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So you fancy living the American Dream for a while? That’s the spirit! The USA is the most popular country in the world for international students, and with good reason. It has a high academic standard and a great international reputation. But there’s more to it than that.
Perhaps you’re curious, and not totally sure you’d like to study in the USA just yet. Well to address that, we’ve dived into the academic world and done the hard research for you! Here are 6 simple reasons why you might want to think about studying in the USA:
The USA is home to some of the world’s best education systems, particularly at college level, be it at undergraduate, Master’s or PhD. If you need proof of that high standard, just take note of the world university rankings. Of the top 20 highest ranked universities on the planet, the USA accounts for 70%!
Higher education in the USA is also renowned for its innovation as well as its excellence. Universities are very well funded in general, and students have access to cutting edge technology and learning facilities.
The USA’s college system isn’t only a small club of elite and frankly, expensive colleges either. With over 4,000 institutions nationwide, you’re spoiled for choice.
2. American college degrees stand out on your CV...
...Especially if you’re a non-US resident. Having a CV, or a résumé -- since we’re talking all things USA -- that stands out from the crowd will be hugely important once you graduate and enter the working world.
Not only will a degree from a US university tell potential employers that you’ve received a world-class education, it will also say a lot about you as an individual. They’ll understand that you possess not just a fluent standard of English, but a strong character too.
Think about it, you’ll have lived and studied in another country, in a new culture, with another language, while still in your late teens or early twenties. That’ll speak volumes about how adaptable, ambitious and resourceful you are.
When you study in the USA, you have time to choose what life path you’d like to follow. This is because you don’t have to choose your major, i.e. your main degree subject, until the end of your second year. So, for your first two years, you can elect to study a whole range of different courses. In effect, you can “try them on for size”, and see which fit best.
As well as this, the vast majority of US universities require students to take core classes on general education. These courses are known as “liberal arts”, and fields of study range from the humanities to social and natural sciences. The result of this is that you’ll emerge from university with a well-rounded education, as well as a specialist, major subject of study.
This elective approach helps to lighten the stress that comes with choosing a degree, and being tied to it, before even entering university. When you apply to a university, you’re free to tell them that you haven’t yet settled on a major. Alternatively, if you do already know what course you want to follow, you can still branch out and explore other subjects and even elect to complete a double major. That’s one degree but with two areas of specialization -- the equivalent of a joint honours degree in the UK, Ireland, Canada or Australia.
This is a fairly simple, but very important one. As the most popular country for international university study, colleges in the USA generally have fantastic systems in place to support foreign students. The majority of universities have dedicated departments for international student support.
These bodies can help you refine your English, adapt to the culture, provide assistance with visas, and offer financial support. On top of this, they can point you in the right direction with regards to career support and even student counselling.
You might find that fitting into the culture is easier than you’d think, thanks to the incredible diversity within college campuses, and within a great portion of the USA as a country. People come from all walks of life to study and work in the USA. If you’re feeling homesick, you usually won’t have to look too far to find people who share the same nationality, culture or religion as you.
While we can’t hide from the fact that racial and cultural intolerance is rearing its ugly head in some corners of the US, the majority is an incredibly accepting, tolerant and progressive country. This cultural tolerance holds most true in colleges, which have long been liberal, socially progressive strongholds. If you have any concern about the diversity of a potential university, it would be worth your while to do a little research.
6. Campus life
And finally, let’s finish on a BIG positive: Campus life in the USA. Maybe it’s all those movies and TV shows talking, but there’s just something unique about American college campus life. You see, your university experience is about more than academia. It’s about personal growth, discovery, love, friendships, laughter, and all those other fantastic, romantic, Hollywood-driven notions.
In the US, many students live on campus, or very close to it. This helps foster a great vibrancy and bond between you and your fellow students. And where there are hundreds and thousands of young students, there is a bustling social scene. You’ll be able to take the chance to join clubs and societies, from debating to dancing, writing to design. This is a great way to make friends, and even boost your career options by getting valuable experience.
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