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Why overseas students love NYC

Why do students love studying in New York so much? For the same reasons 62 million tourists1 also flock to the city each year: the culture, the entertainment, the eateries, and everything in between

8 reasons to love NYC

1. Student friendly

The 2019/2020 school year saw over 1 million foreign students studying in the United States for the 5th consecutive year. New York University hosted the most international students of any university in the US, with Columbia University a close fourth2.

STEM is the most popular field of study, with over 21% of international students studying engineering3. Fancy following in the footsteps of someone famous? Princeton University's alumni includes Jeff Bezos of Amazon; First Lady Michelle Obama; and Great Gatsby novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Okay, Princeton is technically in New Jersey, but it's just a 2-hour commute from the Big Apple.

2. Good grub

New York now has more than 75 Michelin-starred restaurants, but it offers far more than just fine dining. In fact the everyday meal options are so popular that a whole genre is named after the city.

You're never far from New York cheesecake, New York pastrami sandwiches, New York bagels, New York pizza and Manhattan clam chowder. In addition to being delicious, they're all friendly to a student budget.

3. Convenience

You can buy dog booties, ear plugs and a waffle maker any time of day, and have them delivered to you within the hour, if that's your thing. Walk out your front door and you'll find a deli, bodega (local corner store) and coffee shop, usually within a block or two.

This is super convenient if you're a busy student with no time to buy your waffle iron during regular daylight hours. Plus, many restaurants and clothing stores offer student discounts if you flash your university-issued ID.

4. Museums and culture

There are over 100 museums in New York, and many entrance fees are by donation. With a New York Public Library card, you can get into dozens of museums and cultural institutions for free – not to mention access to over 55 million items at the largest public library system in the US. Think of all the bagels and cheesecake you can splurge on with the money you save.

5. The parks

Central Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the world, but it's only the fifth-largest in New York (that honour goes to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, at 2,765 acres).

There are 1,700 other parks spread out over the 5 boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Compared to Los Angeles, with a mere 6.7% of green space, New York residents are practically wallowing in nature with an estimated 27% of the city dedicated to green space.

These parks provide more than just a place to picnic. Expect film screenings, festivals and outdoor concerts in the summer and ice skating rinks, sledding and ice bowling in the winter.

6. Good schools in every borough

There are more four-year degree programme universities in New York than any other US state. You can't get any more urban than NYU, right in the heart of Manhattan. Just like the city it calls home, it's world-class and multicultural, with loads of networking opportunities.

While this is the city's largest university by student population, if you're looking for "traditional" college experiences, like frat houses or tailgating parties, this is not the school for you.

If you've chosen New York as your educational destination, get yourself organised with our series of checklists, starting with the United States. Looking into an international education in the United Kingdom or Australia? We have checklists for them, too.

7. Get a foot in the (financial) door

Everybody knows Wall Street. If you're an aspiring trader, investment banker, or you just love money, New York is where it's at. Almost every large financial institution has a presence in New York and incomes tend to be higher here than other states.

Big companies visit the top university campuses a few times a year, offering internships to promising recruits. You may move on to other markets, but working in New York will always be a great entry on your CV.

8. Getting around

If you drive, there are apps that help you locate parking lots and even book a spot for you in advance. But one of the best things about the city is that you don't actually need a car.

This is a great, especially if you're a student on a budget. New York's rail and bus system is cheap, environmentally friendly, and a great way to see sights, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Getting around by bike, tram, pedicab or walking are also good options, or you could hail a yellow cab if you're feeling flush. Be like a local and just hop in. The cabby can't say no to you if you're already in the car.

Ready to open an overseas account?

When studying abroad, it's easier to manage your finances if you have a bank account already set up in your host country.


We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.


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1 HSBC and Knight Frank New York: City Overview and Residential Buyer's Guide

2 International Students in the United States, Migration Policy Institute 2021

3 How the international student population in the US is changing, Study International