ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country

Our cookies

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience with personalized content, relevant ads and enhanced functionalities. By allowing all you agree to the use of cookies as per the cookie policy and remember you can manage your preferences anytime.
The basics
THE USA: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Boston

Boston is one of the more famous and well-known cities in the USA. It has a reputation as an energetic and thriving city, where opportunity and potential meet. We give you an in-depth look at this popular US city.

share image

One of the oldest cities in the USA and the capital city of the state of Massachusetts, Boston is a vibrant city full of culture, history, and sports. One of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country, Boston is packed with entertainment options. So, if you’re hoping to live in the USA and want a dynamic student experience, studying in Boston should be top of your list.


What is Boston like?

Location and demographics

Situated on the USA’s north-east coast, Boston is a city famed for its old-meets-new vibe. Cobbled streets and glass-fronted high-rises are side by side with picturesque parkland and ocean views. With its warm summers and cold winters, in Boston, you’ll get the best of every season.  


One of the most innovative and economically powerful cities in the world, it’s unsurprising that Boston’s population is constantly growing. Currently home to 690,000 people, the city is the 6th most diverse in the USA.


Get familiar with the different types of American accents.


Culture and history

Boston is a proud revolutionary city, having played a significant role in the American War of Independence, perhaps most famously during the Boston Tea Party. You’ll find plenty of references to this heritage around the city in the form of museums and monuments.


These days Boston is a hub of culture, and of course, the world-famous Museum of Fine Arts is unmissable. But there are plenty of other art galleries and museums to explore too. Boston also hosts many festivals every year. Consider joining celebrations for Thanksgiving, Black History Month, St Patrick’s Day and many more.


The city has been home to several residents of note over the years. Living in Boston, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of the likes of politician Malcolm X, poet Sylvia Plath and author Edgar Allan Poe.


Explore what the USA has to offer international students.



What universities are in Boston?

Studying in the USA, you’ll find most cities are associated with many universities and colleges. Here, we list some of the most popular schools in Boston, but it’s worth researching others to ensure you find your perfect fit.


Cross the Charles River and head north of Boston to the adjacent city of Cambridge to find two of the most highly acclaimed universities in the world:


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked in first place by the QS World University Rankings 2023. This elite Ivy League school is a private institution with global reach in the technology and science fields. Notable alumni include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and businesswoman Andrea Wong.
  • Harvard University is another private institution in the Ivy League, ranked in joint second place by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022. The oldest university in the USA, notable alumni include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, actress Natalie Portman and author Margaret Atwood, in addition to eight presidents and 79 Nobel laureates.


Boston is also home to the following academic institutions of note:


  • Boston University – private university ranked 62 by THE 2022
  • Northeastern University – private university, ranked 168 by THE 2022
  • University of Massachusetts Boston – public university ranked at 234 in the U.S. News & World Report 2022 (UNSWR).


If you’re prepared to travel a little out of the city, esteemed universities near Boston include:


  • Brandeis University – a private university in Waltham, private university ranked at 44 in the USNWR.
  • Clark University – a private university in Worcester, ranked 97 in the USNWR 2022.
  • Tufts University – a private university in Medford, ranked 172 by THE 2022.
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell – a public university in Lowell, ranked 176 in the USNWR.


Brown University, ranked at number 63 by QS 2023, is another option for students willing to travel a bit further from Boston. Situated in the coastal city of Providence in Rhode Island, Brown University is an Ivy League institution with notable alumni, including actress Emma Watson, entrepreneur John D Rockefeller Jr. and John Krasinski.


If you are hoping to apply to a Boston community college to obtain an associate degree, there are a few options to consider. These include Roxbury Community College and Bunker Hill Community College.


Do you want to know more about the top universities in the USA?


What does Boston offer students?

What is transport like in Boston?

Pleasingly for your budget, Boston is one of the safest and most pedestrian and bicycle-friendly cities in the USA. But as a student, there will always be times when you want to use public transport.


Boston is well-connected by bus, subway, and commuter rail, meaning you won’t struggle to get around the city quickly. Tickets can be bought when boarding. If you travel regularly, purchase a travel pass to access discounts. Consider using a Semester Pass Program if your university or college participates in the scheme, as these provide significant discounts.


Boston is also home to one international airport and only a short drive from two smaller regional airports, meaning you’ll be well-connected to the USA and the rest of the world.


Read more on the top student cities in the USA.


What about entertainment and food?

When it comes to food, Boston has international renown. From its world-famous seafood to its mouth-watering cream pies, you won’t be able to get enough. The city is packed with modern and exciting eateries, from delicious food trucks to exclusive restaurants. Enjoy a tasty meal in the sea air or sample one of the city’s famous brunches. Whatever your choice, you won’t be disappointed.


Boston is a vibrant city with great art and music scene, meaning you can enjoy live music in almost any setting, from huge music halls to intimate jazz bars. There are also several festivals annually, meaning there’s always something new to see and do.


Don’t miss out on discovering the things you must do when studying in the USA.


Are there public services for students in Boston?

Studying in Boston, you’ll have access to key resources at every level to help you make sense of the higher education system and ease your transition into living in the USA.


The US government provides free information to assist international students. Access student resources via the US Department of State website. Or explore financial aid options across Massachusetts with Education USA’s helpful tool.


Your university’s international office will be able to assist you with any queries or concerns you have, from visa issues to settling into life in Boston.


Get more information on how to apply for a student visa in the USA.


How much does it cost to live in Boston?

The general cost of Boston

Boston is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive cities in the USA. The cost of living in the city is high, so you’ll need to prepare an effective budget to make the most of your student experience.


Discover the student living costs in the USA.


Student budget

As an international student studying in the USA, there will be several costs you’ll have to settle upfront including, health insurance and visa fees. Once you have paid these, Harvard University suggests an average annual budget of USD 23,300 to USD 27,500.


Get insights into the cost of tuition in the USA


What is the accommodation like in Boston?

In the USA, most students choose to live on campus for the stereotypical American student experience. Some universities insist on it. You’ll find that accommodation costs vary widely between institutions, but the benefit of living on-campus is that bills are usually included in your rent.


For an estimate of accommodation costs in Boston, Ivy League schools in the area typically charge in the region of USD 12,000 per year. This amount does not include meals.


Need to find out how to apply to study in the USA.


What are the main attractions in Boston?

Boston has plenty of attractions perfect for students. If a day outside is your idea of fun, then this city is perfect. Wander along the waterfront on the vibrant HarborWalk, linking together many of the city’s historical and cultural sites. Look out to sea and you might even be lucky enough to spot whales in the bay.


For keen shoppers, visit Boston’s huge glass-covered arcades or pop into some of its boutique stores. Head to Downtown Crossing to satisfy all your shopping, eating and cultural wants and needs. In the summer and autumn months, you’ll even be able to sample delicious local produce at one of the city’s famous markets.



With pro teams in NFL, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer, sports fans will have plenty to enjoy living in Boston. As a proud sporting city, there are lots of facilities available, so you can get involved in the action yourself. Why not sign up for the city’s world-famous marathon or try your hand at some water sports?


Boston’s nightlife has something for everyone, whether you prefer a cultural evening of theatre or partying in a nightclub. Pop into a pub for a quiet drink, a social night in, or simply order a takeaway to eat with friends.

Study in the USA


'Study in the USA' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the USA into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook

Search for a course


Must read

article Img

Common cultural misconceptions about the USA

A global business and cultural powerhouse, America is a key international hub for visitors, professionals and students alike. The USA has not only been hugely influential of global pop culture, but continues to significantly impact international trends of economic growth and technological innovation. Unfortunately, the nation is also subject a number of damaging stereotypes. We’ve laid out some of the key, and perhaps most distasteful misconceptions about US

article Img

The must do things for international students in the US

With a population of 382 million and 50 diverse states, the U.S. is an expansive country with a huge variety of different cultures and attractions. However, this means that it can be hard to know where to begin if you choose to study in the USA. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at some of the top sights and experiences for international students to give you a clearer idea of what you should do while studying in the USA.   Eat American food

article Img

What does the USA offer international students?

The USA continues to attract the largest number of international students year after year, now welcoming more than one million to its world-renowned universities and colleges. In addition to its prestigious reputation for academic excellence, the USA has plenty of unique experiences and opportunities to offer international students. Here we explore what exactly makes the USA such a desirable study location.   World-leading universities You’ve

article Img

The top 5 best student cities in the USA

Part of the experience of studying abroad is getting to know your new environment and culture. Picking a good university is obviously important and part of that decision will be influenced by where the institution is located. If you’re like most students you’ll want a vibrant student life outside of the classroom, with things to keep you active and engaged. With lots of international students selecting the USA as their go-to destination, we give you details about