Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Investing in Foreign Education

     A good quality of education is very important for someone, who wants to achieve much more in life. For some, education is a gold-like investment. And we cannot argue with them about having education as an investment. We've spent a lot of money just to acquire that piece of paper, which we think will give as the assurance of being employed. And because we are investing on this, it's important for us to invest in a good way. We need to look for schools, which offer quality education and do promise a bright future for us. We need to be sure that the success we're looking for is [indeed] possible to reach.

     Education is my main motivation in collaborating with Sara Collins for this article. Sara is also a writer, who took a moment in reading one of my articles here. She contacted me for a possible writing spot and after several exchanges of emails, this is what we've come up. An article simply dedicated to students wanting to study abroad. For my readers, who are interested in knowing where to look for schools in America, this is your chance.

The College Experience: International Students in America
     Are you living outside of the United States but considering applying to college in America? College life in the U.S. is an opportunity for learning, having fun, building a career, making new friends, and discovering your passions. But there are so many factors to consider when choosing what school is right for you. Here are some tips to get you started.

Financial Factors

     While some universities require foreign students to prove that they have adequate financial resources to fund their education, others may offer generous scholarships or grants to attract international students. Be sure to check on college websites to find estimates of the total costs of tuition, room and board, books, and living expenses. Then add in your own costs of travel to the U.S., think about your financial situation, and decide which schools are affordable for you. You might also consider a work-study program to help fund your own studies. If you are a graduate student, you might be able to secure a paid teaching assistant position.

Here are some institutions that offer particularly good financial aid to international students:

-Amherst College
-Yale University
-Reed College

Academic Strengths

     When choosing a school, it’s also important to think about what academic experience you are looking for. What will your major be? Research schools with strong programs in your area of interest. Do you want a research-focused institution, or a liberal arts college? Research universities are often internationally renowned and are may be publicly funded, which results in lower tuition costs. Smaller liberal arts colleges provide great opportunities for individual attention, with smaller class sizes and personalized teaching approaches. As most liberal arts colleges are private institutions, some will have higher tuition.

International Student Support

     Does the school of your choice offer specific support for international students? A school with a large international student body can offer the benefit of seasoned students who can help new students adjust to the challenges of American life. These schools also tend to have more resources, services, and activities devoted to international students.

Location and Lifestyle

     Are you accustomed to country living or the hustle and bustle of the city? In a big city you can easily experience the abundance of American culture while also finding the cultural niche of your own countrymen. You’ll easily be much more likely to find part-time work or internship opportunities. Disadvantages of an urban location include a higher cost of living and a potentially overwhelming environment for new students.

     You will find many prestigious schools in small towns as well. Though they are more rural and the pace of life is slower, small towns are still a great setting for college life because they have a lower cost of living and enable students to focus on their studies. You may even find it easier to make friends with students in a small town, where personal company outranks noisy, expensive outings.

Regional Factors

     When considering location, it’s also important to account for the U.S.’s quite massive regional differences. Here’s a breakdown of different regional stereotypes.

     The Northeast is an economic and political powerhouse with large, busy cities, a high cost of living, academic prestige, and four distinct seasons of weather, ranging from snowy and cold to hot and humid.

     The Midwest is full of honest and friendly people, cheaper costs of living, industrial history and farm-driven economy, unique culture and musical creativity in cities, and great prairies and lakes.

     The Pacific Northwest is home to dramatic landscapes of mountains, forests, and canyons, cultural diversity, a tolerant and progressive mindset, an outdoor lifestyle, and a cool and rainy climate.

     The South has its own distinctive mix of customs, literature, music and cuisine, represents a traditional way of American life, has warm weather most of the year, and tends to adopt a slower, friendlier pace than the North.

     Of course these are generalizations, to which there will always be myriad exceptions. No matter where you stay, you will find a broad variety of individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds and personality types.
Tips for Applying and Making the Most of College

     Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for in an ideal school, how many should you apply to? Ten to fifteen schools is a good number. Break it down into three top schools to which it may be difficult to be admitted, four or five target schools where you will likely be accepted, and a few safety schools where you are certain to be accepted as a back-up plan. 

     After you’ve chosen a school that is a great fit for you, make the most of your four years in the States! Join a club, activity, or sport as a way to unwind and make new friends. Take excursions off campus to explore your surroundings. Find a job or internship and get a taste of the American workplace while gaining valuable work experience. Participate in a language exchange or cultural event to celebrate and share your own roots. Study hard, but don’t forget to have some fun along the way.

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]
Image sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]

About the the co-author:
     Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a website that helps students manage their financial goals by learning about college tuition planning.

1 comment:

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