Things to Know Before Studying in the USA
The USA is, undoubtedly, one of the largest and most desired study abroad destinations for students across the world. The USA’s education system is deemed the most multifaceted and versatile and is often synonymous with a world-class education system and presently, about 30 per cent of all international students in the world are studying in the USA.
Are you contemplating studying in the USA? If yes, then before you start planning further, here are a few most important things you ought to know about the USA, ‘the land of opportunities’.
The Third Largest Country by Population
As per the latest records, the USA is the third largest country by population. Its population is 327.16 million with New York City being the most populous city (8.5 million) and California (39.5 million) and Texas (27 million) being the most populous states. Although this is nothing new for Indian students as India overtook the USA in this aspect, it also shows the popularity of the country among people looking for quality education, work and life.
One of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, the culture of the USA has influenced the world. Likewise, almost every culture from around the world has influenced the USA’s culture. And it is for this reason the USA is often referred to as the “melting pot”, for various indigenous cultures of the world becomes a part of the American culture and adds their own distinct spiciness to it. And as an International student, one must take the full advantage of all things that they can learn from this multicultural hub.
The Education System
The education system in the USA has a lot to offer to the international students. You might be overwhelmed by the huge array of choices being provided – a wide array of schools, education programs and locations etc. You can also avail the wide variety of choices and opportunities offered by the institutions. The option to pursue major and minor courses parallelly is another bonus that students should take full advantage of to expand their learning spectrum.
The climate of the USA varies widely. In the plains and southern states, you experience hot and humid summers. However, it is very hot and dry in the southwest.
Winters in the north, northeast, plains states, and in the western mountains are quite cold with sub-freezing temperatures. You might even experience heavy snow sometimes. So be prepared for the brutally chilled weather! But, on the other hand, winters in the southern states are mild.
There is no official language of the USA as such. English is somewhat spoken and understood by about ninety percent of the U.S. population. Almost every language in the world is spoken in the USA; along with Spanish, German, Chinese and French.
However, when it comes to official works and businesses, only English is used. And this is one aspect that Indian students do not have to worry about, since they are more or less proficient in English.
“College” and “University” – The Confusion
While in most countries, the term “college” means a degree-awarding educational institution offering vocational education or a secondary school, in the USA, universities are also referred to as “college”, unlike in India. So, do not get confused with these two terms.
The USA is referred to as “the land of opportunity” not without reasons. Simply put, you can find ample job opportunities here and you can even work part-time while studying in the USA. In most cases you can work on-campus for a duration of 20 hours a week. However, there might be certain courses where you need to work-part time off-campus, but again that depends on the time of program you are pursuing and the regulations of the university. These work opportunities are your chances to gather experience and also earn some extra bucks.
P.S. It is always advisable to consult your counsellor and refer to the immigration department guidelines for more information and avoid any unwanted legal issues.
The USA offers a wide array of scholarship opportunities. And since US tops the list among top study destinations, the competition for these scholarships is pretty high. These scholarships are instrumental in securing financial support to execute your educational plans in the country, along with other associated benefits.