When selecting a place to study English as an international student, you have so many options! The culturally diverse Bay Area is home to unique San Francisco, exciting tech hub Silicon Valley, and world-famous Napa Valley wines. It’s great for tourism . . . but is it a great place for an international student to live and study? We think so! Find out why you should study in San Francisco as an international student.
Why Study in San Francisco as an International Student?
People often say that the U.S. is a “melting pot” (a mix of many cultures). In the Bay Area, this is definitely true! The last U.S. census shows that residents of the Bay Area are from a mix of cultures: a little more than half (52%) of the area’s residents are Caucasian, while the other half of residents identify themselves as Asian, African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, a mix of two races, or another race (such as Indian). More than 30% of the population was born outside of the U.S.
Unique Bay Area Culture
This beautiful mix of people from around the world makes the Bay Area a culturally rich place. Explore San Francisco for a day and this is clear: neighborhoods such as Chinatown have the beautiful architecture, foods, and temples from many Asian cultures, while the Mission District’s stunning street murals proudly display the art of the Hispanic people who live in the area. Even the gardens reflect this diversity: in Golden Gate Park, visitors can see the gorgeous Japanese Gardens. Fusion restaurants serve foods that reflect this diversity with restaurants like the Spice Jar, which cooks up Californian-style Asian dishes such as ramen and pho. Another local favorite, HRD, serves kimchi burritos, tacos with fried oysters, and New Orleans-style po-boy sandwiches with shrimp katsu. Yum!
The museum selection in the Bay Area also shows the rich culture and diversity of the region. San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has an impressive selection of art pieces from ancient and contemporary Asia; the Museum of African Diaspora celebrates the contemporary art of Africans and cultures of African descendants. Similarly, the Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates the art, history, and culture of the Jewish community.
In addition to the rich history of the area, the Bay Area has the exciting, forward-thinking tech industry of Silicon Valley. Facebook, Instagram, Google, Uber, Twitter, PayPal . . . it seems as if every successful tech business is here! The young professionals who work in these businesses bring a new level of excitement and innovation to the area.
The Bay Area is home to some of the best universities in the world, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Stanford, San Francisco State University, the University of San Francisco.
Just how impressive are these schools? Check out some of these incredible statistics:
- UC Berkeley is the #1 public university in the U.S.
- Berkeley also ranks #1 for natural sciences, mathematics, chemistry, environmental ecology, and business
- UC Berkeley currently has 7 Nobel Prize winners on its staff
- UC Davis is ranked #1 in the world for veterinary medicine, agriculture, and food science and nutrition
- Nearly 40% of all UC Davis students conduct research with a professor
- Stanford is #1 in the world for Arts and Humanities
- Stanford graduates have become U.S. Presidents, Senators, astronauts (17!), Nobel laureates (21), and billionaires. (There are currently 30 living billionaires who are Stanford grads!)
- 23% of San Francisco State University classes have fewer than 20 students
- University of San Francisco has an impressive 14:1 student to faculty ratio
Community colleges in the area all prepare students to transfer to these famous schools, and their curriculum is some of the best in the U.S. No matter where you live in the Bay Area, a community college is within a short drive or ride using public transportation.
Friendly, happy people
Eight of the top 10 happiest U.S. cities are in California. What makes them so happy? Perhaps it’s the beautiful California weather, the laid-back California lifestyle, or the amazing sunsets. We don’t know! But we do know that Fremont, San Jose, and San Francisco are ranked in the top five. There’s something special about the Bay Area!
Never a dull moment
There is a joke that in California “there is a festival for everything.” It’s true! From Oysterfest to wine tasting events to garlic festivals, Californians always have something to do on the weekends.
The area is also home to many professional sports teams: the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants play baseball in the area; for basketball, residents have the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings; and for football, locals can cheer for the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.
Healthy lifestyle, the outdoors
Did you know that Californians are some of the healthiest people in the U.S.? A large part of California culture is health and well-being. In fact, the Bay Area is #1 on Forbes’ “Top U.S. Cities for Yoga” list! Most Californians enjoy exercising, eating healthy foods made from the state’s beautiful produce, and playing sports or participating in outdoor activities.
In addition to water sports such a surfing and sailing, San Franciscans take advantage of the area’s mountains, rivers, and many parks. Go hiking in some of the area’s many natural parks, enjoy the area’s man-made parks such as Golden Gate park, or canoe down the Russian River on a warm day. During the weekends, take trips to places such as Lake Tahoe: in the summer, it’s perfect for water skiing; in the winter, it’s a snowboarder’s dream!
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you end your day by watching a beautiful California sunset. It’s a daily tradition for many Californians!