Home to Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tufts University (to name a few), Boston, Massachusetts is a prime location for higher education in the USA. With its rich historical, culinary and intellectual offerings, this hub of New England has much to attract students and tourists. If you are deciding whether to study at one of these top U.S. universities, here are a few things to consider before making the move.
Home to more than 250,000 students and 30 colleges, Boston is undeniably an intellectual city. Known for its highly developed medical, education, and technology industries, the opportunities in this New England metropolis are largely driven by the research efforts of its higher education community. Students who study here have access to internships and experiences in nearly any major and field, and many stay for careers in education, medicine, and finance upon graduating. Just across the Charles River, Cambridge hosts a number of the nation’s top schools and their highly revered faculty and research facilities. Even if you are not enrolled there, these universities offer presentations, events, and partnerships that are unparalleled in other U.S. college towns.
As the epicentre of the American Revolution, Boston is home to a plethora of historical sites. Spend the day walking the Freedom Trail – a path in the city that takes visitors by the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s house. Have a beer in the Green Dragon Tavern, meeting place of the Sons of Liberty, and visit the Old State House, where the Boston Massacre took place. In the evening, check out one of the many colourful culinary hubs of the city, and enjoy authentic cuisine by Italian, Chinese, or Cuban expats. If you are hoping to escape the city for the weekend, Cape Cod and its quaint towns by the coast are only a couple of hours away. Whatever your itinerary, Boston has much to offer students any day of the week.
A top-rated city for walkability, Boston is a haven for those hoping to avoid using a car. The close proximity of most major attractions makes it easy to travel by foot, and when needed Bostonians can catch the subway, buses, or ferries run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Regular commuters can purchase a weekly or monthly pass – the CharlieCard – to make their daily travel even easier.
Perhaps one of the greatest virtues of studying in Boston is the ability for students to feasibly make it home for the holidays. Among all U.S. cities, Boston offers some of the cheapest flights to Europe. While this may not be the determining factor when selecting a university, it is a costly consideration for those who choose to study far from home.
While Boston does not have many drawbacks, the harsh New England winters give many prospective students pause for thought. With an average annual snowfall of 44 inches and low temperatures falling well below freezing, Boston winters are a daunting prospect for those unaccustomed to the cold. Nor’easters (strong storms from the northeast) and blizzards are not an uncommon occurrence, and can close activities citywide when of above average strength. If you are hoping to study in Boston, be prepared to invest in quality winter clothing.
Like many major American cities, Boston is not a cheap place to live. With a cost of living 19% above the national average, students can expect to pay a high amount in rent – depending on location and number of roommates. Utilities, parking passes, and transportation fees also add to the annual cost of living. Students hoping to save money may consider looking outside of Boston and neighbouring Cambridge for cheaper housing, but will find the area is generally on the expensive side.
With a prolific collection of colleges, Boston has a lot to offer prospective students. Its diverse population, historical significance, and proximity to the Atlantic coast make this city is a great place to experience American culture.
Pros of studying in Boston include:
Cons of studying in Boston include:
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