3 reasons to choose upstate New York as a study abroad destination

upstate new york
Upstate New York is one multicultural place.Source: AFP/Vaughn Ridley

When most people residing outside the US hear “New York,” they tend to instantly think of New York City. So much so that the term “upstate” was probably coined to separate the other towns and cities in the state from it.

While the Big Apple is undoubtedly the state’s most well-known city, there is so much more to the beautiful state than the legendary New York City.

New York is actually the 27th biggest state in the US, home to 19.54 million people, 932 towns and 62 cities. Another fun albeit confusing fact: the capital of New York state is NOT New York City, but is actually Albany.

Studying in upstate New York is a great option for international students as there are several benefits, whether academically or for personal growth. Here are just a few of them.

Quality education and affordable cost of living

upstate new york

SUNY Plattsburgh campus in upstate New York. Source: Shutterstock

New York state has an excellent public university system called SUNY (State University of New York), which is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the US, with a total of 64 campuses across the state serving approximately 1.3 million students.

The biggest SUNY campus is University at Buffalo SUNY, which has a large and vibrant international student population, and was ranked #79 in National Universities by US News Education’s Best Colleges 2020.

Studying in SUNY schools is also known to be good value for money, as out-of-state tuition fees for international students are lower compared to other states.

There are also a number of quality private universities in the state such as Cornell University in Ithaca and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Picturesque Niagara Falls – just a short drive from Buffalo, New York. Source: AFP/Daniel Slim

New York City is also known to be expensive, but the opposite is true for upstate New York. In certain cities, the cost of living – such as rent and transportation costs – are much more affordable.

Career prospects

New York City can be incredibly competitive for international students trying to find employment or internships.

In cities such as Buffalo and Albany, the competition is less fierce and there are more opportunities for graduates.

Since the state is so big and diverse, there are also more choices for graduates when it comes to applying for jobs and internships.

Culture, nature & everything in-between

Studying in New York state offer international students the chance to be immersed in unique culture and nature like no other.

In Buffalo, for example, there is a thriving arts and culture scene while being located close to the magnificent Niagara Falls. Students studying at SUNY Buffalo can easily take a short 30-minute drive to check out the Falls and surrounding area.

Where better to get authentic buffalo wings than upstate New York? Source: AFP/William Thomas Cain

Students in upstate New York also enjoy the changing seasons and all kinds of weather. While winter can be harsh upstate, they will definitely experience snowfall (which can be a first for some international students – including this writer), the beautiful changing colours of Spring and Fall, and warm summer days.

As immigrants from all over the world have settled down and formed communities in upstate New York, there is plenty of cultural diversity as well. This has also allowed for plenty of delicious and diverse cuisine that New York is famous for – such as the famous Buffalo hot wings.

New York state is also home to iconic and picturesque landscapes such as the Finger Lakes, Panama Rocks Scenic Park and the Adirondack Mountains.

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