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THE USA: Destination Guides - Must read

What does the USA offer international students?

Are you interested in the USA for your studies? Look no further. We've got you covered.

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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 probably heard of the leading universities in the USA such as Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University. If not during your research, then in the news or conversations with friends and family. These institutions have a major influence on higher education and research, meaning that their degrees are highly respected. However, it’s no easy feat to get accepted into one of these universities as they are extremely competitive and grade expectations are high.



Luckily, there are many other universities and colleges in the USA, 5,300 to be exact! We’ll spare you a long list of universities here, but you can see which institutions came out on top with our summary of the QS World University Rankings 2021  and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, and you can start browsing for universities in the USA using our search tool.


Want top tips on applying to study in the US?


Unrivalled teaching

The USA has gained a reputation for providing high-quality programmes. A few subjects in particular continually catch the attention of international and prospective students in the USA. These include law, business, engineering and computer science. Why are these subjects so highly esteemed in the USA?


If we take law as an example, the USA offers excellent teaching at over 200 law schools with opportunities to gain work experience at top firms and training programmes. Some of these schools have been teaching students for more than 200 years. This wealth of experience in popular subject areas is one of the many reasons why international students choose the USA for their studies.



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Famous university culture

When you think of university life in the USA, what springs to mind? It might be fraternities, sororities, cheerleading and football games. All of these are exclusive to student life in the country and makes the USA an intriguing and appealing place to study. However, the USA is a vast country with 50 states and so of course there are many different types of campus environments.



For example, sporting events are hugely important to life at many US institutions such as the University of Florida, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alabama. Institutions such as these might welcome 100,000 spectators to matches in their own stadiums. However, there are plenty of other clubs and societies to join which don’t involve rigorous physical activity such as debating, religious groups and theatre clubs.


Diverse student lifestyles

Universities in the USA can vary as much as each state differs from the other. Thus, there are several factors to consider when choosing where to study in America. Have you considered the type of climate you prefer? Weather can be a great starting point when choosing a university as you start to consider the type of student experience you want. Universities in Florida, Miami, California and San Francisco all offer plenty of sunshine and an outdoors lifestyle. Whereas universities based in New York, Colorado and Minnesota experience cold weather and snow at certain points of the year.


Similarly, cities and towns differ widely depending on where in the USA the university is based. For example, a student living in New York will have a pretty different experience to a student studying in Iowa or Texas. Major cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami have plenty to offer students from museums, art galleries to beaches and parks. Alternatively, you have the option of living in more rural locations such as the main campus of Cornell University which sits within 745 acres of land, surrounded by waterfalls and a nearby lake.



Academic flexibility

A unique and appealing part of the education system in the USA is that you don’t have to define your degree at the beginning unlike in many other countries. So, you can choose a field of study, but you can also incorporate other subjects or topics until you decide what you want to major in.


You will usually have two years to decide on a major in which time you can explore other interests and find out what you want to do. To break this down, a major is a subject you will focus the majority of your time on with the option to minor in something else to complement your overall degree.  


Natural beauty

The USA is home to many wonders of the world that includes the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Death Valley and Mount Rushmore. With incredibly varied environments, you’re spoilt for choice in the USA. From towering skyscrapers and tropical rainforests to vast deserts and impressive mountain ranges, you’re truly spoilt for choice. Want to see a grizzly bear in the wild? Or take a gondola down the artificial canals of Las Vegas? The USA is unique and eccentric by nature, with plenty to experience and gain from your time there.




It just wouldn’t be right to neglect food when describing the USA. Notorious for super-sized meals, you won’t be left feeling hungry while eating out in America. Several states in the USA claim to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger and other popular dishes include nachos, hotdogs, pizza and meatloaf.


As an international student, you might find the food quite different from what you’re used to, but trying new cuisines is a fun part of studying abroad and getting to know the culture. However, if you need a taste of home, you’re sure to find lots of other food options.


Entrepreneurial spirit

American’s are often cited as having an individualist approach to work with a “do it yourself” attitude. This is reflected in the strong work ethic that is expected across all fields. In fact, workers receive just ten days of paid holiday after 12 months of service. This is comparably less than other countries where employees typically receive 25 to 30 days of paid leave such as in the UK and Australia.


While this working culture in the USA may not suit everyone, innovation and the motivation for success are strong driving forces for many people in the country. This can be seen in the many numbers of lucrative global companies which were started in the USA.


For example, Facebook and Google originated in the USA, both of which have transformed the internet and how we communicate on a global scale, influencing the lives of many around the world. Birthplace of Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the American dream, the USA is a dominant and powerful force within business, technology and entertainment. Find out more about working in the U.S. as a student.


Want to study in the USA? Use our course matcher tool to find a subject and university based on your grades and preferences. While you research, stay up to date with the latest international student news in the USA.

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'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.

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