USA and UK have been favourites among international students since decades for studies. When you ask a student about their first choice for studies abroad, the USA is the first country that automatically comes onto their lips. The credit for its recognition goes to its reputed universities and multicultural voice. The diverse and dynamic culture of this country has proven to be an attraction to all. One of its well known study destination is Boston. Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and one of its most populous cities. It is ranked at number 13th on the QS Best Students Cities list in 2016. There are obviously many reasons which have made it so. For an international student, there is a plethora of other aspects which are important to consider while moving in a foreign country. These aspects are discussed in following sections.
The first thing comes to mind when thinking about studies is the quality of education that one is going to get. This is obviously important as international students have to spend a lot in terms of housing, food, clothing and other domestic needs. Without a quality education and lifestyle in a reputable university, all of this seems futile. In case of Boston, one needs not worry as there are few cities in the world which can qualify to contest in terms of reputed universities here. The city is renowned for its education and highly ranked universities. The major universities which have strengthened the reputation of Boston are located just in nearby areas called Cambridge and Somerville. Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), two of the most well-known universities are located here. MIT consistently ranks first while Harvard ranks second on World's top universities list. Boston also has five more universities which have led to its name being called the Athens of America. It goes without saying that education wise this city is a dream for an international student.
In terms of environment, Boston like any metropolis is full of hustle and bustle of city. Being one of the oldest cities, the city has one of the most happening art, music and political scene. The beautiful landscape and open green space adds to its overall charm. The air quality of Boston is generally good in comparison to other big cities. The city is popular for its literary scene. In fact, prolific writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote some of their works here. The Old Corner Bookstore located in Boston has been given epithet of cradle of American literature as these writers used to meet here. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the city keeps its literary culture alive by organizing Boston Book Festival every year. The music scene is also supported here thanks to its Boston Symphony Orchestra which usually performs in Symphony Hall. With many other performing arts organizations to its name, Boston is one of the best places to interact with culture.
‘’ being one of the oldest cities, the city has one of the most happening art, music and political scene’’
Part-time jobs are a lifeline to international students living in a foreign country. It is important not merely in terms of covering living costs but also in terms of the development of one's skills. It is especially necessary in the USA as studying there is costly, what with ever increasing tuition fees. However, it is essential to check the terms and conditions on one's visa. It is especially beneficial then that the international students are allowed to work in the country. Here, one can work in the morning while take classes in the evening. Employment is available both on and off campus companies which opens up many avenues for the students including Undergraduate and Master students. However, the most important aspect of working in the USA is that the students are paid regular American wages. Considering the multitudes of students pouring in the country, most of the universities have introduced a specialized CPT or Curricular Practical Training program that ensures that the students able to work from the moment they arrive on campus. It works by providing employment training and make them able to work in paid internships positions. This makes it easier for the students who are on budget to live decently and without any worry.
The multicultural identity of Boston is duly established as the diversity here is truly enchanting. With such reputed universities the city is home to students belonging from all parts of the world. There is not a country in the world from where you will not find its people here. The diversity ensures that there is no lack of familiar people in a foreign land. That's why it ranks 36th out of 140 on Global Livability scale of QS top universities. This is consoling for the students who find it difficult to be social. The culture can be intimidating to many people despite its diversity. In such circumstances, it is important to learn about the place beforehand. Culture shock can lead to social isolation which could impact your student learning environment.
Food often becomes an issue for an international student especially if the culture is completely different to one's own culture, for example in the case of Asian students in western countries. However, thanks to America's multiculturalism, the city of Boston boasts of every kind of cuisine that the world has to offer. With Chinese to Italian, there is a wide variety of cuisines offered by the city. Being an educational hub, cheap restaurants, pubs, cafes and food trucks in Boston, cater to the students who are on budget. Thus, foodies have nothing to worry about in this city.
The most dreaded word for international students is a visa. Most of the students spend sleepless nights over it. In order to get over such fears, it is necessary to have proper knowledge about the whole procedure and guidelines of getting a student visa. According to the USA visa guidelines, one should have non-immigrant visa for temporary stay and an immigrant visa for permanent residence. In case of students, the type of visa is determined by the kind of study or school that they are applying for. In case of Universities, High school, Private elementary school, Seminary, Conservatory or language training courses, a student will need a visa category F while for other Vocational or other recognized non-academic institution an M category visa will suffice. Students are not allowed to travel on Visa Waiver Program or Visitor or B category Visas. Visitor (B) visa is more suitable if one is looking to study in a short recreational course which is not for any academic purposes. However, before you apply for any of the above mentioned visas, be sure to be accepted by a SEVP approved school. After getting accepted by the American school you plan to study, you will be registered in Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for which you have to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. You will get a Form I-20 from the American school in order to present to the consular officer during visa interview.
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