02. What will you gain from US universities?
Leaving friends and family for study in a foreign country seems daunting. Yet deciding to cross the Atlantic to study in the US might be one of the best decisions you can make in your life, seriously. Nothing comes easy, and the road to studying in the most elite of colleges demands sacrifice and commitment. Here’s why you should consider studying in the US:
Variety, the spice of life
US universities exemplify this in an array of ways. Studying in the US accords you the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different countries and cultures. Through such interactions, you are made to realize that not everyone shares similar beliefs as you do or sees things from the same perspective as you do. With time, you acquire a global mindset which allows you to be less biased towards other cultures and to appreciate your own culture more. Besides this, you learn to approach everything from a more objective perspective; which is a key life skill to have.
Studying in the US comes with a plethora of opportunities. Most campuses will provide a lot of tools to help you land internships and jobs, e.g. resume critiques, career building workshops, etc. Networking is also given so much priority and through sharing thoughts with people, great ideas are conceived. The massive financial endowments of most colleges also allow you to do things that you’d not had done at Kenyan universities e.g. 4 Kenyan students from Stanford, Dartmouth and NorthWestern University were funded this summer to start a coding camp (NaiCode) in Nairobi; others were funded to work with several NGOs in an effort to combat various challenges in Africa. Such things give you an edge over most of the competition in the job market.
Breadth and depth
The liberal arts curriculum offered by most schools in the US allows you to study a wide range of subjects, while at the same time giving you an in-depth insight into your major. Even if you’re pursuing an Engineering degree, you’ll have slots for classes from other disciplines such as Economics, Visual Arts, Literature, Foreign Languages, Entrepreneurship, Politics, etc. This allows you to mingle with people from different majors in your classes and definitely helps you become an all-rounded individual. It’s also just fun studying things you’d never thought of before.
World class education
Most US universities are highly ranked as pertains higher education. In these schools, you are taught by world-renowned professors and rub shoulders with smart students from all over the world. Some professors will cancel lecture because they have to pick up a Nobel Prize! This challenging yet invigorating academic atmosphere pushes you to your limits and makes you a better version of yourself. The huge endowments that US colleges have also mean that they make you as comfortable as possible. The libraries are huge: UoN’s library system has half a million volumes while Princeton has twenty-two million volumes. Professors have labs which are addressing ideas like Quantum Computing, De Novo Proteins, Wireless Communications, Anonymous Internet Networks, Autonomous Cars, Nanofabrication, Machine Learning Algorithms, etc.
This should have come top of the list because it makes it affordable and possible to study in the US. It may seem absurd but you could get a financial aid package so good that it would be cheaper to study in the US than a private university in Kenya. Financial aid comes in form of grants and loans; most international students get grants, meaning you don’t have to pay them back.
Studying away from home inevitably makes you learn how to depend on yourself. You get to learn so much about yourself and you cultivate responsibility. While your parents may want to send you money, take that burden off their shoulders and plan your own finances. There are numerous student jobs which can provide enough income for daily expenses. You will learn how to improve yourself overall. Independence is a definitely one of the most important traits to lead a good future life.
Being in the US and away from family pushes you out of your comfort zone. You make new friends from all over the world, try out new things (lots of concerts in NYC!), and with time these new experiences form a vital part of who you are. Those four years will prove unforgettable!