We all know our purpose: We are Humphrey fellows. We came here to refine our leadership, journalism skills and knowledge. We have weekly seminars and various activities in and out of Cronkite. We participate in the Global Leadership Forum in Washington DC and meet many experts for personal developments. We will do Professional Affiliation before finishing this program.
However, we also need to ‘live’ in Phoenix. Some fellows live with family in Phoenix. Dependent issues, especially that on kids can be one of the most important topics for Humphrey fellows, as well as for degree students with dependents. For this article, I want to discuss issues around kids and daily life.
Maybe many of Humphrey fellows’ kids will be kindergarteners or elementary school students. The most common opportunity will be ASU Preparatory Academy, which is near ASU downtown campus. It is also near Camden Copper Apartments, where some fellows live with their family now. According to Ga Hyeok Lee, whose daughter is at Kindergarten of ASU Prep, it is easy for parents to take their kids to school because the school is quite close to Cronkite building. It is also good for kids to go to Verde Park, which is right next to ASU Prep, after the class and to enjoy the beautiful sunset of the city.
For another choice, I can introduce Basis Phoenix Central, where my son is enrolled. It is a public elementary school by Basis.ed, a big charter school system originated in Arizona. It has various daily homeworks and reading assignments. Personally, my son got a lot of support from teachers there when he started fall semester. As a foreign student, he had a hard time adapting himself to a ‘foreign’ school for him. Teachers there kept waiting and encouraged my son to study slowly but steadily, thus he could overcome some barriers including language.
However, it has no facility for catering. Thus, parents need to send lunch boxes or order hot lunch. Hot lunch distribution is done by the parent association ‘boosters’, where I volunteer often. I volunteer once a week. The privilege of volunteers is that I can watch my son inside school.
It is important for a fellow to know what to play in advance. In the U.S., schools have many breaks for holidays (including elementary schools and ASU). U.S. elementary schools have many short-term vacations. For example, my son had Fall Break in October, Thanksgiving (5 days) in November, Winter Break (2 weeks) in December. February, March, and April have their own breaks, too. Thus, preparing for a vacation schedule for these breaks in advance is necessary for Humphrey fellows.
Downtown Phoenix, a.k.a. DTPHX, has some leisure points to enjoy with kids. One of them will be NBA game. Footprint Center, the stadium of Phoenix Suns, is within a 10-minute walk of Cronkite. We can buy cheap tickets under 20 dollars and enjoy the game of NBA players. For Major League games, Chase Field is the home stadium of the Arizona Diamondbacks. D-backs hosts an ASU event, which allows ASU students tickets with only 5 dollars. Many children enjoy those games with Humphrey fellow parents, too. DTPHX also has many free events for people, which can be a good chance for leisure.
In DTPHX, there are many parks. Margaret T. Hance Park, which is 1.2km from Cronkite, has a good playground for kids. I like to visit Civic Space Park which is in front of Cronkite and to play soccer with my son. At Civic Space Park, there are many events like cartoon movie watching and concerts.
I also like to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, and Phoenix Art Museum. Those places are accessible with Culture Pass, which can be issued at ASU library. It is free to students. On the first Friday of each month, many museums accept visitors for free. My recommendation is Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which accepts visitors from 5pm that day.
If you have the Roman Catholic religion, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Basilica is the right place. It is 5 minutes from Cronkite. Every Sunday 9am mass has CLOW (Children’s Liturgy of the Word) for children. You can refine your listening comprehension with the word of the Lord.
I think shopping is also one of the key issues for families. I think that living with lower standards than home country is inevitable for many Humphrey fellows. The U.S. is one of the most developed countries. Its GDP per capita is above $60,000. I feel that consumer prices are almost double except gasoline, thus I spare enough time to find good deals for shopping.
However, if I manage my costs well, I can enjoy good quality products and premium markets, too. Thus, we need to explore good markets continuously. In Phoenix, Costco Wholesale is one of the popular destinations. If you have Costco membership in your home country, you can use that membership here, too. Costco has cheap gasoline stations, which has one disadvantage for international members. We need to ask permission from the staff because our cards are not available for immediate gasoline purchase. I also enjoy visiting 99 cents only stores, which have various 99-cent-priced products. For snacks, my wife likes to visit Trader Joe’s and buy chocolate-coated pretzels. She also likes baguette at Sprout’s. When I buy clothes and shoes, I visit Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx.
Among nearby markets within walking distances from Cronkite, Fry’s is the most popular one for fellows. At Fry’s downtown phoenix, you can meet many Humphrey fellows easily. In my personal opinion (Fact Checkers – it is not a verified opinion), Fry’s has cheap liquors and beers. Sometimes it operates a sale event for beers: $16 for 30 beer cans. When I read the advertisement at home, I took a photo and spread it with other fellows. College students can enjoy a free 6 months Amazon prime membership. For exchange or refund of online purchases, the nearest UPS store from Cronkite school is at 125 N 2nd St Ste 110, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
Phoenix has a light rail, which runs from Phoenix to Tempe and Mesa. It is quite reliable. From Cronkite, you can go to Sky Harbor International Airport by light rail. One way ticket is $2. Fellows can buy 1-year discounted student tickets at ASU downtown library building because fellows are also non-degree graduate students. I do not like taking the bus because I had some experiences of waiting for more than 30 minutes to take a bus.
For car purchasing, the nearest Carmax is located in Tolleson City, 20km from Cronkite. There are many car dealers in the Camelback area, 9km north from Cronkite.
Phoenix has a strength for flight transportation, too. It is cheap to fly from Phoenix to California, Nevada, and Colorado. Popular destinations include Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and sometimes round-trip tickets are cheaper than $100 if you book well.