When deciding to go to Duquesne for grad school, I have to admit the city of Pittsburgh itself was a hard sell. Having spent my life in New Jersey/New England, I knew nothing more of Pittsburgh than its past identity as a polluted/gritty steel town.
However, once I started really looking into this unknown city, I discovered its renaissance, culture, and modern identity to be far from the soot laden industrial city I had imagined.
What I love about Pittsburgh:
Named most livable city/Affordable – Pittsburgh consistently ranks among the top most livable/affordable cities in the United States. Check out some more info – http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/29/cities-livable-pittsburgh-lifestyle-real-estate-top-ten-jobs-crime-income.html
People are friendly – I can’t quantify this but as an outsider I am constantly surprised at how friendly people are. Chit chat with a stranger on the bus or at a store is common place, and definitely foreign to me.
Some quirks about Pittsburgh:
My biggest beef with Pittsburgh deals with a couple different transportation issues:
Driving – “GPS signal Lost” is something you will need to get used to as you are learning to navigate the roads, tunnels, and bridges of Pittsburgh.
Taxis – They are few and far between and not cheap. Fortunately it isn’t too tough to walk around most places once you are in the neighborhood.
Bus Fairs – $2.25 per ride. More expensive than Boston or New York.
Sports Fans – I thought living in Red Sox Nation would be the most extreme sports fans I’d ever see in my life, that is until I moved to Pittsburgh. Be prepared to talk a lot of sports and if your allegiance is to another team you might want to put your jerseys in the back of the closet for a year.
So if you are thinking about Duquesne but hesitant on Pittsburgh my advice would be to come take a look. The city has some great offerings and has been nothing less than an ideal place for a grad student on a budget.