Study in the USA

In 2011, close to 775,000 US visas were issued to international students looking to study in the USA. These travelers came from all over the world to study a wide variety of topics from business and management to foreign language. Any opportunity to study abroad promises plenty of opportunities to learn from new people, new places, and a new perspective on the world.

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If you are considering taking a trip to study abroad in the USA, then you have a lot of work ahead of you. You have to find the right place to study. You have to secure the right visa so you can enter the country and stay as long as your studies require. You need to plan ahead with a good budget and a plan for transportation. But once you board your plane to leave home, all of that work will be worth it. In this guide to studying in the USA, you will find some quick tips to get you on your way to an exciting educational adventure.

When you travel to the U.S., it is important to have insurance at all times. By staying covered with student insurance, you can feel better protected against expensive medical costs in the U.S. HCC Medical Insurance Services (HCCMIS) offers StudentSecure insurance with different levels of coverage depending on your needs and your school’s requirements. StudentSecure plans are designed for international students who are traveling to the U.S. to study.

Top Study Abroad Universities in the USA

First things first: where are you going to study in the USA? You might be considering a transfer program through your home university, which means this decision will be made for you. Maybe you are applying to a university for the first time at a school in the US, or maybe you have the freedom to choose your own school for a semester or two abroad. If you are looking for a great school, start with this list of the top universities in the USA with lots of international students:

Top Universities for Foreign Students

  • New School in New York (27% international students)
  • Florida Institute of Technology in Florida (26% international students)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology in Illinois (21% international students)
  • Lynn University in Florida (18% international students)
  • University of Tulsa in Oklahoma (18% international students)
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania(17% international students)
  • University at Buffalo – SUNY in New York (16% international students)
  • Purdue University – West Lafayette – in Indiana (15% international students)
  • Northeastern University in Illinois (14% international students)
  • University of San Francisco in California (13% international students)

If you are having difficulty picking the right program, U.S. Immigrations and Customs can provide helpful information for international students and exchange visitors on how to understand the U.S. immigration system and approved programs for international students.

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Before you can actually get to class, you need to have the proper US visa for your student situation. The visa application process can take months, so be sure to get started early. Here are the three basic visas for US students and their requirements. For more information, visit the US Department of State website.

J-1 Visa

The J-1 is exclusively for participants of an educational or cultural exchange program. If your school participates in any kind of exchange with US students, then this is the visa for you. For most students below the college level, this is the correct visa and you are required to present proof of insurance for travel to the U.S. StudentSecure insurance meets the J-1 visa requirements.

F-1 Visa

The F-1 visa is what you will need if you are traveling to the US to study at the college level. Doing a semester abroad? Traveling to learn English? Working toward your doctorate? Look into the F-1 visa. Most US schools require full-time international students and scholars on an F-1 visa to obtain student medical insurance.

M-1 Visa

The M-1 visa is reserved for students who are not entering a traditional academic institution. If you are looking to study at a vocational or technical school, then you will need the M-1 visa.

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Getting Around in the US

One of the biggest struggles for international students in the United States is simply getting from place to place. Public transportation is not as widespread or accessible as it is in many other countries, and that can make it difficult for international students to travel reliably. Outside of major cities, public transit is almost completely unavailable, and even many large cities lack metro lines or a large enough bus system.

Even though public transportation might be hard to come by, do not worry. With enough research and planning, you will have no trouble finding your way around your new home in the US. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for your trip:

University Transit

If you will be studying at the undergraduate level or above, then there is a good chance that your school will have its own public transportation system. Many large campuses and schools located in urban areas have their own bus circuits, and they are usually free of charge to students. Contact your school and find out if they offer any form of mass transit, or if the local government runs any bus lines through campus.

Your Own Car

Depending on how long you plan to study in the USA, you might consider buying or leasing your own automobile. Most towns and even many cities in the US are very spread out and designed to be traveled by car, so having your very own vehicle will help ensure that you can always get where you need to go. Before you decide to go this route, however, you will need to look into a few important things: Does your school offer parking for students? Will you have time to get a driver’s license once in the US? Does your budget have room for fuel and auto maintenance?


In the long run, a bicycle might be the most economical option for getting around. Many students at universities in the USA choose to invest in bicycles because they are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and campus-friendly. If you need to get from one side of campus to the other in a short amount of time, a bike will allow you to cut through campus quickly. Invest in a basket and chain, and you will even be able to ride into town to shop.

Tips for International Students

Traveling to a new country and not knowing anyone can be a frightening experience, but if you remember to keep an open mind, you will be just fine. This short list of tips can help you transition to study in the USA.


  • Be respectful – It is important to always be respectful even after a long journey. It can be tough to adjust at first, but showing respect for the customs and manners of your classmates will make your transition much more successful.
  • Keep an open mind – Don’t be afraid of new experiences.
  • Research your new home – Many international students experience culture shock when they first arrive to study in the U.S. By doing a little research about your new destination, you can take the stress out of your time in the U.S.

HCC Medical Insurance Services, LLC (HCCMIS) is a service company that is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. HCCMIS is regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. HCCMIS has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.