Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Top 10 States Hosting International Students: No. 4, Massachusetts

Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere is
depicted in this statue in Boston's North End.
By Brendan Twist 
World Education Services

WES Student Advisor’s tour of the top 10 states hosting international students has taken us from the Midwest, to the Northeast, and down to Florida (culturally speaking, Florida might as well be its own country). Now we head to our one and only stop in New England: Massachusetts.

One of the original 13 colonies, Massachusetts is best known today for its capitol and largest city, Boston. Beantown, as it’s sometimes called, is home to wacky accents, great baked beans, and super successful sports franchises (the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins). During the 19th century, a lot of Irish immigrants settled in the Southern part of the city, so they throw a big St. Patrick’s Day parade there every year. Like all of New England, Massachusetts gets wicked cold and snowy in the winter – good if you like skiing, or pond hockey. Massachusetts residents occasionally get a bad rap for their aggressive driving habits and brusque attitudes – the less-than-polite term “Massholes” gets thrown around – but it’s really just because people are jealous of their wicked good chowder and Tom Brady. Where were we going with this… ah, yes. Massachusetts has some powerhouse educational institutions!

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

The number of international students in Massachusetts has increased by double-digit percentages in each of the past two years, peaking during the 2013-2014 school year with 51,240 students.

Northeastern University in Boston leads the way, enrolling over 9,000 international students last year. Boston University was next with over 7,100; the school offers great online resources for researching visa issues, intensive English programs and social acclimation, and much more.

Cambridge (just outside of Boston) is home to two of the most academically competitive schools in the world – Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT. Combined, these two institutions enrolled almost 10,000 international students last year. Harvard’s website features profiles of international students and some neat infographics that provide some insight into the international campus community. Pretty much all of these schools are using their websites to actively recruit international students – so it’s worth spending some time exploring their sites!

A look at the leading places of origin for foreign students in Massachusetts shows that the state is basically a microcosm of the U.S. as a whole; the percentages line up very, very closely. The only (minor) difference among the top five countries is that Canada places fourth and Saudi Arabia fifth; nationally, those numbers are reversed.

So give Massholes a chance! The frigid winters will toughen you up, and you’ll get a great education. Don’t feel bad if you get rejected from Harvard, either (94 percent of applicants do). There’s plenty of other quality schools up there. Plus, you’re only a few hours from New York.

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