For many students looking to enter a study abroad program, the United States is a popular destination. But if you’re interested in taking your studies to America, you’ll need to be a little more specific. With 50 states spanning thousands of miles and geographic regions, the U.S. is itself a very diverse place, and your experience in one part of the country will be totally different from what you’re likely to get elsewhere.
Within the United States alone you have a variety of options available to you, each offering different geography, people and cultural influences. And by studying in the United States, you have the opportunity to get your foot in the door with the professional world in America—an asset that could come in handy in the course of your career. Here are some tips to help you navigate the offerings of the United States and settle on a destination you won’t regret.
Considering the offerings of the location
Location matters in the United States. If you’re most interested in beach weather, a destination like California or Florida is your best option. On the other hand, outdoorsy types might be more inclined to seek out the hiking and recreation offerings of Colorado, Oregon and other destinations in the American West. And for the urban-inclined, studying in major cities like New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles might be just what the doctor ordered.
In each case, keep in mind the types of tourism and attractions unique to these areas. Iconic American destinations can be found all over the map, from the Statue of Liberty in New York to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. And don’t forget about impressive destinations that might be off the beaten path, such as the beautiful towns of coastal Maine, the frontier outposts of Wyoming or the bayou-influenced regions in Louisiana and Mississippi. There’s endless variety when it comes to choosing these options; even if you don’t go with a world-famous destination, you’ll still get the benefit of a unique, exciting experience.
Pursuing cultural influences
In addition to the geographic qualities of prospective study locations, don’t forget to consider how various cultures are engrained in the day-to-day life of these areas. New Orleans, for example, boasts a strong Creole influence that has influenced its food and local religion. In Chicago, a strong Polish influence is evident in the food and in the working-class attitudes of the city. And in southern California, the influence of Hollywood glamor is virtually omnipresent.
Making sure you’re protected in an emergency
No matter where you end up, it’s important to make sure certain precautionary measures are in place. An important consideration when studying in the U.S.A. is to make sure you have a study abroad insurance policy to cover you. The United States does not offer socialized medicine, and if you contract an illness or suffer an injury, the hospital bills could be significant. Invest in a short-term insurance policy to save yourself trouble down the road.
Although there are so many different choices when considering exchange programs in America, it’s hard to go wrong. One of the best things about the U.S. is the country’s huge diversity among both people and geographical locations; it’s hard to find one spot that offers the quintessential U.S. experience. That frees you to choose your own adventure in the United States and come away with a unique experience.