Why study in United States?
United States of America has always been a preferred destination for most Bhutanese students if they could find a sponsor. Many shy away from applying in USA with a view that it can be very expensive to study. We have done a market analysis and in fact found that USA actually is not that expensive after all. The United States has some of the top universities in the world. As per Quacquarelli Symonds World University ranking showed that of the top 20 universities in the world, 13 are in the United States. One of the reasons students at US universities are so successful upon graduation is because they were educated in the “liberal arts”. This means a focus, not just on a specific major, but on other subjects such as various maths and sciences, philosophy, history, and literature. The benefit of liberal arts is that it prepares you for more than just your immediate career plan. It helps make you a smarter, more thoughtful, more successful person, able to succeed in a job in your major or thrive in some other field. You might become a manager, start your own business, or accomplish anything else that interests you. It provides limitless possibilities upon graduation. US universities place great significance on diversity, meaning classes will consist of students of all ages, religions, and countries of origin. This provides a stimulating and rich learning environment, which encourages cross-cultural understanding and networking. Most classes will contain no more than 20 students and the professors will take the time to get to know students and support their learning even outside the classroom.
There is also always a very active social life on US campuses, with many clubs and organizations students can join that will help further career opportunities and allow interaction with students who have similar tastes and interests.
The US overall is such a mix of cultures and that makes it an interesting place to study and to live. In many cities and towns, you will find varied cuisines and entertainment for everyone, whether it be international sports, world famous music festivals, or amazing art galleries and museums. Thanks to the sheer size of the US and the large number of institutions, there is a perfect fit for each type of student. Huge, sprawling campuses that feel like cities, and small, intimate campuses that feel like a collection of close friends. Tropical islands, arid deserts, snowy plains; the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Manhattan. In the US, there is truly something for everyone and every type of learner.
Cost of Education and Living?
Both the tuition and living costs vary considerably between different universities/colleges, educations and cities. Tuition is usually between $5,000 and $50,000 per year. Costs for food and living are normally between $8,000 and $12,000 dollars per year. In addition to paying tuition, you need money for transportation, course literature and personal expenses. These expenses may be daunting, but there are a number of support systems in place for students to get financial assistance. Thousands of students get funding for college in the USA through grants and loans. Loans are amounts of borrowed money that must be paid back with interest (interest rates are usually low for students). Grants are gifts of money which do not need to be paid back. However, grants often have stipulations such as maintaining a certain grade point average to keep the money.
Many students may also be eligible for scholarships, which must be earned, whether through academic merit, athletic talent, or civic performance. Be cautious of fraudulent scholarship agencies, which often charge a fee in exchange for information. There is also financial aid available for international students to study in the United States, often for education at a graduate level. We recommend you to do a personal calculation of all the costs to make sure that you have enough in your budget before you arrive in the USA, and begin researching sources of financial aid well in advance. Some scholarships are available to international students to help them cover costs while they study abroad.
There're numerous scholarships and funding programs that covers tuition fees in the United States and many Bhutanese student have taken advantages of it:
Fulbright Foreign Student Program: enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research.
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program: provides ten months of non-degree academic study and related professional experiences.
The Tortuga Study Abroad Scholarship: it's awarded biannually to passionate students who want to study abroad.
Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program: for outstanding postgraduate students from selected developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies.
Student Accommodation in the United States?
There are three accommodation options for students in the United States:
On-campus accommodation: You live on the school’s campus in a student room or student apartment. This accommodation can be more expensive, but you get to know a lot of students very fast. On-campus accommodation can be good for your first year at the school to be a part of campus life and meet other students. Meals may also be included in your on-campus accommodation.
Off-campus accommodation: You hire a private/shared apartment outside of campus, usually for a lower price than living on-campus. The International Office at the university can usually help you with information about private apartments and where to look for them. It can also be useful for temporary accommodation in the first few weeks upon arriving.
Host family accommodation: This accommodation alternative is only offered by a few universities. It is more expensive compared to living off-campus, but gives you the extra support of a family and ingrains you in American culture quickly.
Work and study?
International students in the US can work in a job on campus up to 20 hours a week. Most find that their time is better spent taking internships, or Curricular Practical Training, which allows students to work for university credit in a job in a related field. Nearly every university, even those not located in big cities, has employees dedicated to helping students secure internships.
All US universities also offer numerous extra-curricular activities that provide real-world job experience. This could include writing for the school newspaper, participating in science fairs, joining the debate team, and much more. The idea is to give you practical experience to hone what you learn in class. This becomes invaluable when interviewing for a job.
All US institutions have a career services department staffed with professionals focused on helping students with their CV, teaching job interview skills, and helping them find job opportunities, both during and after their studies.
Post Study work?
US is one of the most desired desitination because of the education students have been give a good opportunity to extend their visa. Following graduation, students on an F-1 visa can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to work in their chosen field for 12-24 months after completing their studies. Beyond that, some companies may even sponsor students for a H1-B Temporary Worker Visa, allowing them to continue living in the USA as long as they work for that company. Most of the internation students extend their visa to gain valuable work experience.
If you want to study in the US and are not a US citizen you will need to obtain a student visa. Applying for a US student visa can be a long process, so make sure you start preparing well in advance – at least three to five months before your course is due to start. There are usually several steps to apply for a US student visa. These steps vary at each US embassy or consulate so it’s important to consult the instructions on the website of the nearest embassy or consulate. In general, prospective students will go through five stages when applying for a US student visa:
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