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At UVA’s International Residential College, students from all over the world come together to share ideas, stories, laughs, and food. While the majority of students here are American, every dormitory represents its own spectrum of cultures. In the TV lounge, a group of South-Asians are watching the Cricket World Cup; on the patio, the Chinese Student Society is hosting a Lunar New Year event; at the soccer pitch, Europeans, Africans and Latin-Americans face off in a game of footie.

“I love it here,” says the president of the IRC Student Council, a third-year from Cairo. “Where else can you get the full American experience, while also interacting with students from all over the world?” Although his proud smile shines with patriotism for his school, he readily admits that UVa is not unique in this respect. “That’s one of the great things about being an international student in America. Diversity has become something of a cliché, but it really is an extremely welcoming and culturally varied environment.”

Studying in the Unites States not only looks great on your resume—it is a rich experience in itself. With some of the biggest names such as Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern and University of San Francisco boasting an international presence of over 15%, attending a US college is a great way to experience cultures from around the world, even for Singaporeans used to living in a melting pot. Still, the US experience is not simply noteworthy for offering diversity and a welcoming atmosphere. What attracts hundreds of thousands of international students to America is the whole package, from the experience of living in America to the holistic teaching approach to the campus lifestyle.

“It certainly met and surpassed my expectations!” exclaims Julia, a young Chinese graduate of UIUC who works in Singapore’s Central Business District. “The faculties are amazing, and my summer internship with a big multinational company was great! Also, I travelled to lots of places in the States, from east coast to west, from cities to national parks.” When asked if she would rather have studied anywhere else, she responds with a resolute no. “After I came to Singapore,” she adds with a smile, “I started missing the snowy days in Illinois.”

Studying in the US allows you to make lasting friendships, create enduring memories, and learn a lifetime of wisdom in just four years. Beyond that, colleges make sure to provide their students with enough activities, services and clubs to suit everyone. Whether you are a sports fan, an avid gamer, a hardy partier or a Glee Club enthusiast, there is a place to incorporate and enhance your strengths and interests in the US.

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