The Best Cities to Study in the USA for International Students

Discover the top cities in the USA for international students to study in. Consider factors like university rankings, safety, cost of living, and employment opportunities when choosing where to pursue your education.

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The Best Cities to Study in the USA for International Students
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Apr 17, 2023 04:44 AM
The USA has as many as 4000 educational institutions leaving the international students spoilt for choice. With every state in the country boasting of prestigious universities, it is indeed a dilemma for international students to pick a city to study in the USA. While choosing a university to pursue your education, its location should be factored in too. After all, you will be spending a few years of your life there, so it is vital to choose a place that will suit your needs and fit the bill.

What Makes a City Suitable for International Students?

There are many factors which make a place an ideal ecosystem for international students. The most important of them are :
  • University rankings
  • Safety and Desirability
  • Student diversity
  • Cost of living
  • Employment opportunity
  • Students' experience

The Best Cities to Study in the USA for International Students

It is an exhaustive list for sure. We have tried to compile the best cities to study in the USA for international students by considering all the factors mentioned above.

1. Boston

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Boston is a very vibrant, welcoming and student-friendly city. The city has over 250,000 international students studying in 50 Bostonian colleges. Healthcare management, business, finance, science and technology are some of the streams that students choose to study in the USA. Bostonian universities offer world-class education, with excellent teaching faculty and cutting-edge research facilities in these fields. In addition to these academic upsides, Boston also houses many major sports teams. This metropolitan city is a hub for many top international companies such as Microsoft, MathWorks, Dell Technologies, Schneider Electric, Cisco Systems and Apple.
From healthcare to management consultancy, finance, and venture capital, Boston leads the way with several growing industries, making it an excellent place for career-driven graduates to enter the job market.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Boston :

  • Boston university
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Boston College
  • Northeastern University

2. New York

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There is no one who does not want to visit Newyork. New York City is the centre of culture, innovation, and education. It is a city of surplus opportunity. New York is the city of dreams and one among the top three most diverse cities in the whole world. It was reported that in the year 2017, over 100,000 students studying in the USA are across various universities in New York.
The city never sleeps; you will always find it bustling with activity. Cafes, clubs, fitness centres and malls – you name it, New York has it! With more than 25,000 restaurants in the city, you will surely find the perfect place to satisfy your taste buds. As the home to nearly 50 Fortune500 companies, students will find a considerable number of internships and employment opportunities. Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, Cisco Systems and Johnson & Johnson are some of the companies that have a strong footing in New York.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate
$29.49 / hour

Top Universities in New York :

  • New York University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Northeastern University

3. Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is the global centre for entertainment and education. It is a diverse city with a high quality of life and opportunities. The city is also called the Entertainment capital of the world, offering a plethora of attractions and activities such as beaches, museums, night clubs, theme parks, acting studios and many more. Apart from all this glimmer and shimmer, LA is also home to some of the top universities in the world. In addition to this, many of the Fortune500 companies are based in Los Angeles. Top employers in this area include Google, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, PwC and many more.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Los Angeles :

  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Southern California
  • California Institute of Technology

4. San Francisco

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San Francisco is a melting pot, with nearly half of its residents being Asians, African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and from many other ethnicities, and 30% of the population born outside of the US.
The city is a popular tourist destination. The Golden Gate, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and China town are some must-visit places in the city. This unique Bay Area is home to some of the best universities in the world for science and technology, environmental ecology, medicine and business. At the southern end of this San Fransisco bay area is Silicon Valley- the land of startups and technology. World-renowned companies like Apple, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Southwest Airlines, Accenture and Cisco Systems are some of the top employers located in the area.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in San Fransisco :

  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis

5. Chicago

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Chicago is the most popular and the most populous city in the state of Illinois and third-most in the United States. This bustling metropolis is a significant city in terms of finance, culture, commerce, technology and science, telecommunications and education. Many top universities like Illinois state institute, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois are located in Chicago making it one of the best cities to study in the USA.
Many international students have found their dream jobs in the city or the neighbouring cities. Some of the universities in the city are Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Hilton and PwC.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Chicago :

  • University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Illinois
  • Illinois State University
  • Loyola University Chicago

6. Atlanta

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The southern city of Atlanta is the capital of Georgia. The city has its roots deep in history as it played an important role in the Civil war and the Civil rights movement. The city has a pleasant climate with mild winters and hot summers and is full of life. The city has a huge student population spread across 30 higher educational institutions.
One of the city’s top universities, Georgia Institute Technology, is ranked 29th in the USA and 69th in the whole world. As Atlanta is a hot job market, international students will be able to easily find part-time jobs and internships to work during their studies. Some of the top employers in Atlanta are Dell Technologies, Cisco Systems, Accenture, Apple, PwC and Vmware.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Atlanta :

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Emory University
  • Georgia State university
  • Agnes Scott College

7. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia, the largest and the most prominent city in Pennsylvania, is a great place to visit and study. The city holds a very prominent position in American history as the Declaration of Independence was signed here. Over the past few decades, Philadelphia has gained a reputation of being one of the best cities to study in. The city houses as many as 50 universities that it even has a locality named University City. In terms of location, Philadelphia is just 2 hours from New York City and 3 hours from Washington DC. Philadelphia is a becoming a technologically advanced city and was recently rated as one of the cities a techie must work in.
Some of the top employers in Philadelphia are Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, Apple and SAP.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Philadelphia :

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Swarthmore College
  • Drexel University
  • Temple University

8. Washington DC

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The capital city of USA, Washington DC, is undoubtedly one of the best cities to study in. Many prominent leaders in history have graduated from various universities in Washington DC. The quality of education and unique academic curriculum offered by these universities is the main reason why students choose to study in these universities.
Being the capital, it attracts numerous industries and companies to the city. Many industrial giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Starbucks have their bases in Washington DC. The universities in Washington DC encourage students to gain practical experience during their studies by offering them internships and research opportunities.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Washington DC :

  • Georgetown University
  • American University
  • George Washington University
  • Howard University

9. Pittsburgh

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Pittsburg has some of the best colleges in the country for Computer Science, IT, Medicine, Business and Engineering. The city is touted to be one of the most affordable cities in the USA that offers a high quality of life.
Pittsburgh is also called as the steel city due to the nearly 300 steel-related businesses in the city. In addition to this, as many companies like Apple, SAP, Consol Energy, PNC Corp., Google, Microsoft, Intel, VIPKid have started to invest in the city, you will have plenty of employment opportunities after your graduation.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate

Top Universities in Pittsburgh :

  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Pittsburg State University

10. San Diego

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San Diego is the perfect place for you to experience the Californian culture. It is considered as one of the finest cities in the United States. Around 70,000 international students have come to San Diego to gain a quality education. In case you get lost in the city, you will always find a friendly local to help you get around.
However, there are plenty of other reasons why you must choose San Diego, such as its sunny weather, beaches, high quality of life, safety and job opportunities. As San Diego is located in California, you will find many top companies like Apple, T-Mobile, Viasat, Compass and many more in the city. Besides, the distance between San Diego to Los Angeles is just 2 hours so you can even try for jobs outside the city.
QS World Ranking
The average cost of living per month
The average annual salary of a graduate
$ 72,246

Top Universities in San Diego :

  • San Diego State University
  • University of California, San Diego

Other Good Cities for International Students to Study in the USA

  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Austin, Texas
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan


Studying in the US is an ambitious dream to nurture. Choosing the right university, apt course and a city catering to the needs of international students is an arduous task. You have to spend a lot of time to research about the city where your dream university is located, as, where you will live is equally important. We have given you the list of 10 best cities to study in the USA based on some crucial factors like university rankings, safety and affordability. You can make your choice based on your priorities.
Do read the article below to estimate the cost of living in the USA for international students.