Study Abroad

Is America Safe? Best Student Cities in the USA for an International Student

Is America Safe? Best Student Cities in the USA for an International Student

The United States of America is no doubt a student hub, with its top-ranked universities and world-class learning. The University of Toledo has a high acceptance rate for international students, as projected in 2024–2025. Besides, the USA is home to 14 of the top 100 student-friendly cities in the world, which makes it a better student destination.

The United States of America is believed to have a high crime rate, but that’s limited to some of its states, like Columbia, New Mexico, Alaska, and some crime-prone areas. For safety concerns for international students, Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego are among the top cities for international students in the USA.

These best cities in the USA for international students offer highly accredited academic options, exposure to different cultures and perspectives, practical learning, and exceptional opportunities for professional networking. These best cities are known for having low crime rates and a hubs of intellectual endeavor and innovation in the US. Let's learn about some of the best student cities in the USA.

1. Boston

Boston City is known as the "student capital of the USA." That's because the greater Boston area has 6 internationally ranked universities. The top-tier education system in Boston includes academic programs at Harvard University (ranked 4th globally), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, ranked 1st globally), and others, like

  • Northeastern University
  • Suffolk University
  • Brandeis University
  • Boston College
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Simmons University

Boston was ranked 5th in the world for innovation in 2017, with American cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago following the list in the top 25. In addition, its iconic landmarks, like the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, and numerous museums, make it more attractive for students.

Boston City has a lively sports culture, music festivals, theaters, and a vibrant cultural scene. Apart from this, the city has an excellent public transportation system (the "T" or MBTA) with four main subway lines and 125 stops throughout the region, suitable for international students.

Is Boston a Safe Student City for International Students?

And yes, Boston is safe, with the lowest crime rate in history in the last 5 consecutive years. Boston shows a lower violent crime rate (655 per 100,000 inhabitants) compared to the average in the US.

Many universities in Boston are not only limited by academic resources but also provide cooperative education (co-op) programs. This, in turn, allows students to gain valuable work experience through paid internships while studying.

While tuition fees at top US universities in Boston can exceed $59,000 per year, numerous need-based admission policies are offered. The TMCF Scholarships, Microsoft Scholarships, Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and the John Hancock Internship Program are some of the scholarships and generous financial aid packages to help students from diverse backgrounds.

2. New York City

New York City is highly rated, with a positive rating of 85.9 out of 100, as a good student destination worldwide. As reported by Statista in 2023, New York ranks 2nd in the U.S. for the international student population, with over 126,782 international students, a drop of 4.1% compared to the prior year.

New York City is becoming relatively safe for international students. The new research examines how the city is safe from gun violence and other major crimes like homicides, rape, robbery, and grand larceny.

New York has a long history of immigration and is one of the premier student cities in the United States and even the world. Several world-class universities and colleges, including Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, and many more.

Major Attractions of New York for International Students

New York is a global capital of art and culture, with world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), institutions like Juilliard for the Performing Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) catering to various niche interests.

Beyond academics and the arts, New York City has Wall Street, Silicon Alley, and the entertainment industry, where students can have invaluable internships. Also, it is one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world, with over 800 languages spoken.

New York remains the world's leading financial center, with over $46 trillion in the stock market. It hosts the world’s two biggest stock exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.

New York City is renowned for its iconic landmarks like Central Park, the Empire State Building, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, steeped in history. Also, it has a thriving startup and innovation culture, with top research institutions like Rockefeller University boasting entrepreneurial opportunities for students.

3. San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to two of the world's most prestigious universities - Stanford University (ranked 3rd globally) and the University of California, Berkeley (ranked 27th globally).

San Francisco has proximity to destinations like Napa Valley and Sonoma for weekend getaways. The city also has a fine network of fuel-efficient Muni buses, light rail Metro trains, historic streetcars, and iconic cable cars. In addition, the city is student-friendly as it has dedicated bike lanes and a bike-sharing program for their benefit.

Workforce and Internships in San Francisco for International Students

San Francisco lies at the heart of the ‘’world's innovation capital,” Silicon Valley. It is particularly a world-leading financial and tech sector in the world. Even two prestigious universities, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, lie in San Francisco.

San Francisco is home to world-leading financial centers and hundreds of innovative companies, particularly in the tech sector. It is also a safe city, with lower rates of violent crime compared to other major US cities.

Do you know the Bay Area of San Francisco boasts the largest tech workforce in North America, with over 378,000 skilled professionals, including female tech talent (25.1%)? It has a vibrant tech ecosystem that students can make the most of through learning, internships, and access to cutting-edge tech companies.

San Francisco is a culturally rich city where students can understand art and culture through museums, such as the Asian Art Museum, Cable Car Museum, California Academy of Sciences, de Young Museum, Exploratorium, and the Walt Disney Family Museum.

No doubt, San Francisco is a safe city because crime rates are far lower than the national average. But it is equally important to be aware of safety precautions, as the neighborhood of Tenderloin, on the slope of Nob Hill, can be quite prone to criminal activity

Petty crimes like pickpocketing, bag snatching, and car break-ins can occur out of nowhere, so be aware when driving or walking in isolated areas at night.

4. Chicago

Chicago is also among the best student cities in the US and rests on the shores of Lake Michigan and the historic Wicker Park is where you can have vibrant views of the city.

You won't believe it, but Chicago is home to 40 nonprofit four-year colleges and universities. But among those, the University of Chicago has been the number 1 university to look for (since 1890). The other renowned universities in Chicago are Northwestern, Chicago State University, and DePaul University.

International students can explore their best-suited academic plans with financial aid and scholarships at the Colleges of Chicago. Their valuable learning comes with abundant internship and summer intern jobs in Chicago.

Transportation facilities in Chicago

Students can find easy navigation in the city with the comprehensive public transport system, CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), including trains and buses for affordable city exploration. Also, they can have fun learning while enjoying the beaches, biking paths, and water sports on the shores of Lake Michigan. Even international students can change scenery by exploring nearby vibrant cities, like Milwaukee or Indianapolis.

Moreover, they can learn about various aspects of Eastern and Western medicine from the Museum of Surgical Science or the International Museum of Surgical Science, for a unique experience.

Chicago has affordable student housing options near major universities, transportation hubs, and popular areas. These student residential areas include Lakeside Edgewater Neighborhood Apartments, Buckingham, Algonquin Apartments, Prairie Shores, and Regents Park, with various budgets and preferences of students.

As a major metropolitan area, Chicago offers numerous part-time job and internship opportunities for students. Also, the extensive public transport, including buses, trains, and the iconic "L" elevated rail system, makes it easy for students to travel across the city.

Why is Chicago the best student city in the US?

Chicago generally offers a safe environment for students. The city and universities provide resources and support systems to assist students in cases of emergencies, rental fraud, or immigration issues.

Part-time tutoring, web-writing, university application mentoring, and becoming a student ambassador are all jobs you can do part-time to save up more and earn some money on the side.

One can find some of the most delicious food in Chicago. Compared to New York, Chicago is about 67% less expensive, and apart from commodities such as clothes and accessories, lifestyle expenses are relatively cheaper.

5. San Diego

San Diego is recognized as the safest city in the United States, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for students. The city is home to several renowned universities, like the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a leading research university, and San Diego State University.

Academic programs, internships, and career opportunities in biotechnology, tourism, and defense are flourishing across the city. Even for an international institution, they can sign up for scholarship opportunities like the North Island Credit Union Scholarship, Taiwanese American Foundation Scholarships, the Art Scholarship Program, and Scholarships for Aspiring Water Professionals.

San Diego's cost of living is generally lower than some major coastal cities of the US. That's why one can also find affordable housing options at walking distance from the major University, the University of San Diego

San Diego City College provides support and guidance to international students in complying with the requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for admission as an international student.

How can international students have fun in San Diego?

Students can enjoy vibrant neighborhoods of San Diego like the Gaslamp Quarter and Pacific Beach, accessible on foot or by bike. In addition, they can explore the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

San Diego's sunny climate and laid-back lifestyle offer a home-like atmosphere to international students on the outskirts of the city. They can also sightsee the famous San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, and LEGOLAND California (just 30 minutes north of San Diego) while living in cultural attractions and the safe environment of the city.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates a network of buses and trolleys in the larger portion of the city. They also have a PRONTO Pass, a reloadable fare card for MTS services, which is a fair service for budget-conscious students.

Electric scooter rental facilities are also popular in San Diego. Besides, universities also offer shuttle bus services around campus and to nearby areas.

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