How International Students Can Benefit at a Small-Town College
Advantages of small towns include fewer distractions and the potential for friendly, tight-knit communities.
When most international students think of living in the U.S., they envision big cities like New York, Boston or Los Angeles. Although it might seem cool and iconic to live in big cities, it is also important not to overlook colleges in smaller towns.
Here are some reasons why you should consider living in a small town as an international student:
1. Fewer distractions can mean more studying: Living in a city like New York means there’s always something going on, no matter what time of day or week it is. On one hand, this can be a good thing, because you’ll never get bored in a big city. However, it means that there are way more distractions compared to living in a small town.
You might be confronted with deciding to finish that 10-page paper due tomorrow morning or attend a concert with your friends. This won’t happen as much in smaller towns, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that living in small towns isn’t fun.
I’ve discovered that with the right group of friends, you can have fun anywhere and at any time of the day. Aside from that, you can always go on a weekend getaway whenever you get bored of your surroundings.
2. Get to know the community on a deeper level: Smaller towns mean there are fewer people in the area. It might sound boring at first, but a smaller population means that you can get to know the community faster and on a deeper level.
Smaller towns are usually much closer knit than big cities, because after all, there’s only so many people to get to know. People usually know each other in small towns, and if not, they would know people that would know other people in town.
With so few residents, the chances of meeting people with similar interests is higher, which leads to more interaction and quicker friendships. People are usually friendlier in smaller towns too. This is great for international students, as it helps soothe culture shock and homesickness.
3. Get more out of the American experience: Related to the previous point, smaller towns usually aren’t as cosmopolitan as bigger ones. If you are looking for a culturally enriching experience while studying abroad, it would be wise to consider smaller towns.
In bigger towns and cities, there’s people from all over the place, which means that the culture is more of a mix of different ones, instead of just one really rich culture.
4. You will improve your English skills more quickly: As you would expect, there are usually fewer foreigners in small towns. This means that you will be interacting with Americans 24/7, and this will force you to speak English at all times.
I’ve met some international students whose English skills seem to have become worse instead of better after coming to the U.S. Surely, that’s not the reason they came here!
Of course, large cities have their perks too, and ultimately, it comes down to what you want from your study abroad experience.