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International Students & American Studies

Coming to America

The United States attracts students from around the world with it's diversity and educational opportunity. The U.S. Can boast of the some of the finest institutions of higher education in the world, and foreign students are eager to secure a chance to study in America. But students from overseas need to familiarize themselves with the requirements they will need to meet before they will be able to join the American student body.

Visa Information

The first thing students wishing to study in the United States need to do is to secure a student visa. There are two types of visas, the F1 and the M1. The F1 student visa applies to foreign students enrolled in academic programs at an American college or university. The M1 applies to students enrolled in vocational training. To be eligible for either of these visas, students must provide documented proof of acceptance by an accredited U.S. School. The college or university will provide foreign students with an I-20 form which will act as proof of enrollment. The I-20 is an essential document that provides information on a student's financial status and course of enrollment, and will be available to foreign students from their college or university.

For detailed information on the terms and conditions for educational entry into the United States, visit the U.S. State Department's page on Student Visas.

international students

Primer on U.S. Colleges and Universities

Foreign students considering studying in the United States should know a little about the types of schools available to them. American schools are often categorized by type, and by the degree programs they offer.

Types of colleges and universities in the United States include:

  • two-year colleges
  • four-year universities
  • community colleges
  • distance learning colleges
  • graduate schools
  • post-graduate schools
  • vocational and trade schools

Colleges are also differentiated by the types of courses they offer. American colleges commonly break down into distinct schools catering to particular fields of study. The following list includes the most common study programs available to international students planning to attend college or university in the United States of America.

  • Business schools: These specialize in business-related degrees, such as accounting, advertising, economics and international business
  • Computer schools: These offer computer-related degrees in fields such as artificial intelligence, computer graphics, computer programming, and software engineering
  • Health/medical schools: Medical schools offer healthcare related degrees for students studying pharmaceutical science, nursing, surgery, general medicine and veterinary sciences.
  • Law schools: These provide law-related degrees for students pursuing careers in criminal justice and the legal profession.
  • Liberal arts/humanities: these colleges specialize in liberal arts-related degrees in areas such as history, literature, music, philosophy, performing arts and political studies

Preparing for Your Trip to the United States

International students preparing to visit the United States to attend a college or university will need to have all of their immunizations and vaccinations current. Proof of vaccinations will be required to obtain a student visa. Routine vaccinations include influenza, chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) and diphtheria/tetanus (DPT). Students will not be admitted into the United States without proof of their immunization status.

Where to Study in the United States

One of the most important decisions foreign students will need to make is where in the United States they would like to attend college. It is a large country, and choice of location will greatly influence any educational experience. Climate varies greatly, and does local culture, and not all students will be comfortable in all parts of the country.

Most international students choose a major metropolitan area in which to attend college. The areas are much more cosmopolitan, and foreign students often find it easier to adjust and fit in to these larger multicultural cities. Popular choices include New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Boston. Foreign students should devote a fair measure of research to the colleges they are considering, as well as to where those schools are located.

ISO: International Student Organization

The International Student Organization, or ISO, is a membership organization designed to help students studying in America. ISO's website provides information that can help you as you plan your trip to America. In addition, ISO is a leading provider of international student health insurance. Having health insurance is necessary when traveling to the United States. ISO has two popular plans for international students, the COMPASS and ISO Med plans. Check out the ISO website for coverage information and to sign up.

The International Student Organization, or ISO, is a membership organization designed to help foreign students studying in the United States. The ISO provides valuable information to international students planning their first trip to the U.S., and also provides much needed support to foreign students after they come to the country. The ISO also the leading provider of health insurance for international students. Health insurance is required for foreign students traveling to the U.S., and the ISO offers the COMPASS, ISO Med and US NetCare plans for non-citizen students studying in the United States.

International students planning to study in the United States will find much to learn and much to enjoy during their stay in the country. America offers students some of the best educational opportunities in the world. If you are considering a trip to the U.S. to pursue your education, plan ahead and be prepared to meet all requirements for foreign students studying abroad.