||The US east coast states have a lot going for them,” says Stan Cahill, Senior Director of Marketing & Enrolments at Presidential Classroom in Alexandria, Virginia. “The east coast of the United States is rich in history and culture and has numerous first-class destinations for touring,” he elaborates.
In the upper northeastern corner of the USA is a cluster of six states that make up New England, an area of incredible scenic beauty, which is internationally renowned as a tourist destination. Merry-Ann Taylor, Marketing Coordinator at Boston School of English in Boston, Massachusetts, relates, “New England is full of quaint little villages and beautiful countryside, combining the stunning ocean views, the mountains and endless wilderness of Maine and New Hampshire with the rolling hills and enchanting forests of Vermont and the unique coastline all the way from Massachusetts to Connecticut. This part of the coast is beautiful every month of the year.” Continuing southwards are New York State, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, spreading down to Delaware, Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia.
What is a great draw for many visitors is that this whole area is rich with historical sites, and it has many high quality education institutions, which is appealing for international students, underlines Kevin Mayne from Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut. “Students are often attracted to the US east coast states because of the region’s reputation for [quality] education,” he asserts. “The northeast, in particular, is noted for the strength of its academic offerings.”
There are other advantages of this area, as Christopher Malenfant, Vice President of ELC which has several branches, including one in Boston points out. “For Europeans, [the east coast states are] quite close, only six hours by plane,” he says. “For South American students, there are fewer Spanish speakers here than in a city like Miami or Los Angeles. For Asian students, who have experienced the west coast, it’s an interesting contrast. Many students are attracted to the more European nature of the east coast cities and are intrigued by the mix of Europe and America.”
Situated in the centre of New England, within easy access of Boston,Providence, Hartford and New York City, Mitchell College in New London, CT, offers students a pleasant coastal experience. “We are situated along the Thames River and Long Island Sound [and] Mitchell College has two private sandy beaches and a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean,” says Mayne. The city itself is small but diverse and has a vibrant cultural scene, he relates. “It is a city that celebrates its diversity and showcases this through theatre, the arts, music and literature,” he relates. “As a port city, it is home to many different cultures and rather than be segregated, these cultures come together to weave a tapestry of celebration.”
While many students head to the Big Apple, New York, to embark on their studies and get to know one of the most famous cities in the world, if clients are looking for an experience of one of the USA’s ultimate student cities, then they should head for Boston. “Boston particularly is regarded as an academic city with all its famous universities Harvard, MIT Boston College, North Eastern,” says Alan Turner from Boston Academy of English in Boston, Massachusetts. “This is still the main reason why students come to Boston even if they are not going to these places there is this feeling that it is a centre of academia.”
Boston is also a very attractive city, and Malenfant says that students are “often surprised by how European the architecture of the city is and how old the buildings are”. Being a student city, there is plenty to do and Taylor believes there is something for everyone. “Whether you follow New England’s eventful history along the Freedom Trail or enjoy a stroll along Charles River into the lovely neighbourhood of Cambridge or simply ‘shop ’til you drop’ in the various enticing shops in the Back Bay, you will always be amazed by Boston’s charm and diversity,” she says.
Just 20 miles south of Boston is Stonehill College in Easton, where Access to Language Studies can be found. Students at the institution have the opportunity to partake in several varied excursions. “Students [can] visit and learn first-hand about the history of the US, tour Harvard, MIT, and take day trips to nearby cities: Salem/Gloucester, Cape Cod, Plymouth, Newport and Providence [as well as] excursions to Six Flags, New York City and Washington DC,” states Dilermando Silva at the school.
If students are looking for a more active outdoors experience, then they could study at the International Language Institute of Massachusetts in Northampton. “The area is rural, with many opportunities for swimming, hiking, skiing and other outdoor activities,” says Caroline Gear, Director of Programmes at the institute. There is also a lot to do in Northampton itself. “The historic tree-lined downtown area offers many restaurants, shops, galleries, theatres and performance venues often only associated with big urban centres,” says Gear. As well as trips to Boston, students are offered a variety of excursions including a trip to a Buddhist Peace Pagoda, strawberry picking and a visit to the local radio station.
At Presidential Classroom in Alexandria, visiting students use Washington, DC and its surroundings as a “living classroom”, says Cahill. “Students go to Capitol Hill visiting legislative offices, observing congressional hearings and examining legislators’ roles in making public policy,” he states.
The USA’s capital city, Washington, DC, is home to all three branches of the federal government, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, an extensive collection of museums. Everything is within easy reach thanks to the city’s comprehensive subway system, and almost nowhere is off limits, says Cahill. “Students might be surprised at how close they can get to almost any attraction. For example, visitors can tour the White House, the Capitol building (even while the Senate and House of Representatives are in session) and numerous other public spaces.” There is the lively Georgetown area where many students live, and many social diversions. “The city has a vast array of international cuisines and vibrant neighbourhoods that make for a rich diversity,” enthuses Cahill.
“Students are attracted to this area because of the idea of a more cultural coast and a good mix between the US spirit and a slight European flavour. Also the flights are cheaper than for the west coast. We send most students to New York, Boston and Washington, DC. The most popular is New York City, which has an appeal that needs no justification. Students are generally pleasantly surprised by the kindness and openness of people, the multicultural experience, large choice of things to see (concerts, exhibitions etc) and the beauty of the countryside. On the negative side, they are sometimes disappointed about the distances from the accommodation to downtown, and the unwelcome rigidity at the customs and the burden of pre-entry visa regulations.”
Krister Weidenhielm, ESL Séjours Linguistiques, Switzerland
“Compared to those in the west coast states, the east coast cities are better known in Europe, especially Boston and New York. Also, the flying time is much shorter. If you have never been to the States the first place you want to go to is New York. Boston and New York are the most popular locations. New York is the world’s most famous city, while Boston has a great reputation in Spain. It is known to be attractive and safe. Our students usually have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but, still, [the large] size is shocking upon arrival.”
Fernando Aguilar, Programas de Idiomas Astex, Spain
“The east coast of the USA is closer than the west coast for flights from Turkey. The parents of students also trust that the programmes on this side of the country are more serious than those in California. Boston is always popular although some students prefer Long Island and New Jersey because there is a Turkish community there. New York City is also very interesting for Turkish students. It is mostly the rich people that go there from Turkey so there is not a great difference to their own lives back home. Shopping is the main activity they take part in.”
Necdet Bilgen, Biltur, Turkey