Want to go to college in a town where your school is the biggest thing going on? Keep these things in mind…
Studying abroad as an international student is a privilege — the exposure, opportunities, and lifestyle changes that come with it are immense.
The USA is popular among international students, given the wide range of prestigious schools, community colleges, and state universities with well-ranked courses and world-class faculty. With this, certain 'college towns' or 'student cities' are ruled by a significant student population, and they come with their set of pros and cons.
The dominating presence of students in one location means that the environment is generally youthful and vibrant, with great conversations brewing plus cheap cafes and bars. Along with that, there are a lot of student events that you can participate in, and you’ll be sure to have a great diverse group of friends.
There can also be challenges to living in a student city:
1. It might be loud
Colleges and college students can be a 24-hour experience at high volume. Students living amongst each other, having adventures in the city at 3 pm — or 3 am! You might experience loud music from cars and bars, late-night or early-morning parties, and even protests.
If you know that you want a college experience that’s quiet or focused on studying, you might want to consider a small school, a university in a suburban location, or an apartment away from the center of campus.
2. It’s probably crowded
Grocery stores, clubs, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and even just the streets, you are sure to find students and young adults everywhere! This can cause problems like trouble finding parking, a table at your favorite restaurant, or breathing space to have a pint! Naturally, students love to explore new places in the city no matter what the day is.
Think about how you deal with crowds, and if you’ll mind dealing with groups of people frequently.
3. There’s more competition for places to live
Colleges and universities can find themselves swarmed with students, with student accommodation going like hotcakes! This poses a difficulty for students who wish to study abroad, which is why it is essential to book early. Companies like AmberStudent help students find accommodation in the place of their choice and in a location that fits the student's needs.
Plan ahead. As soon as you are admitted to your school of choice, your next step should be determining where you’ll be living.
4. It might lack cultural experiences
Living in a student town might not give you the authentic local experience of living abroad. Culture can be limited to student lives, and the activities are often centered around students, which means access to inexpensive modes of entertainment and potentially fewer big city cultural options.
As an international student, it is essential to venture out and learn about the town and surroundings where you live. Visit local parks or hiking trails, or just different neighborhoods further away from your school.
5. You could encounter limited job opportunities
Student towns generally have job opportunities that may be limited to the university, like teaching assistantships or research, or other jobs on campus. At a school with many students, there also might not be enough job opportunities for the number of students who want them.
If you know you’ll want — or need to — work while you’re studying, research the jobs available to international students on your campus. Talk to the international student advisor before starting your studies and learn more about jobs that you can do while you’re a student.
It’s an adventure!
Living in a student city or town can be a truly unique experience that you will encounter once in your life. It might be loud and crowded, but it will be a life full of surprises and unexpected adventures. Know what you need, do your research, and be prepared before you take the leap!
Amber and you: AmberStudent is an online student accommodation that helps you secure a home of choice on your study abroad journey. Having served 80 million students (and counting), AmberStudent is a one-stop shop for all your accommodation needs, with great choices for student accommodation in New York and many other cities. Amber helps with assistance, booking, and price match guarantees! Check out its Facebook and Instagram to stay connected!
Madhura Ballal is a postgraduate from the National University of Singapore.
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