Transportation for International Students in the USA

Transportation for International Students in the USA

Imagine your first day of your international studies in the USA. You’ve done all the hard work of getting accepted to a great university, you have arranged a place to live, and you have managed to get it all paid for. But how are you going to get where you want to go, once you are there? It’s time to consider transportation for international students in the USA.

The first thing to know about transportation as an international student is not to worry. American universities, large and small, are built to be whole communities. Many students live either on campus, or within easy walking distance. You will be able to eat, see a doctor, and have fun, all within walking or bike riding distance of your classrooms.

Reasons why international students need to know about transportation

Although you can survive just by walking around campus, there are several reasons why you will want to get out and use transportation. You will want to get out and see more of the United States than just your university campus. Getting out and about in the USA is an education in itself. You also might live too far from campus to walk there.

Some older US cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Boston have excellent public transportation systems. In these cities, many residents choose *not* to have cars, because they are unnecessary and expensive to park. Luckily for international students, there are lots of excellent universities in these big, old cities.


Do international students need a car?

But in many places in the USA, small towns or new cities like Dallas and Los Angeles, public transportation is more difficult to use. Someplace that is a 30-minute drive away by car can be hours away on the bus. Having access to a car in one of these places can make a tremendous difference to your quality of life as an international student.


Ridesharing for international students

If you don’t have an American friend yet who has a car, the easiest way to get around is via a ridesharing service. The two main ridesharing companies in the US are Uber and Lyft, which cost about $2 per mile.

Having your own car as an international student

Having your own car as an international student is much more complicated than using a ridesharing service. You will need a valid driver’s license, insurance, and the other paperwork involved with owning or renting a vehicle. Whether or not this is worth the trouble depends on how long you will be staying.

If you plan to be in the US for a year or longer, it could be worth it to you to do it on your own. You could save a lot money by buying a used car through a site like Craigslist, and selling it to someone else when you leave. Or there are services such as International Auto Source which will handle all of the paperwork for you if you want to purchase or rent a vehicle long-term.

Should I organize everything before I leave for the USA?

While organizing transport may be something you can plan for before you leave, it may also be worth waiting to arrive and experiencing life at university before making your decision. This is because you might have a housemate or college dorm mate who already has a car, which means you might not need one at all to do your food shopping and other important functions.

So there you have it. These are some of the questions answered if you’re concerned about transportation for international students in the USA.

Public or Private Universities in the USA – What’s the Best Choice for International Students?

Public or Private Universities in the USA – What’s the Best Choice for International Students?

Choosing a public or private university in the USA be complicated, because there are so many to universities to choose from. All 50 US states have their own system of public higher education, and there are many private universities which operate independently from the government.

So which public or private university in the USA is the best? It really depends on what you are looking for. A better question to ask is: which university is the best for you?

To answer that question, it’s important for international students to learn the difference between public and private universities.

Which Offer Better Value, Public or Private Universities?

Private universities are quite expensive in the US. They often charge $50,000 a year for tuition, which doesn’t include living expenses.

Public universities are a bargain by comparison, charging around $15,000 a year. However, since the cost of education is partially paid from the state budget, these low prices are only offered to state residents. For example, the University of California charges an additional $28,000 tuition for students who come from outside of California.

So after you add in the cost of food, housing, travel – and the out-of-state tuition – the total cost of attending a public university in the United States is only a little bit less than it is for a private university. Generally speaking, if you might spend $70,000/year total to attend a private university, you might spend $60,000/year to attend a public university in the same city if you are not a resident of that state.

What are Public Universities in the USA?

As a general rule, universities named “University of (State Name)” are public universities. The the University of Virginia, and the University of North Carolina are examples of top-ranked universities in the US. These universities have long histories and are dedicated to academic research and to providing quality education to all of their state’s residents.

State university systems generally include multiple campuses. For example, the main campus of the University of Texas is in Austin, but the University of Texas system has fourteen campuses across the state. The University of California system has nine campuses with full academic research and professional schools, and an additional 24 four-year universities in its California State University system focused on more technical fields and local students.

What are Private Universities in the USA?

Private universities include many of the most famous American universities. There are the famed northeastern “Ivy League” schools like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, so named because their historical buildings have a brick-and-ivy look to them. The classic large private universities like these (and Stanford, USC, Northwestern, to name a few others) offer comprehensive education.

Private universities feature academic departments in everything from Archaelogy to Zoology, and graduate professional education in medicine, law, business, engineering, etc. Other private schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), or its West Coast rival, the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) are more focused on technical fields.

Private colleges shine in offering even more specialized education, such as the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, or the Rhode Island School of Design. Although these schools may not be household names, within their industries they are often more prestigious than Ivy League educations. Students who are certain of their career path would be well advised to look for schools that specialize in their particular field.

Smaller Private Universities

Private colleges often specialize in providing smaller, more supportive environments for their students than the big state schools. This may be an important factor for international students to consider when they are planning their long trip away from home. Smaller colleges also have the advantage of being less difficult to get into than the big elite universities. Pepperdine University near Los Angeles is one example, and the school’s Christian values appeal to students who want to have a fun college experience without too much partying.

Liberal arts colleges are a type of private school that focuses on undergraduate education, and usually have no more than a few thousand students. Although they are mostly concentrated in the Northeast of the country, like Amherst in Massachusetts and Seton Hall in New Jersey, there are excellent liberal arts colleges throughout the United States, such as the Clairemont Colleges in California or Grinnell in Iowa.

Should International Students Choose Public or Private Universities?

The ClickStudies team believes that both public and private universities in the US offer great opportunities for international students. The right university for you will depend on other factors, most especially: what do you want from your US education?

Does the Academic Program Matter to You?

If you are dead-set on your career in engineering, business, etc., then the ranking of the university should matter most to you. Of the top ten US graduate programs in Engineering, five of them are public and five are private. Just go to the best school that will accept you.

Does Location Matter to You?

If you have a good reason to want to study in New York or San Francisco or Miami, then absolutely you should look for a university there and not worry if it is public or private.

But if you have family connections to a particular place, you should consider planning ahead to establish yourself as a state resident and pay much lower tuition. You could save as much as $40,000 per year by paying resident tuition at a state university instead of a private school.

For more information on your location choices in the USA, visit our information on Study in the USA and Study in California.

And lastly, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a public or private university in the USA just because it is in a cool place that you want to visit. You’ll get the most out of your time in the United States if you have fun, get out there, meet people and enjoy yourself!