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Living in the US as an International Student

7 min read
24 November 2017
International students in USA

Moving to new country to learn a language is one of the best ways to fully experience another way of life. You’ll be exposed to a new culture and new traditions that allow you to discover how different, and sometimes similar, your new environment is to your own native land. From experiencing the charm of local customs to tasting new and unfamiliar food, studying abroad is about more than just building practical knowledge; it’s about learning to be a student of the world and a more open and perceptive human being.

In the spirit of International Student Day last week, we decided to speak with four Kaplan students from around the world about their experiences and impressions living in the USA. Take a look at their stories below.


A melting pot of culture

“When I first arrived in the US I was surprised by the fact that there are a lot a nationalities, a lot of diversity. It’s great. People from many different countries all live together. In Japan, it’s mainly Japanese people.”

Shing Uchino, Student from Japan

International students US - Seattle
You'll have the opportunity to study with fascinating people from around the world


The beauty of public spaces

“I think that in the US and specifically in Boston, where I go to school, there are so many public spaces like parks and plazas that are build specifically for people to enjoy – tourists, residents, everyone. It’s nice to see that the community and the government take care of that.

Irany Acevedo, Dominican Republic

“I think the people and government here are very involved in keeping the cities nice. Boston is very clean. Other cities I have visited are too, like Washington, DC. They make sure there are beautiful places that are open to the public and free.”

Alejandra Zambrano, Colombia


Differences in food traditions

“In Japan, breakfast is the most important meal. We always eat rice. I see American people usually have a little meal, just coffee or something. We have a big meal. Also, back home we use chopsticks to eat anything. Here people use forks and knives. When I eat with my host family here, I use a fork but no knife. I can’t use it well yet.”

Shing Uchino, Japan

studnets eating pastries in a coffee shop
Just imagine all the amazing variety of foods you'll discover across the US!

Public transportation galore

“Transportation is very different than in my home country. It’s surprising to me how many people here take public transportation to go anywhere. Back home, we drive to go to most places; I never use public transportation. It is not very good and less reliable than here.”

Irany Acevedo, Dominican Republic

“I have noticed many differences in public transportation between the US and back home. I think it is safer here than it is in Brazil. Also, people walk a lot to get to places; in my country we take a car everywhere. Back home you are a lot more worried about your belongings when you take a bus or the subway. Also, people are more polite when they take public transportation here.”

Guillermo Sabadia, Brazil

international students US public transport
You'll truly feel like a native in your city by when you master the intricacies of local transit


A passion for sports

“When I went to a baseball game recently, people were very excited and yelling and very happy and open about it. In Japan, people are generally more shy and reserved. People here are passionate and love sports on a different level.”

Shing Uchino, Japan


Holiday spectaculars

“In the US people really celebrate Independence Day in an impressive way. I remember on the 4th of July it was really fun and interesting. There was a big party, a concert and fireworks. In Japan, we get a day off for the independence holiday but we don’t really celebrate or do anything specific.”

Shing Uchino, Japan

Alejandra international student US
Americans love to celebrate all the things that makes the US such a fantastic place to live


As you can see, studying English with Kaplan offers the opportunity to really immerse in the lifestyle of another country, while learning to embrace with the cultural differences.


Are you looking to fully immerse in US culture?

Kaplan’s new Best of America program offers students the chance to interact with locals on a personal and academic level and really get involved in American lifestyle. This 8-month long immersive experience gives the opportunity to learn about the culture, history and current affairs of the United States by taking specialized modules on different topics.

Have you studied in the US with Kaplan in the past? Share your experiences with us on our Facebook channel.

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