Boston, a hub of international students

Home to top universities such as Harvard and MIT, Boston provides a highly competitive, yet comfortable social environment. I completed my bachelor's in Global Marketing and Business Administration at Emmanuel College, Boston USA. Emmanuel is a liberal arts college located right in the heart of the city — a minute's walk away from the famous baseball stadium, Fenway Park.

Belonging to the colleges of the Fenway, you as a student have the ability to participate in countless intercollegiate activities, as well as expand your course options. The advantage about studying in a campus located in a vibrant college city like Boston is the focus placed on students and cultivating bright futures, not only on campus but off campus as well. Boston, being home to top universities such as Harvard, Boston University and MIT, is known for being a hub for international students. This makes for a comfortable social environment and gives you greater scope to land a prestigious internship or job in top firms since the environment around you is highly competitive yet nurturing to fresh graduates.

Alongside juggling a full course load each semester, I was the president of the International Student Club, worked at the International Student Office, and was involved across countless campus activities. My biggest piece of advice for Indian students coming to study in the U.S. would be to step out of your comfort zone. During orientation week, do not limit yourself to only attending events catered to the international students but also seek to involve yourself in all freshman orientation activities. That way you will get a chance to mix and mingle with the local students as well. In fact, contrary to popular belief and media portrayal of the ‘FOB' (fresh off the boat — think Raj from ‘Big Bang Theory'), American students are welcoming towards hearing about our culture. Join student associations and clubs that broaden your horizons.

Be prepared for a culture shock, but on the same note, be open towards the differences. Having lived abroad my whole life, acclimatizing was second nature to me. However, having aided friends who landed straight from India during my time there, I found that the key to feeling at home lies in your apt choice of college or university. Firstly you want to find a campus where you will thrive. If you are more comfortable with a smaller teacher-to-student ratio, then opt for colleges instead of universities. You will receive personalised attention and will not feel like just another fish in the sea. Though do not limit yourself to the four walls of your classroom. In a city like Boston, you must use your environment to your advantage. My classes were no more than 30 students a class, but I always made it a point to attend lectures at larger neighbouring campuses such as NorthEastern to expand my academic as well as social circle.

Beyond the academic atmosphere, it is important you find a campus where you find the campus life and activities to your taste. Research your options for housing well in advance so that you can hopefully be placed in your first choice. If you are lucky to know students currently at the university, speak to them.

As a freshman, it is always better to opt for having a roommate rather than a single room so that you do not isolate yourself outside of the classroom. Having a roommate for the first semester helps you feel comfortable in the initial months of making friends, having meals at the dining hall, and just a general sense of belonging.

Most importantly, beyond excelling in academics, enjoy the time you have abroad. Spend time sightseeing, visiting nearby cities (a big bonus in Boston, since New York is right next door) and of course, take lots of pictures because college abroad will truly be some of the best memories to look back on!
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