Are you thinking about studying in the United States? Choosing to study at a university in another country is a big choice: make sure that you are informed (and also make sure that you don’t believe some of the myths you hear about life in the U.S.)! The following 5 myths about studying in the United States will help ease your fears about life abroad.
5 Myths About Studying in the U.S.
Myth #1: I can’t afford it
College and university study in the United States is expensive compared to most countries . . . but do not be discouraged by the price you see for tuition! There are many scholarships for students, opportunities for work study (jobs for students), and financial aid. Additionally, most colleges and universities have departments that assist students with financial aid and scholarships: use this resource to help you plan your academic and financial future.
Have you wondered why college and university study is so expensive in the U.S.? There are many reasons. Take a trip to a local campus and see the facilities and you will understand how much money is put into the campus itself to ensure that students live, work, and conduct research in a beautiful and safe environment. Additionally, U.S. colleges and universities are known for their excellent student services. Free tutoring, academic advising, and study sessions are available to students; students can also take advantage of financial planners, career advisors, and well organized student unions, clubs, and organizations. Not to mention the most important aspect of education: the teachers! U.S. professors are some of the best in their fields of study. Imagine taking a class and realizing that the professor wrote the textbook you are using. This is common in the U.S.!
Myth #2: I have to take TOEFL or IELTS
Many universities require a TOEFL or IELTS score; however, there are many programs students can attend that provide admission to a college or university without having to take these exams. For example, students who complete their education at IEC@DVC (by successfully completing the Advanced B course) gain admission to Diablo Valley College without submitting a test score. Search for IEPs (International Education Providers) offering TOEFL waivers to learn more, or contact IEC@DVC.
Myth #3: It will be hard for me to make friends
International students quickly see that college life is different in the United States. In addition to focusing on academics, a U.S. college experience includes participation in clubs, organizations, and many social events. Campuses have many different student-run clubs, student government associations, and social groups for students to join. While making lifelong friends, you are also building your connections, networking, and growing into a mature and well-rounded individual. This is what American college life is all about!
Myth #4: I’ll be the only international student
International students are often surprised to find that they are among students from around the world. However, this is not a surprise when you consider that the United States is the #1 destination for international college students. At your new school, you will not be alone! This diversity isn’t just in the classroom: it’s a part of American culture. There’s a reason the country is called a melting pot!
Myth #5: It’s unsafe
It’s hard not to think of America as unsafe when we see violence on the news each day. The truth is, the U.S. is an incredibly safe country (and continues to become safer each year: for the last 20 years, crime has dropped each year in the U.S.). As with all countries, it is best to be vigilant while in touristy areas or large cities. Students find that the U.S. is overall a safe place, and colleges and universities tend to be located in some of the most welcoming and secure areas.
When considering safety, it’s important to think not just about crime, but also about your mental and emotional well-being. This is especially a concern for students who wear clothing that reflects their religion and for students who are homosexual. Is the U.S. a safe place for these students? Absolutely. We can’t speak for all Americans, but we are certain that most support equal rights for everyone regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.
Are you an IEC@DVC student? Tell us on Facebook what has surprised you about living and studying in the U.S.!
Are you planning to study in the U.S. and have questions about American culture or the American education system? Contact IEC@DVC.