America is home to one of the world’s largest population of international students in higher education. As the world’s fourth largest country by area and population, you will experience a country that offers endless possibilities for adventure.
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and gaining an education in the USA is an incredible way to learn more about yourself and the world. An inspiring place to study, the USA is made up of 50 states and one federal district, each with its own unique identity. Living here, you will be welcomed into a warm and diverse community that will support you to become a well-rounded global citizen.
Ethnic diversity is an important part of life in the USA. People move from around the world to build a life here. Known as the "melting pot", the long tradition of welcoming immigrants to the USA means you will experience a huge range of different cultures and find widespread cultural influence in everything. Finding or creating a supportive community of friends and family is an essential part of American life. At Western, you will quickly find and create your own diverse community.
Americans are generally relaxed and friendly people who value independence, hard work and humor. Your campus life will be full of classmates who have traveled far distances across the USA to study in a new city and state to pursue their dreams. American culture is relatively informal, and people will often speak to strangers when standing in line or sharing public transport.
Western has an active student community, and you will be encouraged to join. With over 200 student clubs, you will easily explore new things and meet new people.
There are huge employment and career opportunities for international students studying abroad in the USA. Leading international companies are headquartered across the country, many offering internships and entry-level jobs to top graduates who are fluent in multiple languages. In Washington, you can find Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Boeing all located in and around Seattle.
Kayo from Japan talks about her experiences as an international student at Western Washington University.
Studying abroad in the USA is a great way to experience the world and prepare for your future with some of the best opportunities.
Weather in the USA varies considerably, depending on which part of the country you are in. For example, the Pacific Northwest and western Washington are known for rainfall year round and lush landscapes, whereas states further south enjoy considerably more sun and drier climates.
Living in Bellingham, you will experience a marine oceanic climate that is influenced by the neighboring Cascade Range and Olympic Mountains. These mountain ranges provide a rain shadow, protecting Bellingham from much of the rainfall that is experienced further south in Seattle.
Winter (Dec-Feb): Cold winter temperatures with snow and freezing lakes, perfect for skiing and ice-skating. Average temperatures range from 0°C to 9°C.
Spring (Mar-May): The end of the rainy season means more sun and beautiful foliage. Average temperatures range from 2°C to 17°C.
Summer (June-Aug): Mild and pleasant summers with less rain and unusually warm breezes. Average temperatures range from 10°C to 22°C.
Fall (Sept-Nov): Beginning of the rainy season, November is typically the wettest month. Average temperatures range from 3°C to 19°C.
The USA is a safe place to live. As an international student, you are subject to the same laws and protection as American citizens. Bellingham is a quiet city with a low crime rate. Your safety while studying abroad is a top priority, which is why most universities have an on-campus police service. Western Washington University Police officers are commissioned by the State of Washington, and are supported on-campus by students, known as Public Safety Assistants or 'Green Coats', to provide safety escorts.
The American health care system is one of the best in the world, but it is also expensive. Many colleges and universities provide student health insurance plans, and offer medical care on campus. When you apply, you will receive details of what is available to ensure you are covered from your first day on campus. At Western, student resources include the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services where you can receive support to maintain good emotional and physical health.
The United States dollar ($/USD) is the official currency in the USA. Having your own bank account in America will make it cheaper and easier to manage your finances while studying abroad. You can set up a bank account and debit card when you arrive. You will be able to easily pay with both cash and card in most shops, bars and restaurants.
It is easy to travel around the USA with cars, buses, trains and planes. To fly from state-to-state or to USA territories you will need your immigration documents and a form of identification. These may include your valid, unexpired passport (with an end date at least six months into the future), a valid and unexpired I-20, an I-94 or a USA visa (expired or unexpired, unless you are in the Visa Waiver Program). Learn more about living in Bellingham and how to explore Washington, the USA, and Canada while you study abroad.
Where you live while you study abroad is important. Bellingham is a safe coastal city where you'll find an active and welcoming community.