SAFer Chie Yoshida captures the annual International Festival at California State University San Marcos.
Finding the right-fit university for you is about identifying and sharing the informal characteristics of the community you will join. From their differing teaching methodologies to the prominence of their extra-curricular activities, the institutions that make up our top-tier International University Network offer wide-ranging approaches to successful study abroad experiences.
In a survey of 443 U.S. colleges and universities, College Factual identified schools that provide “quality educational outcomes and a supportive community to students from other countries," then ranked them based on student body caliber, educational resources, total number of international students on campus and more. We’re proud to see so many of our member universities topped the list.
But take this information only for what it's worth in your search for the best study abroad opportunities. With our expert advice and international education knowledge, we can help ensure you get into the program that best suits your academic ambitions, qualifications and interests --- and that means looking beyond the rankings, even this one.
SAF Member Universities Among the Top 10 Best U.S. Universities for International Students From:
I learned to confront and acknowledge my shortfalls.
Although “leadership” is widely discussed among students, I don’t think it’s a word for everyone. In my opinion, there’s no need for everyone forcing himself to acquire this quality and be a leader. A good world is not only made by outstanding leadership, but also by effective cooperation, where a leader is just one role of many and where everyone can get involved.
I used to be a member in AIESEC, where leadership is the permanent topic. “I tried hard to be active, to be responsible, and to do everything that made me a “good leader”, except I didn't know the reason why I was doing it. I was aiming at changing the world, probably because all my peers were claiming it as their cause. I can tell from my experience that being a leader was miserable for me, when I was wrongly put into the position. As a result, I think it’s important especially for easily-confused young people to spend some time discovering their needs in order to find their right place in this globalized world.
For instance, when I became the president of my school’s yoga club, I found my work exciting and inexhaustible, because I really enjoyed yoga and was eager to bring the club back to life. What I learned there is before asking “how can I be a leader?”, I should firstly ask “why do I want to be a leader?” For me, real leadership only comes when a person finds his overwhelmingly passion to make a change in certain circumstance.
I didn't encounter many difficulties during my preparation for study abroad, but for the past half month at the University of Glasgow, I’ve been challenged, caught in panic and trapped in upset. But every struggle means an opportunity to renew and grow, only if one overcomes. Fortunately, I have lived through it with the encouragement of others, and now I have some brand new views, which seemingly have nothing to do with leadership, but which actually greatly contribute to the shaping of a good leader, as they’re the foundation or essential qualities for being a better person.
First, while abroad I learned to confront and acknowledge my shortfalls. I have to admit that my English is not good as I think, especially compared to those native speakers. In the very beginning, I would pretend that I understood what they were saying even though I didn’t catch a word, and was afraid to clarify by asking questions, which brought me great pain. But now I understand that I need to accept who I am and where I stand. It’s natural for an English learner struggling with words in a new environment, and everyone is imperfect, even the greatest leader in the world. To accomplish a goal, it’s as crucial for a good leader to know what he lacks as what he has, before he can search for supplementary resources or the help of others effectively.
Second, while abroad I learned not to be picky when making friends. It’s very important for leaders as well as students who live abroad to develop extensive interpersonal relations, so as to obtain enough support.
Talking about my future career plan, I’ll try to find communication work in the Chinese non-profit sector and devote myself into philanthropy after graduation. I’ve been learning journalism and communication for more than five years, and I know it’s vital for Chinese volunteer organizations to find a right way to express their ideas, rebuild their reputation and gain back the trust of the public. In order to get an overview of the field, I took an internship in China Philanthropy Times before coming to the UK, and I found that most philanthropic activities were confined within the industry. Hence, I set three goals for my exchange in Glasgow.
The first one is participating and examining different voluntary practices and institutions in the UK, especially their way of organizing and promoting people, in order to have a firsthand taste in this experienced country (without violating British immigration law with my short term study visa). The second goal is taking some public policy courses to deepen my understanding of social problems and learn the viable way to deal with them. I’m now taking a course called Understanding Glasgow in a Globalized World, which gives insightful local experience to regenerate a de-industrialized city. Last but most practically, I want to improve my English and cultivate my international view in a comprehensive way, which may do good to cross-cultural communication or even my job hunting if applying for a transnational NGO in the future.
Host: University of Glasgow
Home: Xiamen University
School of Journalism and Communication
李瑾雯 厦门大学 新闻传播学院
"This experience has shaped me to become a more tolerant and empathetic person than I could have been without it."
One SAF Student Global Leadership grant recipient reveals how studying abroad has shaped her as a future leader.
In my opinion, leadership is not an innate ability just for a gifted person. Instead, it is open to everyone who puts effort to find their potentiality and strengths. Therefore, I think that a key to be a leader comes from a personal endeavour such as searching for one’s identity. Successful leaders, as far as I understand, are not the people who decide matters wholly on their own judgement. However, they should have an ability to empathise with others and be ready to accept others’ opinions, since we live in a community where an individual and others are seldom detachable. To sum up, I believe that good leaders need to mature not only their particular talents, but also communicative skills, in order to yield a result which benefits the whole society. In a study abroad year, this perception of leadership of mine has been strengthened, rather than radically altered.
From a young age, I have been lucky to be able to travel around the world, meeting various people and interacting with different cultures. This experience has shaped me to become a more tolerant and empathetic person than I could have been without it. Therefore, studying the society people live in naturally became my interest, which is one of the basic and thrilling ideas of Sociology. To develop my interest in Sociology in a research-based environment, I decided to study abroad in the United Kingdom. It was worthwhile, for example, to participate in ‘empirical research on patriarchy’ there. Based on interviews with groups of families including mine, I could examine the limited role of gender under traditional stereotypes. Since then, I have started to face inequality and discrimination in society, which made think that experiences and studies at school should be practically linked and ultimately contribute to real-world problems.
Besides academic studies, I have been a part of the school’s musical and drama societies as an actor and a production assistant in ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Morir O No’. From this experience, I learned not only how to harmonise and communicate with a variety of people, but also to express humanity in a form of art. To me, theatre performance is more than just an entertainment, but a microcosm of society which gives significant messages to the audience. Additionally, as a human being, I always seek to improve myself and adapt in new environments. Learning, especially being able to communicate in foreign languages, has been my top priority since I was little. I have been interested in learning Japanese, French, German as well as English. Since my time in the UK, my English skills have improved consistently, especially in writing and speaking, as I needed these skills for social interactions. I hope to continue my study in the UK, to perfect my English skills which would allow me to communicate effortlessly with people in the world.
After getting the bachelor’s degree in sociology, I plan to continue my study at graduate school. I am open to new opportunities in life, but right now I hope to find an internship in broadcasting during this time in the future. It is my passion and interest to eventually get involved in creative media industry, and produce public media programs like TV shows, films and podcasts. In my opinion, media production should be based on an understanding of both people and communities, to help build a better society. I strongly believe that my experience at ‘FIE Student Global Leadership Conference’ will help me to develop my own specialties as well as social interaction skills, which are essential to reach this goal.
Host: University of Edinburgh
Home: Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Major: English Interpretation and Translation
A glimpse at the city of Edinburgh, where Sobin Lee is studying:
SAF scholar Haeri Kim captures the first days of her first semester at Michigan State University.
SAF scholar Geming Liu discusses what studying abroad has meant to her.
Blair School of Music is also a part of my experience at Vanderbilt. I take piano classes there. Actually, I studied piano for more than 10 years, but at Vanderbilt I realized for the first time that music is a language. I learned that as a musician you need to listen to the music instead of just playing it. If you make a mistake, it doesn’t matter, just try again.
At Vanderbilt, I feel the peaceful power of my inner self. I haven’t found a clear-cut answer in my journey for self-exploration, but I will never stop thinking about those questions. At least I found out what I need, what I want, and I expanded the angle from which I perceive life.
Host: Vanderbilt University
Home: Jinan University
SAF scholar Zheng Wang captures the whirlwind experience of being a visiting student at the University of California, Berkeley.
A talented saxophonist, SAF scholar Asuka Ono discusses the unexpected rewards of joining the marching band as a visiting student.
I play alto saxophone, and I have played for six years (in the brass band club in middle school and high school). I joined the University of Montana Grizzly Marching Band because I expected that this kind of activity would be good relaxation. I did not want to just study all the time. Also, I wanted more American friends, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make new friends. It has been that and so much more.
My favorite part of joining the marching band is game day. We mainly play for the pregame show and halftime show, three songs for each. We need to workout for these shows a lot, but it is the most fun part of the marching band. We also march for homecoming day, the welcome ceremony for freshmen and more events. Every time we play, people are excited, and I really feel that people in Missoula love Montana and this town, and this Grizzly Marching Band is very loved by the people in Missoula.
After I joined the marching band, I feel I am part of the local community, and I have a real feeling that I am studying in the U.S. I met my best friend in the marching band, and he is like my English teacher; it really helps my English skill development. I strongly recommend that future exchange students join a club activity. It is fun and gives you many unforgettable memories.
Home: Chuo University
Host: University of Montana
Major: Political Science
From Taichung, Kai Chang captures San Jose State University through the lens of a visiting student.
SJSU is a beautiful campus, although it is not big; but the students and professors are really friendly! It may help future SAF students to know more about how their living area will be. Here are some pictures of the dorm (double occupancy). There are a lot of campus events that we can join, like soccer games or attend a presentation given by the former YAHOO CEO. As an exchange student, I spend weekdays studying and travel on weekends. I would like to remind future exchange students to do well on time management while they are in the United States, and also be open minded and get involved in the campus [life]!
Home: Tunghai University
Host: San Jose State University
From Chizhou, China, SAF Scholar Shan Jiang shares insights into adapting to student life at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Life in America is enjoyable, but tough, especially at a prestigious university, where students all around me are exceedingly more diligent than I had expected. The foreign culture which lies in the daily routine includes divergent meal tastes, eating habits and even personal health care routines. Traditional Chinese tend to eat more soup to ward against colds, but peers in America usually use hand sanitizer instead. In class, things are quite different, endless discussions and exciting debates always open my mind. After class, my roommates also share different cookies and posters and other fun American things with me, which I enjoy a lot. In the meantime, the midterm exam around the corner is also stressful for a newcomer, like me, to the United States. Prejudgments about American student life aren't that useful for helping you adapt to the totally unfamiliar environment. So, cast aside your assumptions and enjoy the brand new and wonderful experience. Why not hang out and give it a try?
Host: Johns Hopkins University
Home: Central University of Finance and Economics I 中央财经大学
Undergraduate in Sociology I 社会学本科生
Department of Sociology School of Social Development I 社会发展学院
SAF Scholars and Alumni