The quality of a school and its psychology program in particular is of obvious importance to international students interested in studying psychology in the U.S. But other considerations are important, as well. For instance, the climate, availability of fun things to do, and cultural representation can all make a big difference to one's educational experience.
International students interested in studying in the U.S. have a number of factors to consider in deciding exactly where to study psychology. Certainly, the quality of the program they study at is of great importance. However, there a number of other factors that can greatly affect one's educational experience. Let us take a look at some of these other important factors that might determine which U.S. psychology programs are right for you.
International students come from all different climates and are used to all kinds of seasonal patterns. The US is geographically diverse, and so many of these climate conditions can be found in different areas. If you enjoy warm oceanfront areas with mild winters, you might be interested in studying at the University of Miami in Florida or the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. For those who prefer temperate weather all year round the University of Washington or the University of Oregon on the west coast might be best. Students who like pronounced seasonal changes with snowy winters, crisp autumns, and warm springs and summers, the Northeast or Midwest might be best. Great schools in the Northeast include Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Great schools in the Midwest include the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and the University of Indiana-Bloomington.
Things to Do
There is no strict rule determining where great U.S. psychology programs are located. Some are in large, metropolitan areas, such as the University of California-Los Angeles or The New School, while others, such as the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, are located in sparsely populated areas. Differences in the density of populations often lead to differences in possible activities. If you are most interested in visiting museums, art galleries, fine art performances (such as symphonies), and major sports events, then the odds are that you are interested in studying at a university in a big city, or one that is located close to a big city. If you are interested in hiking, camping, fishing, or the small town atmosphere, there are great schools in areas that do not have high populations more opportunities for outdoor activities. Nearly all communities with universities have movie theaters, internet access, restaurants, shopping malls, etc., so in most cases there is something to do in anyplace one chooses.
Ethnic and Cultural Representation
International students might have different expectations and might appreciate different aspects of an educational experience in the U.S. Some might want to be sure that the community surrounding their chosen university represents their cultural and ethnic traditions. Some might be more adventurous and want to emerge themselves in American culture with no ties to their cultures at home. Different regions in the U.S. have very different concentrations of ethnicities and cultures. For instance, the cities of New York or Los Angeles exemplify great cultural diversity. International students who study in or near these cities will be able to find elements of the culture to which they may be accustomed, such as restaurants, clubs, and places of worship. Other cities do not provide as many such elements. If elements are important to you, this may make a difference to where you will be happy studying.
Many schools will keep record of the demographics of their students and will make this information available upon request. To find the demographics of the city you are interested in, you can look at data from city-data.com and enter the prospective city.
As mentioned above, there will be exceptions to every rule. Some large cities are more or less ethnically diverse than others. Some smaller cities have fantastic cultural environments. The advice provided here is only about tendencies, and international students are encouraged to research the U.S. psychology programs further to make sure that it incorporates the characteristics most important to you.