International Education Week celebrates students who attend college someplace other than in their home countries. Their curiosity is building a more democratic, secure and prosperous world. This week, ShareAmerica looks at opportunities available to international students in the U.S. 

Sharing Cultures

Deciding where to live when you come to the U.S. to study is nearly as important as deciding what school you’ll attend. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in an American college experience, you should sign on for the same dormitory experience most of your American counterparts will experience. But know that a variety of options exist separate from the usual dorms (which tend to offer atmospheres that are exuberant and, yes, often noisy).

Language houses bring together native speakers with American students who are learning a particular language. At Middlebury College’s Arabic House, for instance, residents speak only Arabic when in the house. Oberlin College in Ohio also has a well-established program of language houses.

Man and woman cooking food on stovetop (© AP Images)
Emory University student Lodoe Sangpo, left, cooks a traditional Tibetan dish with Tenzing Peldun, right, an Emory student from Chicago of Tibetan descent. (© AP Images)

Avoiding Alcohol

An increasing number of universities accommodate students’ preferences by offering different “living-learning communities.” Some have substance-free dormitories in which students agree to guidelines forbidding smoking, alcohol and drugs in their living space. Madison Jones, a freshman at the University of Michigan who lives in such a dormitory, said, “It’s quiet enough that you can study and go to sleep without having to worry about people being loud at night. You don’t have to worry about … parties.”

American University in Washington designates one living area as an academic-focus floor with extended quiet hours for studying and educational events.

Choosing Neighbors

Many college dormitories today house males and females, alternating them by floor, room or suite. But some schools have same-sex dorms for those who prefer them. More than 100 universities offer gender-neutral housing, which allows living arrangements beyond the traditional male/female division. The schools say this creates a safer, more supportive environment for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) students.

The variety of housing arrangements helps students find others with similar values and interests in order to help them enjoy the best possible learning atmosphere.

Keep up with information about U.S. study at EducationUSA and learn more with other ShareAmerica stories on study in the USA.  If you’re ready to start exploring your options, sign up for EducationUSA’s Online College Fair on November 19. Registration is free, and you’ll get the chance to chat online with representatives of more than 150 excellent U.S. colleges and universities.