The Great American Dream!
If there was a country post world wars, where aspirations met opportunities in all forms, it has to be the United States of America popularly known as the USA. Founded by immigrants from Western Europe in the 15th century, the country has witnessed an avalanche of immigration of people, culture, values and most importantly ideas from all over the world in the last few centuries, and has made the country a boiling pot of innovation in science, technology, business and education. America has offered opportunity to everyone with a dream and willingness to struggle to achieve whatever they want: be it the case of India’s IndraNooyi becoming the CEO of Pepsi Co. or Obama, the son of a Kenyan immigrant becoming the president of the most powerful country in the world.
A federal republic constituting of 50 states, USA today stands tall in the world as a harbinger of democracy and a symbol of meritocracy in every sphere of life including nurturing of world class institutions providing learning opportunities to hundreds of thousands of international students. In terms of number, USA is the undisputed top destination for students interested in studying abroad.
Life and Culture in the USA
The US is not just an economically and technologically happening place; it is also one of the most vibrant societies of modern times. American culture is an amalgamation of cultures from across the globe. Though the initial influence in the evolution of American culture was overwhelmingly English, Scottish and Irish, today the wider American culture has taken a unique liberal form centered on egalitarianism, liberty and respect for individualism. One can find people from all the religions, ethnicity and speakers of different first languages in USA. Though English is the lingua franca in the entire country, Spanish language is fast emerging as the major second language, with official language status in commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the state of New Mexico. Indian immigrants, in general, blend well with the American society, given our prior knowledge of the English language and prior exposure to American culture through movies and television. Further, major American cities have a considerable number of Indian and South Asian population which enable Indian students to feel at home. It is not very difficult to find Indian groceries or restaurants in places such as New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia or Austin. However students studying at rural campuses, say in Iowa or Nebraska, might have to explore a bit.
Education System in the USA
The United States offers one of the most diverse forms of higher education opportunities in the world. It boasts of almost 4500 colleges, universities and community colleges spread across both urban and rural settings. It is not just the diversity and magnitude of opportunities but also the quality in learning and research that attracts thousands of international students to study in America. According to most of the prominent rankings of world universities, American universities grab a major pie out of the top five hundred positions. These world class institutions have built their reputation and trust among students including Indians, based on their fortes of academic excellence, cultural diversity, opportunity to gain perspectives from all over the world, excellent support for international students, ground breaking research in every field, ample opportunities for extracurricular activities through fraternities and clubs, and generous scholarship offers.
Be it the Ivy League, large public research universities or smaller liberal arts colleges, students can pick from a wide range of choices for undergraduate, graduate or professional education. While the undergraduates study in the US offers opportunity to obtain two years Associate or a four to five years Bachelor’s degree, graduate study which mostly focuses on research and specialized training allows students to acquire a Masters or Doctoral degree. The options in professional schools include degrees in law, medicine, pharmacy, business and technology.
Despite the economic slump that started towards the end of the last decade, the USA remains the largest economy in the world with one of the highest GDP per capita among the countries in the developed world. Job opportunities abound for hard working Indians in all major private, public and nonprofit sectors. American universities offer wonderful exposures to the job market during and after studies through internship, co-operative education (Co-op) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). The Career Services in the university campuses offer invaluable guidance regarding job search, interview process and alumni networking, etc. Also, Indians are one of the most educated and professionally successful ethnic communities in the USA in terms of access to higher education and annual income.
Popular Study Courses in USA
USA offers quality education in almost all the areas of higher education. However, there are some courses which are quite popular with international students moving to USA for their higher studies. Given below is a brief about such fields:
Information sciences basically hone the computer and software developing and management skills of the students. The use of computer based technology in almost every sector in present times makes this field particularly lucrative. Information science consists of courses such as Bachelors of Information Technology, Bachelors of Computer Science and Technology and Bachelors of Engineering (Computers). USA is home to some of the IT giants and therefore, the demand for graduates of this field never wanes away.
Engineering, be it chemical or electronics or biomedical, is a conventional and evergreen area of study. Indians have a particular inclination towards this discipline. It is for this reason that many Indian students move to USA for higher studies in the field of Engineering. The country has many universities offering this course with specialization in various different streams within the discipline. The job opportunities in the field are also aplenty, thus making it all the more popular.
Business and Management Studies
Business and Management studies are in the list of most popular courses in USA and also the most job oriented. Business and Management studies usually inculcate entrepreneurial skills in the students and make efficient managers out of them. Skills developed during the period of the course makes students job ready, to be employed and contribute to their employers immediately and efficiently. The classroom teaching strengthens the conceptual clarity and industry exposure in forms of internships and training gives practical edge.