International Student Population
The USA remains the most popular country for students who wish to study abroad and it hosts the world’s largest international student population. In 2019, the total number of international students enrolled in US colleges was 1,095,299, making up 5.5% of the total US student body.
With 202,014 students in 2019, India is currently the second-largest source of international students in the US after China.
Country and Cities Population
The current population of the USA is 331,235,184 which is equivalent to 4.25% of the total world population. It has the third-largest population in the world after India and China. This doesn’t make it any less popular among students. In fact, it offers a plethora of study options and work opportunities to explore.
Top cities in the USA based on their population are:
1. New York City
2. Los Angeles
Demographic trends of the USA suggest that its immigrant population is nearing a record-high. This hints towards the popularity of the country for higher studies and jobs and how it caters all of it well.
Anytime a student travels within the USA it is important that they carry their passport and immigration documents. They may be stopped at bus terminals, train stations or even airports for checking.
Getting around the US is easy because of the wide availability of transport.
Airplanes offer a convenient means to get from one city to another within the US. Most major cities have at least one airport with direct and connecting flights.
Train travel is the most viable means of transport for students and backpackers in the US. It’s fast, affordable, and well-maintained. You can get your rail passes to travel within budget.
Buses in the US are reliable, clean, and comfortable. If you are looking forward to saving money or are on a tight budget, you should travel from one city to another via buses.
While hiring a taxi may not be an affordable choice, it is surely convenient and easily available in the US.
Flying is the only viable mode of transport when it comes to traveling to the USA from India. Every year, lakhs of Indians travel to the US and therefore you won’t find a dearth of flights on this route.
All major American cities are served by international airports that offer worldwide connectivity, including India. Direct flights to the US are available from Delhi and Mumbai.
Several international airlines like Air India, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, and Etihad Airways fly from New Delhi to Washington DC, every week.
The following are some international airports in the USA popular among Indian immigrants.
Accommodation & meal
The US has a large immigrant population due to the presence of world-class universities. You need not worry about your accommodation as the country and its people make the transition easier for you.
Three major accommodation options for international students looking for housing in the US are:
The US is a huge country. It is not possible for you to explore all regions while you study there. But you can definitely plan trips with your friends within a given region.
Some of the most popular places that should be on your list are:
1. Grand Canyon
2. Niagara Falls
3. Statue of Liberty
4. White House
5. Yellowstone National Park
6. Times Square
7. Golden Gate Bridge
The United States has a wide variety of climates owing to its huge size. Generally, it has cold or frigid winters and hot or very hot summers. The intensity of heat or cold waves varies across the country.
The United States uses the US dollar as its currency. It is a popular currency and therefore you won’t face any problems in getting the US dollar anywhere. You can either carry some from India or get your rupee exchanged in the US without any hassles.
Being one of the largest countries in the world, the US has assimilated people from different religions. The United States apparently has the largest population of Christians in the world. Other non-Christian religions you will find in the US include, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
No matter which religion you want to follow, you are free to do that in the US.
No other country in the world boasts of nightlife as vibrant and classy as the US. In whichever city you choose to study, you won’t have to travel far to enjoy the nightlife of the US. From dive bars to swanky hotel lounges and trendy dance clubs, there’s everything for you to relax in the US.
Some of the most popular places on every party-loving person’s list are – Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Why live and work here
Standard of Living
The lifestyle of the USA is indeed the best in the world because the country performs exceptionally well in almost all the measures of social and economic well-being. For students, it is a golden chance to study in the USA. If you want to seize every opportunity the USA has to offer; you need to stay there for a while. You’ll experience that Americans have competitive spirits and attach great value to achievements.
Big cities, good quality of life, and above-average incomes are yet other reasons why people from around the world want to work and settle in the US.
The American healthcare system is one of the best in the world. Despite this, you need to know about it in detail because the US government does not provide free healthcare and medical treatment in the US is highly expensive. This is the reason why almost all Americans take health insurance.
Major US universities make it mandatory for their international students to enroll for a medical insurance plan offered by them. This makes it easy for you to minimize medical costs. If your university doesn’t provide any insurance, you should choose a private insurance provider and choose a suitable plan.
Economic Background of the Country
The US has the largest economy in the world. Almost all other parts of the world are affected by the economic decisions of the US.
Being a highly industrialized country with high levels of productivity and the use of modern technologies, it is indeed the world leader. This is also reflected in the lifestyle of the USA. The USA has a free-market economy and thus there is minimum or no government intervention in major sectors excluding healthcare and transportation.
A country whose GDP contributes around a quarter of the world’s total output attracts immigrants in large numbers and offers them excellent job opportunities.
Stay back after studies/work permit
Being an immigrant-friendly country, the US offers great stay back options to its international students. As an F1 student visa holder, you get permission to work for 1 year after completion of your program if you choose to take up a job in your field of study. You need to apply under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) process.
Further, if you are pursuing any of the STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) you may be allowed a 24-month extension. This means you can continue to stay in the US for 3 years after finishing your course of study and enjoy the amazing lifestyle of the USA. For more details on eligibility, you should visit the official website of USCIS.
Student part-time jobs and wage rates
If you want to gain a complete experience of the culture and lifestyle of the USA, you should take up part-time jobs with your course.
As opposed to other countries, international students are only allowed to work 20 hours a week and that too on the campus for 1st-year students, according to the visa guidelines of the US. Further, this makes it easy for you to find part-time jobs. Some of the popular on-campus jobs in the US universities include:
1. Library Monitor
2. Teaching Assistant
3. Peer Tutor
4. Book Store Assistant
5. Campus Tech Support
Your employer will be required to obtain a certificate from the Department of Labor so that you receive no less than 85% of the minimum wage.
How to find a part-time job
If you wish to work off-campus while you study in the USA, you will need permission from the USCIS and an authorization letter from your university.
While a good CV is a prerequisite, here are some ways to find a good part-time job:
Contact the International Students Office and the Career Guidance Cell in your institution for current and upcoming vacancies in local businesses.
Look for job vacancies in local newspapers, magazines, and community websites.
Visit popular websites like Simply Hired, Craigslist, and CollegeGrad for job vacancies.
Join relevant groups on LinkedIn to Facebook for the latest updates in the job market.
Job culture ethics
Americans consider work over everything. Their jobs define them to a great extent and this might be a great cultural difference you feel when you take up jobs there.
While they do not follow a strict hierarchy, the chain of command is clear in the American organizations that are highly professional.
Popular student cities
The universities in the USA occupy almost half of the top 10 universities in the world. Ranked on the parameters like student diversity and employer activity, the education system in the USA invites students from around the globe. There are many perks of studying in the USA. With more than 4,000 universities, colleges, and institutions to choose from, it offers an ocean of opportunities to international students who choose to study abroad in USA.
Some of the best student cities in the USA include:
American People and Culture
History of USA
Discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, America was once colonized by Britain. In the 16ht century, several colonies waged a war against their rulers in what is known as the American Revolution.
The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and since then America became an independent country that kept on expanding itself and gave birth to the present culture of the United States of America.
With an estimated population of 331,257,970, the USA is the third-most populated country in the world. Immigration is the major reason behind the rapid increase of its population.
The culture of the United States of America is a melting pot composed of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, etc. Being a country founded by immigrants, you will see numerous languages spoken here. While English is the major language spoken by Americans, the country doesn’t have any official language to date.
If you are concerned about meeting Hindi-speaking people while you study in the USA, data suggest that Hindi is the largest spoken Indian language in the US. Other than Hindi, all major Indian languages like Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and Marathi are spoken widely among the Indian diaspora in the US.
As far as other foreign languages are concerned, a lot of people in the US speak Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, German, and French.
The USA is a huge country composed of people from different parts of the world. It, therefore, celebrates several events throughout the year. Some of them are:
1. New Year’s Day: January 1
2. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Third Monday in January
3. Presidents’ Day: Third Monday in February
4. Memorial Day: Last Monday in May
5. Independence Day: July 4
6. Labor Day: First Monday in September
7. Columbus Day: Second Monday in October
8. Veterans Day: November 11
9. Thanksgiving: Fourth Thursday in November
10. Christmas Day: December 25
When in the USA, you can enjoy these annual events with the local population and experience the best of the culture of the United States.
Apart from native Americans, its population is made up of immigrants from other countries, making it a culturally diverse nation. Every region in the USA has its own traditions. However, the nation celebrates a few festivals that are loved and enjoyed by all.
Indian festivals in USA
Indian students are increasingly choosing to study in the USA contributing largely to the country’s immigrant population. The existing Indian diaspora in the United States makes it easy for them to adjust and settle in a foreign country.
These Indian communities celebrate all major Indian festivals in the USA like Diwali, Holi, Navratri, etc. Moreover, every year, we see an intense display of patriotism among Indians living in the USA on Indian Independence Day.
With all this and more in the culture of the United States, you won’t feel alone.
Health and Safety in USA
American health system for international students
While getting a chance to study in the USA for Indian students is enormous, it also comes with its cons. Healthcare is costly in the United States and is not funded by the government. Health and safety in the USA is therefore a big concern for those coming from abroad.
Most of the universities in the US offer medical insurance plans to their students and other on-campus facilities. You can make the best use of these offers to minimize the medical costs while you study in the USA.
Insurance & providers
Medical costs in the US can be high. Therefore the state makes it mandatory for international students to get insurance in order to ensure their health and safety in the USA. While most of the US colleges and universities have standard medical insurance plans in place, they might offer limited coverage.
Student helping NGOs in USA
One of the most important things for students who study in the USA is money management. If you face any problems in the United States you can contact the following NGOs.
1. AAUW Education Foundation
3. Federal Student Aid
4. Institute for International Education
You can contact these NGOs in emergencies for support. We also provide you with a list of other organizations that can be of help and ensure your health and safety in the USA.
Student Support Centers
When you study in the USA, you can be sure of the wide availability of student support programs to help you. From accommodation to fees and studies, these centers help you with everything you need assistance in for better health and safety in the USA.
You can visit the website of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to know more about their student support programs.
In case of emergency, international students in the USA are advised to approach their university’s support centers.
Alternatively, for emergencies related to crime or disasters, you can call 911.
Best Places to Visit in USA
World-class cities, historical architecture, fun, and glamour, there’s a lot to see in the USA. While the best places to visit in the USA may vary according to individual interests, here are some common favorites.
This isn’t the exhaustive list of the best places to visit in the USA. There are other remarkable places like Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, etc.
Immigration & Citizenship in USA
The US continues to be the top choice of students who want to study abroad and the quest doesn’t end here. The lifestyle of the USA is such that immigrants want to stay there and search for options on how to get American citizenship.
Let’s give you more information about the student visas in the country to get started.
F1 student visa
Students applying for a program that requires more than 18 hours of study can apply for the F1 visa. This includes all undergraduate programs as well as postgraduate programs like MS, MBA, etc.
J1 Exchange Visitor Visa
Students, visiting scholars and lecturers pursuing an exchange program in the USA need to apply for this visa. Detailed US Immigration Rules with regard to this visa can be read here.
M1 vocational/non-academic student visa
This visa is reserved for students who want to pursue a course in vocational and technical schools. While the process and US Immigration Rules to apply for this visa remain the same as that of F1, students cannot overstay their visit in this case.
Extend your visa
To renew an F1 visa you must follow the same process as the initial F1 visa application. You should apply for F1 visa renewal outside of the US, preferably at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
For more details on application and extension of the student visa, visit the website of Bureau of Consular Affairs.
United States’ plan to invite immigrants
The coronavirus pandemic has halted the immigration patterns and procedures of the USA as of now. For a country that has been integrating lakhs of immigrants every year, this is a big deal.
As of now, there’s no update on any plans to invite immigrants. We will keep you updated about the latest changes.
Post-study work visa
As an F1 student visa holder, you get permission to work for 1 year after completion of your program if you choose to take up a job in your field of study. For this, you need to apply under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) feature.
Further, if you are pursuing any of the STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) you may be allowed a 24-month extension. This means you can continue to stay in the US for 3 years after finishing your course of study. If you wish to stay further you can read the procedure on how to get American citizenship here.
PR & Citizenship
A lawful permanent resident is granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely. Permanent residence includes the right to work in the US for most employers. Permanent residents continue to hold citizenship of another country and are not eligible to vote in the national elections.
If you wish to gain permanent residency, you need to fulfill several requirements mentioned on the official website. Those willing to gain Citizenship can know more about how to get American Citizenship on the same website.
Spouse/ family members & dependents
The conditions for spouses and family members of those visiting the USA for study are different under different categories of visas.
1. Spouses or children accompanying F1 visa holders will travel on an F2 visa. They are not allowed to work in the US but may accompany and/or apply for their visa to the US to work or study.
2. Spouses or children accompanying J1 Visa holders will travel on a J-2 Visa. They are allowed to work in the USA when permission is obtained in advance.
While the country doesn’t require you to speak any particular language to grant a visa, it is understandable that students who wish to pursue an education in the United States are fluent in English. This will make their stay convenient.
For complete details about eligibility and procedure of how to get American citizenship click here.