Best Cities for International Students
The international student often has a dilemma - how to see the USA in a sometimes limited amount of time and money? In a geographically large area like the US, it is quite impossible to see it all. The student must therefore pick and choose, often selecting cities that are the most unique, the most fun, the most cultural, or the most "American".
At Boston Academy of English we love to dispense advice on what to see and how to see it. So the following is one man's opinion on the top 10 US cities for international travelers:
1. New York City - How can you not visit the Big Apple? It is a truly extreme city, featuring the best, the worst, the most luxurious, the tallest skyscrapers - it is uniquely American although it is supremely international. I find the only fallacy is that New Yorkers are rude; they are very busy and not very patient, but also can be helpful and outgoing.
2. Washington D.C. - This city is more of a monument, or a collection of museums and iconic buildings, distributed in a symmetrical array along the "Mall". The national museums and art galleries are also mostly free of charge - this is one visit that is easy on the wallet. Can't miss.
3. Boston - This city really has it all, and is the location of more students per capita than anywhere else. Sure, Harvard and MIT are here, but so are more than 100 colleges and universities, and it is rumored that the best English is spoken here. The vibe is European - summer and autumn are particularly beautiful.
4. San Francisco - Perhaps the most beautiful of American cities, S.F. is built on on and around a hilly peninsula that is served by the antique cable car system. Great tourist destination, with Fishermans Wharf, Alcatraz prison, and the Golden Gate bridge. Mild weather and a very tolerant, "anything goes" atmosphere.
5. Chicago - The U.S.'s second biggest city has many nicknames: "The Windy City", "The City of Broad Shoulders", "That toddlin town", and is best represented as a large city with sophisticated amenities and superb restaurants, yet a small-town friendliness not found elsewhere. A great stop-off between the East and West coasts.
6. Los Angeles - L.A. is more a series of communities strung together by the freeway system than a city with a center. The beach community of Santa Monica, Hollywood, Rodeo Drive - it doesn't lack attractions, but make sure you have a car. Mellow sun-drenched vibe, and very spread out geographically.
7. Miami - Want to visit Latin America without getting your passport out? Try Little Havana for some ?Ropa Vieja? or check out the supermodels at South Beach. Outstanding beaches in a warm, sultry climate year-round - South Florida features the only tropical climate in the county.
8. Orlando - Not so much a city as a "Theme park destination" (that's how they market themselves), this place is for you if have a Disney fascination or just love high-adrenalin thrill rides at Universal Studios or Sea World. Very exciting and also exhausting, don't come here to relax.
9. Las Vegas - This is Orlando for grown-ups. You can do it all here - literally. The hotel themes are interesting enough that you don't even really need to gamble to appreciate it, but it helps. Red Rock Canyon 20 minutes outside of the city is a beautiful natural wonder. Temperatures in summer often top 100 degrees F (40 degrees C).
10. San Diego - With a mild, sunny climate and great beaches, this one is a no-brainer, although if that is not your thing the city is not Excitement Central. High foreign student population, and probably the best zoo in the country.