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For over three generations - the USA has been the preferred destination of choice for students from India and other south Asian countries. This is no surprise considering the fact that American institutions consistently feature in the top universities of the world. In the QS World University Rankings 2013 - seven of the top 10 universities are American institutions. They are:
What is it that Draws Students to the USA?
The USA is made up of 50 constituent states and is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of land mass and size. The country covers different time zones and the climate varies from the freezing cold of Alaska, the pleasant tropical climate of Hawaii to the desert-like climate of Arizona. Being the world's most powerful economy; changes in the American economy dictate the global economy. Be it the Great Depression of 1929 or the latest recessionary downturns - it is the American dollar that dictates the way of the modern world.
With breath-taking natural beauty from the Grand Canyon to the Niagara Falls and man-made marvels like the Statue of Liberty, The Golden Gate Bridge, Disney Land, The Smithsonian Museum, The Library of the Congress and much more; the country offers a potpourri of wonders to be explored and enjoyed.
With a fair mix of people of Caucasian, African and Asian origin; the USA is a land of opportunity that offers shelter, support and success to those who work hard and persevere. Slavery might have been abolished long back and an Afro-American may be the President of the USA; but it is an inconvenient truth that racism still exists in quite a few cities. Overall the people are friendly, open-minded and are very frank and love speaking to people. This is unlike life in the UK, where conversation among strangers in public places is rare.
Law and Safety:
Post the horrific attacks of 9/11 the law enforcement agencies have become extremely strict; but like all other countries as a student and newcomer to a country; it is advisable that students travel in groups for the sake of safety in numbers. It is important to keep one's official documents like passport, visa, identity cards, etc., safely. It is best to avoid any flashy jewellery and accessories and keep one's friends, local guardians informed of your travel plans.
Life as a Student in the USA:
As a student in the USA - it is important that one is aware of one's rights and the local laws, which one should follow. All leading institutions conduct a 'Student Orientation Programme', which helps them acclimatise to life in the USA. It is best for students to stay on-campus as it offers quick access to learning resources and the company of friends. Participating in the extra-curricular activities organised by the institution allows students to make friends and gives them a chance to develop their hobbies. Most institutions have hobby-clubs and student organisations for hobbies as diverse as photography and computer games and spirituality and philately.
Research by leading educational agencies and student recruitment firms state that the MBA and an MS in Computers, Bio-technology and Electronics are amongst the most popular courses in the USA. Similarly specialised postgraduate courses in medicine, in streams like cosmetic surgery, para-psychology, diabetes-research and genetics are also extremely popular.
The Way Ahead:
With stiff competition from countries like the UK, Singapore and Australia; American institutions are going all out to woo students from Asian countries. The change in the value of the US Dollar and the poor performance of most Asian currencies is a worrying factor when it comes to calculating costs of studying in the USA. In spite of all this the value of an American university education shall always hold a student in good stead when the student seeks jobs.
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