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10 Best American university campuses

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Alex in our American office, offers her take on the most visually-exciting campuses in America, which will make you go 'wow'.

One of the reasons international students choose the United States as their education abroad destination is the aesthetic variety.  From sea to shining sea, from purple majesties to fruited plains, the U.S. offers unique travel experiences to international students. These sceneries of American college campuses, featuring brick buildings and tree-lined pathways, are all offered in these schools below; but each offers their own characteristics unique to their region.

Here are the top ten best campuses:

10. University of Wisconsin – Madison: Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is known as the typical college town (more like a city!).  Its sprawling 900-acre campus is on two lakes, offering a multitude of stunning views and extracurricular activities all year long.  It is also a big sports school so athletes and athletes-at-heart will especially enjoy the atmosphere.

9. Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Though it is just southwest of Philadelphia, consider Swarthmore an oasis.  Its campus is filled with lush greenery. The Scott Arboretum teaches gardening classes using their lilacs and peonies, while the outdoor amphitheater surrounded by woods might be the prettiest spot to do homework ever.

8. Appalachian State University: Boone, North Carolina

Tucked in the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian State offers the feel of a rural, small school among 17,000 students. It ranks high in overall satisfaction and happiness, maybe because it is affordable. If you want to be surrounded by towering mountains and smiling students, this is the place to go.

7. University of Chicago: Chicago, Illinois

If the idea of being in a smaller school, but favor a city instead of the country, University of Chicago is for you. Chicago is a fun, young city to explore, and the school is located in one of the city’s prestigious districts, Hyde Park. The regal Gothic architecture fills the campus and walking around it is a true step back in time.

6. Wake Forest University: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

If you’ve seen movies or television shows highlighting the “quad” (an expansive green space) as the best place to hang out at a college campus, Wake Forest might have the best one. You can do homework on it, participate in the many social events held there, and take part in the tradition of “Rolling the Quad” when their Demon Deacons win a big game. Its Southern charm makes it a top destination for undergrad and grad students.

5. University of Notre Dame: South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame has one of the most beautiful campuses in the Midwest. Though it is a Catholic university and its buildings reflect opulent religious architecture, you don’t have to be Catholic to experience its beauty. Notre Dame’s football team is probably the school’s most famous legacy though. See one game and you will be hooked!

4. University of California – Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz, California

If after a long day of studying, all you want to do is relax, UC-Santa Cruz has the perfect beach for that. The school is nestled on the beaches of Monterey Bay; a scene that would give anyone California Dreamin’. Alternatively, go for a hike along the campus’ trails to blow off some steam and see the famed Redwood trees.

3. University of Colorado – Boulder: Boulder, Colorado

One of the best public universities in the country, UC-Boulder has a lot to offer for active students. If your definition of “active” is eating at the 24 hour dining hall or one of the surrounding cafes, they’ve got you covered. If your definition is slightly more physical, the campus is enveloped by mountains and has a lake. The feel is ruggedly beautiful, kind of like Colorado as a whole.

2. Elon University: Elon, North Carolina

Elon usually tops similar lists because of its unique, Southern style to traditional academia. You know your school is beautiful when it was made into a botanical garden in 2005, and when it’s starred in multiple movies. Do as the Southerners do and take in the campus slowly, experiencing every Greek column and willow tree at a comfortable pace.

1. Harvard University: Cambridge, Massachusetts

When you think of studying in the U.S., you think of Harvard. It is the premier destination for any student, here and abroad, and is the archetype of how US schools should be built. Harvard is steeped in history and tradition, from the brick halls to its famous alumni (or in some cases, dropouts!). Cambridge and nearby Boston offer college students fun places to go out to when you aren’t hitting the books. Consider yourself lucky to be able to attend this school!



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Proud Bentley University alum and lover of digital marketing, the beach, and Boston sports.


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