Are you a European student who is headed for university? If you’re still browsing through your preferences, don’t disregard the option to study abroad in the US just yet.
Crossing the Atlantic for your degree might seem like a costlier option when you have cheaper or tuition-free options in Europe, but the ROI of an American education cannot be understated. After all, there must be a reason why the US keeps topping the list of preferred study destinations for international students.
With numerous scholarships, awards, and financial aid available to overseas students, studying in the US is a lot more doable than you think. Consider it as an adventure where you get to learn in a new academic system and experience living — and working — in another culture.
If you still need a little more convincing, here are five reasons why you should study abroad in the US:
Reason #1: High-ranking universities
Harvard. Yale. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It goes without saying that US institutions are synonymous with world-class academic excellence. In fact, eight of the world’s top 10 universities are in America, and that’s not even counting the numerous other universities down the list that are equally outstanding.
Public Ivies, which are public universities that match the quality of Ivy League institutions, are cheaper alternatives that you can consider. While there certainly are top universities in Europe that are on par with these universities, the reputation of Ivy League schools are indisputable; hence why graduates could earn more than twice as much as other college graduates.
US universities are renowned for world-class research and scholarships across multiple disciplines. Source: Daniel Slim/AFP
Reason #2: World-class facilities for research and innovation
Of course, the best universities in the world came by their name through a strong faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. American universities have spearheaded iconic breakthroughs, including the first successful human organ transplant to radiocarbon dating.
A lot of this has to do with the endowment that American universities receive, which can number in the billions per university. This is good news for international students, as the interest from the funds help create funding, grants, and scholarships.
Reason #3: Academic flexibility
Getting a degree in biology and queer literature will sound peculiar elsewhere, but not in American universities. One significant pull factor for students to study abroad in the US is due to its flexible academic structure. The liberal arts system in the US emphasises both breadth and depth in education, which allows students to customise their education according to their interests and goals. This is in contrast to European universities which may offer more depth than breadth.
If you’re fresh out of secondary school, sampling different courses as a freshman will give you a better idea to make informed decisions about your studies. Plus, you get to explore subjects that you otherwise would not have ventured into with a fixed curriculum that is common in European universities.
Reason #4: Experiential opportunities
Outside of the classroom, American universities are ripe with internship placements, research, and postdoctoral fellowships for you to build your career. The Optional Practical Training (OPT) Programme permits students who study abroad in the US to participate in the American workforce after graduation.
If you’re a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) student, you can work for up to 24 months after completing your studies. This allows you to experience industrial training in the world’s biggest companies and research centres that will surely boost your resume.
Reason #5: Study in a culturally-rich environment
Admit it, all the pop culture references and depictions of American college life have made you wonder what the buzz is all about at some point in your life. It’s hard to not envy what you see — the US is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, and its universities certainly reflect this rich mosaic.
As an international student, you’ll have the chance to meet people from other countries in your residence and lecture halls. Learning other traditions, language, and heritage will help you to overcome prejudice and encourage openness, which is an invaluable education on its own.