the excellently named Cafe Grumpy inside Grand Central Station. New York teacher Thiago Eichner also suggests the classic Blue Bottle Coffee if you’re looking for somewhere for your coffee break.

If you’re on a budget, Cathy put in a good word for Matto, which she says is the cheapest coffee in NYC. You can get coffee and a pastry for just $2.50—breakfast sorted.


Being in central Manhattan, there’s a load of amazing culture right on Shillington New York’s doorstep. The world class collections of the MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Met and the Whitney are all within walking distance of the studio. Thiago also recommends the New York Public Library, which is around 4 minutes from campus. He says it’s “a building you want to visit—not only for the books, but for the stunning architecture”. Cathy also adds that the steps of the library are great for a spot of lunch in the summer.

If you’re studying in the summer, the beautiful green of Bryant Park is just around the corner from Shillington’s New York studio. Perfect for a lunch break. Thiago suggests heading over to the recently opened Summit One Vanderbilt—which hasan observation deck that stretches across floors 91 through 93, offering incredible views of the city.

Students at Shillington New York are also able to benefit from the incredible culture right on their doorstep during the course. The teachers often organize class excursions to local institutions, like the graphic designer’s dream that is Poster House.

New York being New York has some of the biggest names in graphic design calling the city home. So whilst you’re studying abroad with us, dream big and imagine yourself working at Pentagram, &Walsh, Mother, Wolff Olins, Interbrand or Superunion. There’s also stacks of amazing smaller agencies, such as Super Keen, Want Studio, Lovably, Wade and Leta and Studio Lotta Nieminem. 

After Class

When studying abroad at Shillington New York, you may want to head out for a drink with your classmates after a day in the studio. There are plenty of amazing options around campus. For cocktails, Thiago recommends secretive speakeasy The Campbell, which oozes 1920s glamor. Thiago’s fellow New York teacher Kym Rohman also recommends The Raines Law Room at The William for a chilled out place to grab some mixed drinks without a reservation.

If you’re looking for beer, Kym also recommends you look no further than the Other Half Taproom at the Rockefeller Center—where New York’s top brewery pours cold pints from 12 different taps.

How to be a New Yorker

Where to Live in New York City

New York is obviously a big city so there are lots of amazing neighborhoods to pick from so we thought we would narrow it down to help you make a decision. For ease of access to campus, you’re going to want to head to two boroughs: Brooklyn or Manhattan itself.

Terminally cool Brooklyn itself is one of the most populated counties in the country so you’re best to aim for Williamsburg, Bushwick or Bedford—Stuyvesant (known locally simply as Bed-Stuy) as these have great connections to the Subway to get you to campus.

If you’d rather live in Manhattan, then the Lower East Side, The West Village or Chinatown are all amazing neighborhoods, all within a short trip to campus. All three are very cool and very “New York” so they make a perfect place to live whilst you study.


Subletting is a massive part of rental accommodation in New York. If you’re studying on Visa, then it’s the perfect way to find somewhere to live for a short period of time and not have to worry about things like furniture and kitchenware—most sublet properties have everything you need included.

Where to Look for Accommodation

There’s a few places which are good for finding apartments or rooms in New York: Roomi, Spareroom, Nooklyn, Craigslist and Facebook groups should be your first port of call. Make sure you’re wary of scammers when looking around though!

How to Get Around in New York

Despite being the biggest city in the US, New York is surprisingly easy to get around. The New York Subway system makes travel around the city easy. It runs throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, and up to the Bronx in the North and Queens in the East. Most New Yorkers use CityMapper to find the quickest way to get from A to B.

The easiest way to pay for the Subway is pick yourself up a Metrocard—these can be pay-per-ride or unlimited (for either 7 or 30 days), with the latter being the more flexible and cheaper option.Or you can simply tap-and-go on your phone. A single Subway ride will cost you $2.75.

If you’re in New York during the warmer months, the quickest and coolest way to get around is to jump on a Citi Bike. These rentable bikes can be found all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx so you’re never too far from a set of two wheels. Annual membership is from $15.42 a month or you can jump on a single ride for $3.99 or a whole day for $15.

Thiago told us: “Going for a bike ride—or a scoot ride— is one of my favorite things to do in the city! The city is covered by bike lanes and there are some really special paths, such as the West Side Highway, the crossing of the Williamsburg Bridge, or a ride through Central Park.”

Williamsburg dwellers are also able to hop on one of the NYC Ferry Routes to get to campus! A one way ticket is the same price as the Subway at $2.75 and the views of the Manhattan skyline from the water is a really great way to start your day.

Finally, just walk! New York City is a very walkable city and, if you’re only there for a few months, it’s a great way to see lots of neighborhoods that you might otherwise miss.

Tips From New York City Locals

You’ll have more than likely heard New Yorkers talk about their local bodegas. There’s a good reason for this—bodegas will become your best friend. They’re a super convenient place to grab a coffee, pick up some snacks or a bagel or sandwich for your lunch.

You’re obviously going to want to have your phone ready—for finding your way around and for Instagram Stories to make your friends back home jealous. T-Mobile is the best bet for this—they can set you up with a prepaid local number so you’ll be able to use your phone on the go the whole time you’re Stateside.

Thiago added: “The Williamsburg Bridge is a perfect referential point to my NYC. I love spending time at Domino Park, at the Williamsburg Waterfront, admiring the great views of Manhattan and probably eating a sammie from Dépanneur (they are delicious!)”

New York City is also home to some amazing book shops—and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bookshop. Cathy put together a quick tour of the best the city has to offer for us: the Morgan Library & Museum in Murray Hill, the Rizzoli Bookstore in NoMad, McNally Jackson Books (which has stores in Nolita, Seaport, Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg) and Sweet Pickle Books, a used book and pickle store on the Lower East Side.

The Benefits of Studying Abroad in NYC at Shillington Education

Studying graphic design abroad in New York City with Shillington is an amazing opportunity with countless benefits! First of, you’ll be studying in the middle of one of the best cities in the world, with some of the best museums, galleries and architecture right on the doorstep. 

The melting pot that is New York City also has so much to offer you over your three months of study: delicious food, excellent shopping experiences and a whole lot more. Not to mention, NYC is home to some of the world’s best graphic designers and their studios—so there will be plenty of networking opportunities at events, talks and more. There’s a lot going on.

But don’t just take our word for it, you’ll be following in the footsteps of other Shillington graduates who have taken the leap and moved to New York to study graphic design. You can read about their experiences, here:

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not—this could be you. Apply now and you could be living out your dreams of studying graphic design in New York City before you know it.

Artwork by Shillington’s Head New York, Cathy Sison.

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