- Study Abroad
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- Gap Year
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Few countries are as ethnically and culturally diverse as the United States. Embracing a philosophy of individual liberty, the United States is known as a "melting pot," or an immigrant nation, and citizens take pride in their independence. The landscape is equally diverse. From the Rocky Mountains in the Southwest to the Florida Everglades, the United States is tropical, arid, temperate, and humid all at once. Why do so many people move to the United States? It's a land of dreamers, united but individual, proud but always questioning. So explore the wide-open ranges, the skyscraper lit cities, the heavenly peaks, and the rushing rapids of this diverse country. The United States offers every kind of experience, if you're willing to go out and find them.
Volunteer in the USA! America has always been a melting pot, and volunteers come from all around the world. Volunteering in the U.S. is the perfect opportunity for both visitors and Americans to be part of an international community. Most volunteer projects last 2-3 weeks. This is perfect for the gap year traveler who wishes to have a variety of experiences. Volunteer projects in America include: building and fixing playgrounds, landscaping public areas, assisting at nursing homes, painting classrooms, reconstructing schools, and environmental restoration. Opportunities for working in professional areas are also available. Volunteers of any background are encouraged to share their skills.
Traveling throughout the United States is entirely variable. Each city differs. San Francisco and New York City have adequate public transportation, but are expensive. The Midwest lacks adequate public transit, but rental cars are always available. The United States offers thousands of national wonders and opportunities for exploration. If one state or city doesn't seem enjoyable to you, chances are, in this diverse and enormous country you can travel as little as 3 hours and be in a completely new environment. From Yosemite National Forest to the Mississippi River, the United States is a breath taking country with so much to offer.
Interning in the U.S. offers a great opportunity to gain experience in the Business fields. The U.S. is considered the economic hub of the world and it's business culture makes it the perfect place to find career building internships. Internships of every type are available throughout the country. They vary from state to state, but the United States, per capita, has more interns than any other country in the world. As a result, finding an internship is incredibly competitive, and you'll need to be well organized and prepared.
The U.S. is too diverse to simplify the cost of living. Products and housing vary from state to state and city to city. For example, a movie ticket in San Francisco can cost as much as $12 while a movie ticket in Indiana will cost around $7.50. Plan accordingly and save when possible if you plan on traveling throughout the country. Save when traveling to less expensive places so that visiting the cities is less of a financial burden.
When cultures collide, history happens. The United States is home to many cultures, varying from state to state, city to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood. The U.S. is a hodgepodge of multi-ethnic traditions, along with influence by European cultures. Today, the United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as a result of large-scale immigration. American life incorporates traditions from many cultures. From their China cabinets to the impressionists paintings on their living room walls, the American households are as diverse as the country itself. America includes both conservative and liberal elements, including military and scientific competitiveness; it's a country where risk taking and free expression are idealized.
When interacting with an American, whether on the street or in business situations, always make eye-contact, be polite, and give a firm and well placed handshake. There's an old cliche in America, "You can tell a lot by a man by the strength of his handshake." Be firm, be strong, and be an individual through and through!
Newly enacted healthcare codes offer healthcare coverage to the underprivileged. However, the United States does not have a large scale socialized Health Care system. The US doesn't suffer from large scale epidemics, but the inner cities do have a higher percentage of HIV victims and drug addicts. Health and safety should always be a top precaution, and you can never be too prepared. Always watch your luggage closely and avoid cheesy pick-up lines when at parties!
The United States is too diverse to summarize. In fact, Americans tend to despise being categorized and labeled. Perhaps this is what's so endearing about the country. There's so much to take in, so much to learn. Keep an open-mind and remember to explore the outdoors whenever possible. From "sea to shining sea," and the Grand Canyon to the Appalachian Mountains, this country can take your breath away, so remain open to new experiences!
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to a gap year in the USA? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.