Gainesville is the largest city in north central Florida. Unlike most of the famous cities of Florida like Miami, Orlando or Daytona Beach, it is not located along the sea, but inside the land. As such it attracts less tourists, who after all come to Florida for the sand and the sun.
Gainesville is mainly focused on the university campus of the University of Florida. They have a good medical school and renowned laboratories in some medical fields. It is therefore a small student town which attracts people from all over the world who can enjoy its authentic and warm side. In addition, it is located in central Florida which allows you to visit several cities around.
Students and faculty can enjoy a great atmosphere in Gainesville. But In summer most of the students leave the campus, and the town is much quieter. It seems that during the school year there is a very big student atmosphere with lots of partying in the fraternities and evening in the campus bars.
Would we recommend the city and the university of Gainesville to students? Yes of course! The University of Florida at Gainesville is one of the biggest campuses in the USA, the atmosphere is really unique and it will be a huge experience to live there for a full year. The buildings are very pretty and everything is in red brick. There is also a large football team of which all the locals are very proud. The downtown area is very small and atypical with a lot of nice places but you quickly go around.
How is food in this Gainesville you may ask. There are lots of fastfood restaurants, Mexican foodrestaurants and plenty of food trucks too, as well as restaurants with vegan and vegetarian options. It is still very high in calories and it is difficult to resist the many temptations and not to gain weight. However there are a lot of supermarkets to make your own meals.
How difficult is it to find good accommodation in Gainesville
It is not especially difficult at the end of the school period as a lot of student accommodation becomes available. You can go through the Craiglist website to look for offers. Also there are plenty of student residences that offer rental contracts for one year. Or you can also check Westgate’s Florida staycation deals, and they may have some in Gainesville.
Regarding the cost of living in Gainesville, it is much cheaper than the other city of Florida (2-3 times cheaper than Miami). It takes around $500/month for accommodation, $300/ month for food and buses are free for students. The most economical way to get to Gainesville from most cities is usually to fly to Gainesville Airport with a stopover in Atlanta, then to take a shuttle or a bus.
For foreign students the campus offers many English lessons for all levels. As there are also communities of foreigners, it is very easy to integrate and make friends.
Regarding any cultural visits, the town has a lot to offer. The Florida Natural History Museum , the Butterffly Museum, the Art Museum or the Swamp are among the attractions that will keep residents busy.