|USA is a land of dreams and opportunities; it offers high quality education for students all over the world. The quality of education and the career prospects after graduation is very high; USA has attracted most of the study abroad aspirants. It hosts more number of international students than any other country in the world. Infact, a survey resulted approximately around 600,000 pursue their higher studies in this country. The international students comprise approximately 4% of the total undergraduate US colleges/universities and 10% for US graduate school. The international students from every continent in the world tend to choose USA because they believe that US education would afford them the best preparation for their future. In order to pursue their dreams they leave their homes, families and friends and study abroad in USA. A known fact is that the international students contribute more than $13 billion dollars to the US economy. Let's see the top reasons why international students choose to pursue their higher studies in USA.
1. Excellent Academics
USA is known for its finest higher education in the world especially in the field of technology. US degrees are considered as the most prestigious and are accepted all over the world.
2. HIGH QUALITY RESEARCH
Students who are passionate about research then USA is the best choice. There are many opportunities in all fields where students gain practical experience during their course. The USA government, public and private corporate sectors help and fund students who research and excel in their academics. Students often receive scholarships, stipends and living expenses while doing their research in their respective fields.
3. FLEXIBILITY IN COURSE CURRICULUM
Based on the interest of the students, other than their area of study they have an option to choose courses (often referred as 'electives') in other subject areas. As the selection of the course offerings vary from university to university, the students have a chance to 'cross-register' or choose the courses at a different university as a part of their degree program.
4. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
The international students are financially assisted in some situations by the universities in the form of teaching and research assistantships. These are based on the student's academic performance rather than their financial needs. Students are also given benefits like stipends and sometimes either partial or full tuition fees as waivers. Students who perform exceptionally well in their area of study may be offered the full course fee for free. Students also have the opportunity to receive loans and scholarships from various organizations.
5. ON-CAMPUS WORK OPPORTUNITIES
Most of the colleges/universities allow international students to work on-campus as their part-timers. Students who are on F-1 visas can work on-campus upto 20 hours a week during course time and upto 40 hours a week in their vacation, semester holidays and summer time. Students are paid an hourly rate (approximately ranging from $ 8.00 USD - $ 15.00 USD) depending on the role of the job and these earnings help them to cover their living expenses. Most of the students are placed in jobs based on their experience, financial need and personal/communication skills. For example, a student who has good English speaking and communication skills may be placed at a university library where someone who has a lifeguard certification may be placed at the campus Aquatic Center.
Students are allowed to work as interns in their respective academic fields/areas in small companies to large organizations during course and vacation time. These internships are considered to be the best and valuable part of the student's academics which help them to gain practical experience during course time. Most universities also offer academic credits for the internship experience.
7. JOB OPPORTUNITIES/PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
After graduation, international students are allowed to work full-time for one year in their respective fields to gain practical experience. As of 2008, students in certain subject areas can extend this up to 17 months. This extension of program is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). Many talented students are hired as permanent employees as soon as they finish their OPT program by getting a sponsorship from their employers for an H-1 visa. The H-1B visa is a temporary work permit visa given to foreign nationals to work in specialized areas like Software, Teaching, Marketing Engineering and Marketing etc. The international students have a chance to continue their jobs without leaving the country (USA) after this status change approval.
8. INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICES
Most of the colleges/universities in USA have international student affairs offices with advisors who provide extraordinary support to international students. They give advices on choosing the right course/university, academic advices and immigration bureaucracy and to get the most out of their educational experience. In addition to all these they host events and workshops which help international students meet other students and get involved in campus life and gain international exposure.
9. CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Apart, from education, international students have an opportunity to learn, interact and know different things from other students who come from different countries. They also get an opportunity to know about different diverse cultures, religions, economic and ethnic backgrounds. This experience will help the international students to get global exposure and to become true global citizens.
USA offers a high quality education which is valued anywhere in the world. The success of a student always depends on the amount of dedication and hard work shown in their academics. The variety of skills and cross-cultural environment can make a great and unique learning experience.