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Reasons both Urban and Rural Minnesota will Make You Smile

Move for America Fellows learn and live all across Minnesota, from bustling cities to small hamlets and in every setting in between. We know it can be a little intimidating to be uncertain of where you'll end up, but we also know every single one of our placements holds opportunities for joy and excitement outside the job itself. Now, we share that excitement and the certainty it brings with all of you. Here is just a tiny sample of why wherever you land with us will be meaningful and enjoyable, no matter the environment. For simplicity, we'll refer to both urban and rural areas here, though Minnesota's towns are varied, each one beautifully unique. Still, we hope this community overview is helpful in thinking about the Fellowship in general, or a specific matching opportunity we may have offered you!



The Pros of Urban Living

 Travel and Transport

Cities have often done their best to provide various ways of traveling through streets that may sometimes be packed and busy. So besides things like freeway access, they also will often have bike paths, pedestrian routes, and public transportation to give you some additional choices and thus, more freedom in getting wherever you need to go for work or play!

Many, many options:

From restaurants and shops to concert halls, medical facilities and afternoon classes in everything from spin-cycling to spinning wool, cities are often filled with various options for any activity, necessity or food craving (also sometimes a necessity, if we’re honest). Sometimes this choice can make things a little overwhelming, but it can also be comforting to know that whatever you’re looking for likely exists within a city’s bounds.

Everything in Close Quarters

Also sometimes overwhelming but potentially very, very valuable, living in a city means living close to a lot of things you may need or desire. The streets may be busy, but depending on your location, you probably won’t have to travel very far to find literally anything you might wish, practical or otherwise. Stop by the cat café for your morning coffee, pick up a pharmacy prescription, and go shopping for a computer keyboard all in one trip—maybe even on the same street.

This close proximity to many people and many things also means there’s naturally going to be a lot of connections and shared experiences. More people means more shared spaces, and these shared spaces can easily become moments in time to get to know someone new, learn a little or make a friend. Though many find this aspect of city life somewhat crowded, it can also be a great asset and a wonderful place to find community in unexpected places–a weekly gathering at the cat cafe, perhaps?


Why Rural Life Shines


Close-knit Connectivity


Smaller towns have fewer people. This means more opportunity to know and be known. Games and media like to portray rural areas as spots where everyone knows everything about everyone, and while we wouldn’t go that far, it’s definitely true that these communities don’t hold many complete strangers.


Less Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise!


When you get large groups of people together, plus their cars and other infrastructure, things get really noisy, really fast. If the Grinch’s classic complaint strikes a chord with you, perhaps you’d do well in a more rural home, as they’re generally quite a bit quieter due to less traffic. Less traffic, of course, also means an easier, more peaceful time on the roads—a win win!


Lower Cost of Living


Much as we often might wish otherwise, our choices and lives are sometimes impacted by money. In this case, rural Minnesota will give you more of a bang for your buck—housing is on average almost $400 cheaper, just to name one example. This MPR article has some more info if you’re curious about digging deeper.


What You’ll Find no Matter What

We can compare and contrast all day, but there are certain things you’re sure to find at any location. While we’d love to chalk this up to Minnesota being fabulous—which it certainly is—this is because people, in all their wonderful complexity, inhabit both kinds of locale. We seek connection, meaning, beauty, fun, ease of living, and entertainment, and so, wherever possible, we are going to make those things happen for our communities. Thus, you can always expect the following, in one form or another:


Community-centered Experiences


Be it in the form of parks, community centers, museums, festivals, or any other number of beautiful forms, communities love to talk about themselves and each other, the people who call them home, the regions that they help to influence, and the travelers they host. There will always be places to talk, listen and learn about where you are from people who care and places which remember. You’ll also likely always be able to find connections to whatever culture you may be a part of, whether it’s in community meetings, cozy restaurants or big, broad events. There is a myth that cities have more of these experiences, but this can’t be further from the truth.


Readiness for New Connections


In every place, there is a potential for growth, for the start of something new. If you somehow didn’t find something important to you wherever you settled, what are the chances you could start it for yourself and any others coming after you? Pretty high, if you ask us. Connection is always something we can build, wherever we are.


Small Businesses


We’ve all had that moment, the one where we find that little thrift shop with the awesome stock, the hole-in-the-wall Bahn mi spot, the bookstore with the shelves that smell that one, particular way with the super helpful person at the front desk. Small businesses thrive all across the state for your perusing pleasure, waiting for the right people to come along and fall in love with them. Will one of those people be you? WE hope so!

Curious About your Fellowship prospects yet?

You’re in luck! Head over to our hosts page and take a look at all the amazing places that Fellows are serving this year. We hope to introduce you to one of them soon! If you would like to be a part of this work, you can subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social media below, host a Fellow, or make a donation.

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