Subscribe Popup

- See more at:

10 facts you need to know about studying in the Netherlands

The Netherlands hosts approximately 70,000 international students each year. What makes the Netherlands an interesting study destination and what should you know before deciding to study there? Here are 10 quick facts you should know:

1. Don’t get confused: It is “the Netherlands”, Holland is only a certain area in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a small country, it has a total area of 41,526 sq. km (16,033 sq. miles). Comparatively, The Netherlands is slightly less than twice the size of the state of New Jersey.
Besides its small size, it is very different across its various regions. You have the coastal towns which are very different than the towns inland. Many people don’t know if the right name for the country is The Netherlands or Holland. Holland is only the name of the region in the west coastal area of the country. This area contains the three most thickly settled cities: Amsterdam, the capital, the Hague, the city in which the government seated, and Rotterdam, One of Europe’s largest port. For many people around the world, "Holland" is used to describe the whole country.

By Michal Klajban (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

2. There’s a different way of learning

Instead of large lectures, many classes take place in groups of 4-10 people. There is no focus on how you work and how much effort you put in the project, it is mostly about the results. The professor of the class doesn’t do most of the talking, he or she expects that you participate in the class and express your opinion. This way of learning is very different from the way of learning in other countries.

3. Everybody is always on time

In the Netherlands everybody always arrives on time, no matter what for. You also do not go home earlier than allowed. You could say that this is similar to the Germans or the Swiis, but people in the Netherlands will never admit that their on time mentality stems from the proximity of those countries.

4. Learn some Dutch

Because of the size of the country and the fact that most of the neighboring countries speak different languages, almost everybody in the Netherlands speaks English. Although it is highly recommended to learn some basic Dutch, so you are able to read signs and relevant information. So try to find some time in your class schedule to learn some Dutch.

5. Technical equipment

Dutch universities have all the equipment you ever dreamed about. You’re allowed to use all the newest technical equipment, for example, a 3D printer. Don’t be shy and feel free to ask if you want to make use of such equipment.

6. Transport yourself on a bike

The Netherlands is the bike riding country, everywhere you look you see people biking. In fact there are more bikes than citizens in the Netherlands! So if you do not know how to ride a bike yet, make it a priority to learn. The Netherlands is full of specialized bike paths so you can ride your bike safely separated from the normal road where the cars travel.

7. Sunday is a day of rest

Most stores and supermarkets outside of the major cities are closed on Sundays. Restaurants, similarly, will largely be closed. If you come from a place where everything is open on Sunday it will take some time to get used to it. So if you are arriving during the weekend make sure you have some food for the first days.

8. The place of opportunity

The universities have close connections with many companies based in and outside of the Netherlands. There are different reasons why companies have close relations with universities, one of them being that the students are using the latest technology, and the companies want feedback on it. Another major reason is that companies recruit employees from the universities, so there is a chance that when you graduate, you may already have a job secured in your field.

9. Get a residence permit

As a Canadian or American citizen you can stay in Europe for a maximum of 3 months on a tourist visa. So if you’re planning to study in the Netherlands, you should get a Visa or a residence permit. The best thing to do is to start this process up in your home country, and you can finish it once you arrive in the Netherlands. The most important things you have to arrange in order to get a Visa is to prove that you have enough funds for the entire duration of your study. You also have to prove that you have health insurance for the duration of your stay. Carry your Visa like it is your ID. You can travel with your Visa within Europe without any problems, and if you get stopped, your Visa proves that you are staying legally in the Netherlands.

10. Be open minded

In the Netherlands people, but also universities, are very open minded. They are open to new ideas or different approaches to different problems. As a foreigner, you may think differently about a certain problem or idea, it is a special gift when everybody is open to hearing your ideas.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” - Albert Einstein

This post was written by Sam Koekoek, an intern at GradTrain. Sam is from Amsterdam and is spending the winter with GradTrain working on social media, marketing and content creation. Sam is always into the latest technology. Don't be surprised if you see him walking around with multiple devices before the rest of the world has them.

5 Tips to prepare your social media before applying to university in the US

Guest post by: Rep'nUp

“Are you a bird watcher? Are you an artist? Are you a musician? An athlete? All of those things you can showcase online. You can show what your passion is and let that shine through.” Gina Carrol, blogger and author.

In her podcast, 24 Things You can Do with Social Media to Get into College, Carroll talks to young American students about their online social media reputation and the importance of that image to college admissions.

With colleges becoming increasingly selective, more admissions officers are turning to social media to gain further insight into their applicants. In a television interview with Mass Appeal on NBC, Paul Hemphill, author of Planning for College, states that colleges are interested in social networks because they answer the question “who are you?” Hemphill comments that college applications can easily be forged to create a perfect impression, while social media sites are more likely to reveal the student’s true persona.

Many agencies have reported on the importance of social media and college admissions including Forbes, IvyWise and The New York Times. A survey conducted by Cornerstone Reputation in 2014 found that 40% of admissions officers searched applicants online. A subsequent 2015 survey of college athletic coaches reported that 83% reviewed social media profiles of prospective athletes.  Studies also show, that what is being found online can hurt your chances of acceptance. A survey from Kaplan Test Prep in 2013 indicated that 30% of admission recruiters who used Facebook to review an applicant found content that negatively impacted the student’s application.

Given these facts, it is important to prepare your social media profiles before you apply to an American college. Use these simple tips to can ensure your online reputation represents the best of you.

1. Have a presence. In the US today, not belonging to a social network says a lot about you. According to this survey from CareerBuilder, 35% of employers are less likely to grant an interview to an applicant who doesn’t appear online. Hemphill states in his interview “If they can’t find you on Facebook they’re going to decide you have something to hide.” If recruiters can’t find you online, they may conclude that you are socially unaware, or worse, are deliberately concealing your profile to hide inappropriate content. Furthermore, not having an account leads you to miss out on the opportunity to create a relationship with your prospective schools. Having an online presence allows admissions officers to put a face to a name, learn more about you, and relate to you on a more personal level. 

2. Delete inappropriate material. As was stated previously, 30% of admissions officers found material that negatively impacted an applicant’s acceptance. It is imperative that you carefully review your online history for inappropriate content. Remember that every culture is different, and when going to America you have to adjust to their customs. For example, alcohol, which is not considered offensive in Europe, is regarded as particularly inappropriate in America. Make sure to remove images on your profile of underage drinking, partying, smoking, drugs, explicit content, etc. As Carroll says in her podcast “If you have 1200 pictures and 699 are you at a party, what does that say about your priority with regard to your time?”  Also, be sure to review old posts and status updates that may include swear words, racist remarks, or angry rants. Remember that what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook, forever. You can use free applications like Rep’nUp to easily clean up your social networking sites.

3. Showcase your personality. Shape your online presence to highlight your personality and individuality. Post things that humanize you so the university can get to know you. Colleges want to see that you are close with your family, have interesting hobbies, and are overall a well-rounded individual. Since colleges use Facebook to verify your resume, make sure your online presence reinforces your hobbies and interests expressed in your application. If you wrote that you are passionate about science, make sure to follow scientists that inspire you.  Hemphill suggests putting up photos of projects or trips you’ve participated in and what you’ve learned from them.  Also be sure to review your old Liked pages. Since pages don’t have a date it’s not clear which pages you may have liked ten years ago in high school, and which pages reflect who you are today.

4. Use timeline review. While it’s important to monitor what you post, don’t let your profile be tarnished by that careless friend with less than ideal judgement. Your social media image can easily be ruined by someone tagging you in a photo or posting on your wall. To prevent this, check out Facebook’s Timeline review tool that allows you to control what others post on your wall to help maintain your positive image.

5. Take action. Now that you have the perfect online presence that presents you as the impeccable and impressive individual that you are– get out there and use it to your advantage. Carroll suggests virtually interacting with your perspective schools “early and often.” She advises to register on their websites sites and follow them on social media even before applying to get on their radar. Consistently engaging with a college is a way to demonstrate your interest in the school, which is vital to them believing they are your priority. Schools don’t want to be your fallback option; they want to know that if they offer you an acceptance, you will take it. This article from PBS states that some universities use data analysis algorithms on your social media profiles to determine if you are worth investing in. Schools don’t want to invest in you if it is likely that you won’t make it to graduation.

Social media in the United States can play a large role in college admissions. By following these simple tips to adjustyour social media accounts you can ensure your online perception is maximized for the American admission process.

Rep’nUp is a social media reputation management service that helps a user clean up their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. This free application uses world class image processing algorithms to scan a user’s profile and identify potentially harmful photos and posts, allowing the user to better manage their online reputation. Check it out here at

Public vs. private universities in the US: 4 key differences

When studying abroad in the United States, many factors can go into choosing a university to study at. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make sure you are picking the right school for you. One of the biggest choices to make is what type of university you want to study abroad at - private or public
In the U.S. there are two main categories that schools fit into. A government subsidized public institution, and a private institution. Both of these university systems have their own advantages and disadvantages. We will go through the four key aspects of both types of schools so you can be sure you are picking your ideal university type.

Pictured: College of Charleston

One of the major things to consider when choosing an institution type is cost. Because you are most likely coming from abroad, you will not be qualified for in-state tuition for a public university. Although still cheaper than the average private school, you will be paying substantially more than your in-state counterpart. Keep in mind that this is without any financial aid, scholarships, or grants. Applying for these awards can dramatically change the costs for university.

Public University:
  • Average yearly tuition cost: $20,000-$25,000 (Out-of-state)
  • Average yearly total cost: $35,000-$40,000 (Including dorms, meals, books, etc.)

Private University:
  • Average yearly tuition cost: $30,000-$40,000 (can be higher than $50,000)
  • Average yearly total cost: $50,000-$70,000


Another thing to consider is the quality of education you will be getting. There is a myth that private colleges are more prestigious and exclusive than public schools. While this may be accurate for the most prestigious schools in the nation, overall, many public universities are on par with private ones. Quality of education also, will depend completely on the individual university, your major, and your academic goals. A school that is prestigious for someone else might not be prestigious for you because of these considerations. When looking into education quality, be sure to do your homework and do a quick web search to give you current-year rankings for all universities. These lists include both private and public institutions in the top 25.


Available majors is also a very important aspect to look at. Public schools are going to have a much more broad selection of academic programs they offer. While private schools will most likely have more specific major tracks for students. Just be sure to research your major field of studyand match up schools that fit all of the major requirements you need.


Life beyond graduation is also something to consider. When applying for jobs, the individual school you go to can have a huge impact on whether you get that interview, or that job. Especially in the US, the ranking of the school you went to could haunt you for the rest of your life (or make your life much easier). In some cases, especially in the extremes of the school rankings charts, it will indeed have a very strong impact. Being an Ivy League (Harvard / Yale / Columbia / Penn etc.) graduate allows many advantages and career opportunities and provides a network of peers who will be able to help you with business and personal development later on in your career. A good university serves as a proxy that you are a good job / academia candidate and will open many doors for you. There is also probably a strong correlation between a school being ranked as a top university and the actual quality of that school.

Overall both public and private universities have many similarities and differences. The most important thing is to make an informed decision when you consider your study abroad options. Do your research and talk to people who studied at the schools you are considering, whether they are public or private.

A Guide to Navigating U.S. Cities for International Students

There are many things to consider and research before beginning your study abroad adventure. One of the most important being how you will get around in your new city. Coming from Europe and Asia where transportation is abundant, you may be surprised by the amount of public transportation (or lack thereof). Depending on where your school is located in the U.S. Don’t get discouraged too quickly, as there can be many options available in the United States for easily accessible transportation services. It is important to research your options before you arrive so you know what to expect when you arrive. This will save you time, money, and the stress that comes along with traveling abroad.

Before coming to the U.S., you will need to book an international flight. Although this can be expensive, there are many websites to get the best deals on flights to your destination. It is recommended to book a flight about 3-6 months ahead of your arrival, if possible. This will give you the most options and the cheapest price for your ticket. Once this is set, you can start thinking about how you will travel domestically. The United States is a very diverse place with different methods of transportation. This post will highlight major regions in the U.S. and the most efficient ways to get around.

Northeastern region (New York City, Boston, New Jersey)

Your best bet for traveling in these parts of the country is definitely public transportation. Each of these cities has their own transit system which is highly efficient. New York is known for its superior underground train and bus system and can take you anywhere in the 5 boroughs, 24 hours a day. If you’re attending school in the city, you will definitely want to purchase a monthly unlimited pass which is currently about $116. For those of you attending school outside of the city, don’t fret because there is also the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) which runs to and from the city.
By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York [CC BY 2.0   

Boston also has one of the best transportation systems in the country and is known as the “T”. This includes subway, bus, trolley car and boat service to just about everywhere in the Boston area. You will need to purchase a CharlieCard which will run you about $75 for a 30-day unlimited pass. 

New Jersey operates on it’s own transportation system called the New Jersey Transit and it includes rain, bus, or light rail. The NJ Transit is actually very favorable for students and participates in a University Partnership Program to allow students to receive discounts on their monthly passes and cheap rail fares. Click here to see all New Jersey universities who participate in the partnership program. You will need to purchase this through your university. Transportation in these cities might sound like a big expense, but you will actually save a lot of money compared to refilling your gas tank once a week!


The West Coast (Los Angeles, San Francisco)

Los Angeles is a big, spread out city with many diverse districts. Many L.A. residents will tell you that getting around without a car is a headache, but truthfully driving your own car can also be a headache due to traffic. There are a variety of ways to get around by using public transportation and the city is continuously working on making it easier to commute around L.A. without a car. Los Angeles operates a rail system, bus system, and the DASH.
The Metro Trip Planner is a great tool to use to tell you how to get to and from your destination, as well as bus numbers and schedules. If you’re attending California State University, there are many options to get you to and from school and it is the only university in Southern California to have a train station so close to the campus. For those of you attending University of Southern California, there are also plenty of ways to commute. All of this information can be found on USC’s transportation page

Public transport is the preferred method for getting around San Francisco and the Bay Area. There are many options which are all efficient and reliable. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is a great choice for University of California - Berkeley students and is the primary mode of transportation for travel between downtown San Francisco and the popular Mission District. This city has such a variety of transportation from its unique cable cars to its well-situated ferry service. The MUNI, BART, and CalTrain are all great ways that are easily accessible to many universities throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area.                              
    By Maurits90 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach)

South Florida is a metropolitan city that unfortunately lacks in public transportation. Miami and the surrounding cities is very much a driving culture, but there are a couple of options for those without a car. Students attending Miami-Dade County universities can obtain a College EASY Ticket which is not only a monthly bus pass, but it allows you to use the People Mover for a discounted price of about $56 per month. Uber is also a great service for getting around in Miami and parts of South Florida and is definitely accessible around most college campuses. Uber is a cheap pre-ordered taxi service that can get you from point A to point B at a reasonable price. You can also use the city taxi system, but they are going to be more expensive and a hassle to get on the spot.


Lastly, the priciest option for travel in the U.S. is going to be getting a personal car while you are abroad. This process can be complex, but if you get started early enough, this can be a great option for a student in a smaller city. In the United States, international students can drive with their home-country license for up to 1 year. 

By familiarizing yourself with all of these options before arriving, you can be sure to have an easier time getting around in the city you are studying abroad in. We hope this information will guide you in the right direction for transportation abroad in the United States. 

If you need more information on a specific city that wasn’t listed here, you always have the option of contacting a GradTrain coach to speak to one-on-one about any additional questions. They are here to make each aspect of your abroad experience easier and hassle free. We have coaches from all over the U.S. who have experience in getting around the cheapest, most efficient way in each city.

4 tips to make your study abroad dream a reality

While international student applicant numbers are consistently increasing, admission rates are decreasing, proving it more challenging to enter the U.S. higher education system today. Even as more U.S. universities are internationalizing, the selection process is becoming more competitive. There are many factors that grant international students a spot in a U.S. university, therefore, students need to be more well-rounded than ever and less reliant on their scores than before.

 Photo by Elisa.rolle [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. higher education market is not as heavily focused on test scores and grades as countries like the U.K. and Australia are. U.S. universities are also looking for candidates who engage in extracurricular activities and community service. Students must really make themselves stand out and highlight what they can bring to the university not only academically, but socially as well.
If you think you don’t have what it takes to be admitted to a U.S. university or have been rejected on your first try, here are some tips to consider for your next round of applications.
1. Consider your options
International students tend to hear more about U.S. Ivy league schools or schools in largely populated, metropolitan U.S. cities. They learn about these schools through media and never really get to know many of the other great schools and programs around the country. Ivy league universities are extremely selective and have very low acceptance rates so applying to lesser-known schools will give you a better chance of getting accepted. Universities and colleges that are not located in the most populated cities, such as the Northeastern region, tend to get fewer applicants from international students. Therefore, it would be in the best interest of the international student to apply to these, not necessarily smaller, but lesser-known schools. For a student who wants to get professional experience during their time at university, Drexel University has something called a “Co-operative education” program where, rather than spending a term in the classroom, you can get real-world experience with a full-time job in your field. The great news is that this opportunity is afforded to international students, granted they obtain proper work authorization. If you’re looking to get a degree from a top New York university, but don’t want the permanent hustle bustle of the city, SUNY at Stony Brook (located in Long Island), is rated one of the U.S.’ top 40 universities and is located only a short train ride away from the big city! The majority of U.S. higher education institutions have internationalization on their radar and many are still at low numbers of international student enrollment. There are also advantages of going to smaller schools especially when it comes to smaller class sizes, and a more personalized experience. You can find a list of 50 underrated, but great schools in up and coming cities around the U.S. that will most definitely fit the description of what you’re looking for in a university, on and off campus.
2. Get over the financial barrier
First of all, if you are an international student who doesn’t need financial aid, this is something that needs to be expressed in your application because it is much more difficult getting admitted as a student who requires financial assistance. It is suggested that international students who require financial aid should begin by researching universities who offer financial aid to international students before applying to universities that do not. On the other hand, some U.S. universities have what is called “need-blind” admission policies. This means that they do not consider applicants’ financial situation when deciding whether or not to accept them. In some cases, schools will only offer need-blind admission with no promise of financial aid, but there are also schools with “full-need pledges” attached to their admission policies. The most recent to be added to the list of need-blind schools, is Massachusetts-based college, Amherst. It is even possible to study in the US for free if you research your options.
3. Familiarize yourself with standardized tests

   Photo by Gnarlycraig [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Standardized tests are structured very differently from tests in other countries, therefore, it’s important to familiarize oneself with the test before taking it. Taking practice tests can really increase your performance and speed on the day of the actual exam. Make sure to take the exam within enough time to receive the results before the application deadline. Give yourself at least 3 months for paper-based exams and 2 months for computer-based exams. If you’re dissatisfied with your results, you can retake the test so make sure to take this into account and register very early. Become familiar with the GRE before you begin studying.
4. Overcompensate for standardized exams and TOEFL scores
First of all, do your research and decide which exams are right for you. If you are planning to attend a university in the U.S., you will definitely want to opt for the TOEFL exam, whereas if you plan to study in the U.K. or Australia, the IELTS will be a better option for you. Check out a detailed description of both here: TOEFL vs. IELTS: The Big Decision. If you didn’t do so great on either of these exams, don’t worry, you still have your chance to make a great impression through your personal statement and/or letter of interest. It is so important to set yourself apart from others on personal statements so the school can get a better idea of what type of student you will be and how you will fir in and adjust to the classroom. Use some of our tips on how to set yourself apart when applying to schools abroad.
The most important thing is to not get discouraged or give up on your dream of studying abroad just because you didn’t get accepted to a top U.S. university or college. You can get a superior education at many U.S. schools and should never limit yourself to only the most well-known. It would be helpful if you took some time to think about what is important to you in the city where you will be living and studying and spend some time researching the environment and lifestyle of a variety of U.S cities. You may find that a less traditional city has more to offer and is more appealing for the lifestyle you are used to back home. For example, if you have your heart set on studying at an Ivy League school in New York City, but are someone who is happiest living close to nature, you may want to consider other great schools (check out northern New York state) that fit your personality so that you will be able to get the most out of your new city. It’s worth exploring your options. Studying abroad will not only impact your career, it will change your life and the way you view the world, so make sure you choose a program and city that that is right for you.


Cheap activities in and around US university campuses

Though the main point of attending a university abroad is to study, receive a diploma in your respective field and enhance your career, it is important to realize that planned-relaxed free time is also vital to keep you focused and enjoy the experience of being in a different country. In and around most universities there are plenty of cheap activities that are sure to relieve one from the constant daunting workload of university.

Being a student gives you an advantage when wanting to pursue various activities, because many places provide student discounts that one can take advantage of. As discussed in previous blog posts about specific places like Boston, New York, and Zurich there are many options for activities one can find in and around the university. Our suggestion is to first look for engaging activities on campus and then turn to off campus options. The on campus activities tend to be cheaper than off campus.

On-campus activities

There is almost always something going on somewhere on campus, you just need to know where to look. Universities usually have either an online or physical event board on campus where groups post flyers about their events that are taking place. On the university's website there is almost always directly on the home page a tab that also lists the various events that are going on that week. Another good way to keep up to date with all the events and information about school activities, is to follow/like some of the university organizations on Facebook or Twitter, making sure you get notifications about events. Additionally, departments on campus usually like to host speakers and other discussion forums for individuals interested in topics related to the department’s field of research (or who want to learn something new). These events are usually free and open, though you may need to confirm your participation in advance (RSVP).

"Actress Rosie Fellner and director Nicolas Roeg at Crunch 2011" by Wiki 4321 - 
Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

American universities take lots of pride in their school colors, mascots, and especially their sports teams (if they have them). If you have an option to attend your school's sports game, it is a definite must. Being a student at that University usually either allows you to go to the game for a discounted price or completely for free. Even if you are not a huge fan of sports, it is a good way to get out of the schoolwork routine for a few hours and enjoy a fun experience cheering on your school’s team.

"College soccer fans indiana 2004" by Rick Dikeman, aka Rdikeman at en.wikipedia - 
Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Another option is to look at your school’s theatre department (if applicable). Many students - just like you - dedicate time and effort in planning and performing for adoring crowds, and are usually very good. Where it can easily cost upwards of $45 to see a show at a local theatre house, because these are on campus they are usually much cheaper, costing between $5-$15 (and sometimes free). The theatre is awaiting you.

"McCarter Theater auditorium from balcony Princeton" by Photo: Andreas Praefcke - 
Own work (own photograph). Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

No matter what time of year, you will see the gyms or physical education facilities packed with people looking to stay in shape or get out some stored energy from the day. Open almost all day, these facilities are usually free for students (who pay through student dues) and usually have up to date training equipment. If you are ever bored on campus go and find a gym or court to play on and kill some time for little to no cost.

"Personal Training at a Gym - Cable Crossover" by - 
Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Off-campus activities

Though they are probably a bit more pricey than on-campus activities, there are plenty of off campus activities one should take advantage of as well to break away from the regular school rhythm.

Sports: Just like your university, many cities have local teams be it high school, minor league or even some professional level that can be just as exciting and affordable as going to collegiate level games. This is your opportunity to see in real life the stars of the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL that you were watching from your home country. Other sports based options where you can practice sports are baseball batting cages, bowling alleys, ice-skating and roller-skating rinks, trampoline parks, and go-karting. All of these options tend to be on the inexpensive side and are a great way to hang out with friends away from the school work environment.

"Bowlerbowling" by Xiaphias. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Movies and Games: There are new movies created and screened constantly. Many times local movie theatres provide student discounts with the hope of bringing in more business for their theatre. Sometimes the theatres also have specials where double-features are shown or it is a specific time of year and certain themed movies are being shown (e.g. Halloween, Christmas). Also, in many movie theatres there are video game arcades where you can go, play games and possibly win prizes.

"San Francisco Rush 2049-Ms Pacman-Ambush Gun-Dragonball" by ilovemypit - Flickr. 
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Museums and Parks: For those who are more into culture/aesthetics/history, finding local museums and parks can be an affordable option for any student. Local parks are usually free to walk through and if it has a national certification, may also have an environmental center attached to it where you can learn about the local environment. Museums come in all shapes and sizes catering to various different interests from the ancient to modern, and in many cases have student discounts or free admission days.

"Washington in Albany". Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

These are a few ideas to get you started. Before making that final decision of where you want to go for school, make sure that you also check out online the activities both on and off campus in the cities you are considering. This will help you beat the daily grind of school and get the most out of your study abroad experience. There are plenty of affordable, enjoyable opportunities out there, all you need to do is search for them and get out of the library from time to time.