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Big city universities vs. rural universities: what is the best choice for me?

You finally received the answers from all the universities you applied to. Congratulations! It is now time to make the final choice. Many foreign students target different kinds of universities for a study abroad program and find it difficult to choose between a city or a rural university. You like the countryside but also want to experience the active American life? You want to enjoy life on campus and find new local friends, but traveling in the States or flying to the countries near by for Spring Break is also part of your plan? If that dilemma sounds familiar to you, read our below tips to choose the type of university for your study abroad experience.

A rural university is for you if:
You want to deeply immerse yourself in American Culture and to connect with local people. A Rural University will surely be the best place for you to improve your English and to experience a new cultural environment.
You like the outdoors, the countryside and are dreaming of playing sports in your university. Usually, rural Universities have huge campuses with very impressive stadiums and a strong sports culture, and you should not miss the Friday night football game experience while you are there. Some campuses are close to amazing nature preserves, such as the University of Colorado in Boulder which is practically in nature and is a car ride away from Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you prefer quiet and want to focus on your studies rather than being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a big city – a rural university in most likely the right choice for you.

A city university is for you if:
You want to experience a cosmopolitan atmosphere and are a big fan of Melting Pot. Studying in New York city, Boston or San Francisco is a once in a lifetime experience and you will have the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. You will end up celebrating Chinese new year and eating turkey for Thanksgiving!
You like museums, exhibits and concerts and you see your study abroad experience as a cultural exploration. Exploring cities like New York City or San Francisco can take your entire year abroad. You will never have enough of all the different cultural events big cities can offer.
You have a large budget and are ready to spend more on hobbies and every day activities. Student life is definitely more expensive in big cities. You should prepare your budget in advance and have it in mind once you make your final choice. Food, hobbies, transportation, housing, are not all on the same level when comparing certain big city universities.
Another advantage of choosing a city university is that you will likely be able to walk to school every day as well as walk to other attractions around town. If you like to walk, this can make a difference for you.
The major metropolitan cities in the US also have airports that reach most destinations worldwide, so if you plan to travel during winter or spring break, or plan to visit home during your time abroad, it will be easier to reach your destination from the big cities.
Before making your choice, remember that the US is a very different place than most other countries. Going to a remote city can be much farther away than what you know from your home country, and on the other hand, a big US city can be much bigger than any city you have seen, and may be overwhelming for some.
We hope these tips will help you to make the best choice for your study abroad experience. Whatever choice you make, the study abroad experience is sure to have an impact on the rest of your life and career.
Want to know more? Need help with applying to universities abroad?

Trump’s H-1B Visa changes: should you care?

Whether you are an international student, a prospective student, a faculty member or an employer in the United States you need to know (and care) about the H1-B Visa. Student visas such as the F-1 visa, the F-2 Visa, J-1 visa, J-2 visa allow foreigners to study (and in some cases – work for a set period of time) in the US, but the H1-B visa gives the permit to stay and work even after graduation and after the completion of CPT or OPT. The ability to obtain a work visa can be a determining factor for international students aiming to come to the US, for financial reasons and for career development reasons.

Recently, on April 18th, 2017 President Donald Trump issued a specific Executive Order in which he orders to prioritize the hiring of American citizens and added some conditions and provisions to the H1-B visas in this context. If you are in the process of applying to a study abroad program, or are planning to apply for this specific visa after your graduation, read the below article and first of all - do not panic!
The H1B Visa
Already found a job in the United States? If so, this visa is for you. Among different work visas in the US the H1-B visa is given to foreigners in "special occupations" with a request from the employer with a preference to international graduates who studied in the US and have a master’s degree. The visa is given out by “lottery” and the process can take about six months.
There are three requirements for this visa
1. You need to at least have a bachelor’s degree. You will have an advantage if you have a higher degree related to the job which you are hired to do.
2. You need to already have a job offer when applying for this visa. The job position needs to be in the field of math, engineering, business, medicine and other STEM fields and related to what you studied.
3. You must be paid the prevailing wage for the position which you will be working in. You cannot ask for a lower salary just to get sponsored for an H1-B visa.  
Not everyone can get an H1-B
There is a cap on the H-1B visas given out and it’s only handed to 85,000 people each fiscal year. But, if you are seeking to obtain the visa to work in a higher education institution, a nonprofit organization related to education or a government organization, you should not worry since these institutions are cap-exempt.
You should also know that this visa is given for up to three years. It can be extended but usually not for more than six years.
The recent Trump Executive Order is mostly a warning given by the Trump administration regarding the recruitment of programmers in the field of Information Technology and the consequences for foreign students are not yet clear. For the moment, it will probably add some more time to an already very long process.
Why this is important to international students
Choosing a study destination is based on parameters such as the study program, location, weather, university ranking, and more. As a prospective student who is thinking about a future in a new land, you should also take into consideration immigration policies. The fact is that most international students move back to their home country after graduation and do not pursue a career in their country of study, in many cases due to immigration issues.
Due to the high costs of studying in the US for international students, having the opportunity for employment in the Unites States and being able to stay for work and even one day to immigrate, should be a major factor towards deciding whether or not to study in the US in the first place (unless of course you have an endless amount of cash).
Want to know more? Need help with applying to universities abroad?