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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.
Still not sure what university is your best fit? Visit or download the GradTrain apps to try our university matching predictor! 


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