THE USA

Culture

The United States of America is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district.America is known as the land of settlers. There are so many tribes and so many races all put in one to form the United States of America. We have the native Indians, Spanish, and Italians amongst many other people who have settled in America.

Food

A lot of students are always scared they may not be able to adapt to the American way of life and their food.

Rest assured that the US is a very diverse country and you are bound to find restaurants that cater for your local cuisine and/or get together with others from your countries and cook together.

However a big part of studying in the US is all about learning the culture and joining into the American way of life which isn’t as hard as one would think!
American food is more than just McDonalds, although this is probably the most famous!

Different regions have their own cuisine and styles of cooking.

Americans depend a lot on chicken which they fry most of the time or grill. Louisiana is known for Cajun and Creole, these being influenced by French, Acadian, and Haitian cooking, although the dishes themselves are original and unique.

Other dishes you may come across are Crawfish Etouffee, Red Beans and Rice, Seafood or Chicken Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Boudin.

Other influences include Italian, German, Hungarian and Chinese, traditional Native American, Caribbean, Mexican and Greek dishes.

America is ultimately a nation of immigrants and is populated by people from many different foreign countries but all Americans, in one way or another, trace their ancestry back to another culture, Irish, German, Italian or Scottish, for example.

Transportation

Taxi can be very costly to use. The iconic yellow cabs in New York cost an average of around $13 per journey. The fare is based on time of day, distance travelled and time taken. Fares elsewhere will vary from place to place and are more expensive in the evenings, at weekends and during public holidays.

Bike cheap alternative and healthy too! But wear a helmet and buy a good lock for your bike. Many cities have bike lanes.  These are designated lanes just for bikes. Citi Bike, a cycle-hire scheme, will be available in New York across 600 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens from May 2013.  This will cost $9.95 per day or $4 an hour.  For further details checkout the following website www.citibikenyc.com for more information.

Coaches offer efficient travel between major cities. Further information can be found at: www.coachusa.com or www.greyhound.com. Megabus operates in some of the major cities across the US and offers a cheap fare for just $1 plus 50c booking fee. Route information can be found at http://megabus.com. Chinatown buses www.chinatown-bus.org offers cheap journeys serving the East Coast and Southern California to San Francisco (even to Las Vegas)

Buses are a very convenient way of getting around. Public transport can be inexpensive if used with student discounts on offer. The cost of travelling on Boston’s T buses is 75c for a student ticket if you buy a CharlieCard. If you are going to travel on the buses or underground frequently then buying a CharlieCard may be a more cost effective option. Boston bus information can be found at: www.mbta.com/fares_and_passes/bus. Outside of Boston check your local town government website for details of buses in your area.

America’s train networks are vast and fairly inexpensive. If you are able to plan your journey in advance and book online it is generally cheaper than buying a ticket at the station. For details of tickets, train times, and journey planners contact Amtrak www.amtrak.com free: 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245). For discounted travel visit: www.amtrak.com/student-discount. The Advantage Card costs $20 and saves you up to 15% on the adult regular fare. You are eligible for this if you are aged over 16 and in further education.

There are many airlines that fly to America, try a comparison website like Expedia www.expedia.co.uk/Flights or Sky Scanner www.skyscanner.net. These will search many providers for the flight you are looking for. America has many domestic airlines offering internal flights within the US. Delta Airlines www.delta.com. There also many international airlines that fly to America: American Airlines: www.aa.com, United Airlines: www.united.com, British Airways: www.britishairways.com.

The subway and is a cheap and convenient way to get around the city. The cost for a ticket is $2.25. A Metrocard offers larger discounts. One day travel cards are also a cost effective way to visit the city. Visit the website for details: www.mta.info. The following link will take you to an interactive map of the subway: www.mta.info/nyct/maps/submap.htm

Weather

Depending where you are the climate in USA varies across the country.

The western and southern parts have warmer weather compared to east and north. Harsh winters with heavy snowfall are prevalent in the East and North but the summers are mild. Extremely hot summers and tolerable winters are found in the west and south.The US is divided into six climate regions (excluding Alaska, Hawaii and outlying territories) and the climate varies between different regions.
The regions are as follows:

  • Northwest Pacific
  • Mid/South Pacific
  • Midwest
  • Northeast
  • Southeast
  • Southwest

It is thereby advised that students purchase whatever item of clothing they may need during their schooling when they arrive in America so they can get the appropriate type of clothing for the seasons as they come and at an affordable rate too.

Accomodation

Accommodation in the US can include homestays, halls of residence/dormitories, house share or private lodgings depending on the student’s preference or choice and the budget the said student has. Homestays involve staying with a host family who provide room and board as well as feeding and companionship during your schooling. These host families are registered with the school and staying with them can help students adapt faster to the American system.

Halls of residence/ dormitories are provided by the school. Many universities have accommodation located on or near their campus. Room sizes vary in size and quality.  Many have shared facilities (kitchens, toilets, showers, laundry). Some universities can offer shared or private rooms. There may be the option for meals plans that can be included in the cost of the room.  

House share involves getting an apartment independently and this gives students privacy. If you prefer a more independent living environment the many universities can assist with arrangements. Private accommodation options have kitchen facilities, are often shared with other students. You would prepare your own meals as the cost of feeding is not included.

It is advisable that accommodation arrangements are made before travelling so as not to get stranded or pay extra fees concerning where to stay on arrival.

Why study in the USA

The US offers some of the most esteemed, top ranked education anywhere in the world, diverse cities, beautiful parks, artistic, cultural, political and athletic events and a very multicultural population. The US education system offers international students the most varied set of education options in the world. International students can pursue anything from nuclear science to aviation to film to management studies.

The US is one for the most multicultural and diverse countries in the world. International students will find living in the US a life changing experience.  The US spans six time zones and each state has its own customs and culture.

Students have a wide choice of institution to match their academic and social interests. You will find over 4,900 accredited colleges, universities, and institutes providing both undergraduate and graduate students with choices in more than 900 fields of study.

US universities are world leaders in cutting-edge technology and are dedicated to providing a world class education to students; making students with the latest technology in science, engineering and related fields is of great importance.In certain cases international students may typically work on campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Full time employment is allowed during breaks and vacation periods.

Many US universities are truly ‘international’ with students from more than 100 counties. You therefore have a golden opportunity whilst studying in the USA to develop a network of friends and professors from all over the world. This will stand you in good stead when you graduate and enter the global labour market.

Contrary to popular belief many US universities offer excellent value for money. Tuition fees are reasonable and substantially financial aid is available for students with good academic profile.