In addition to academic considerations, it is important for students to think about where they would like to live, including the climate, population density, cost of living, and local culture as these vary across the United States. In general, more rural areas of the United States have lower living costs and could be more comfortable than congested urban areas. While more expensive, cities and urban areas may offer more opportunities for diverse cultural engagement.
Regardless of where international students study, it is possible to use academic breaks to explore the country. One way to do this is to visit national parks, a unique public asset in the United States. There are more than 400 parks across the 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. The largest are located in the state of Alaska and the most in California. Typically, the national parks receive more than 300 million visitors per year. Each park has some connection to natural and local heritage and culture, so it is a great way to better understand the country. The parks are accessible to everyone, and most are free to visit. For a more information, check the National Park’s website with maps of all the parks.