Why NYU is perfect for International Students

A non-exhaustive list of reasons on why International Students should add NYU to their college application list.

Photo of Neyl Loukil-Borrás

So you are debating whether to leave your country of residence for an education. You hear that NYU is home to the highest number of international students in the U.S. You see that more than 17,000 international students call NYU their home. How did NYU do that? Obviously, you want to find a place that will make you feel welcomed for the next years of your life. This is an added factor that many international students, like myself, have (or had) to consider when applying to colleges in the U.S. And, whether looking through brochures or using Google, finding the perfect campus as an international applicant is tough. However, I can start by making it simple and telling you how NYU is perfect for international students. 

From the get-go, I want to say that New York City is probably one of the most perfect places for international students. A diverse city which speaks more than 800 languages. A metropolis full of rich cultural neighborhoods where you can find your culture if you start to miss it. I walk around Greenwich Village because it reminds me of parts of Europe. I walk around Little Italy too, even if I’m not Italian but you get the point. Anyway, NYU being nestled in one of the most global cities gives a certain ounce of relief to prospective international students. Being able to walk anywhere and meet people from anywhere at any time in the city is a big plus. I could talk about NYC all day but that is not why I’m here. I’m here to tell you why NYU specifically is perfect for international students. 

1) The most Test-Flexible Policy of any University

Starting from the application, we can see how NYU appreciates its international applicants through its test-flexible policy. I heard the words SAT and ACT way too much. They were thrown around as if it was common knowledge. To this day, they still confuse me, but it shouldn’t worry you. The good thing about NYU is that these standardized tests aren’t required. They will gladly accept your national leaving examination or certificate as a substitute to be considered for admission. I completed the European Baccalaureate (not a very well-known diploma in the U.S.) and was shocked when I learnt my certificate was valid. Since you don’t have to worry about taking American standardized tests, it helps relieve a lot of the stress around the application process.

 

Me when I learnt that NYU accepted my leaving examinations

For a lot of international students these standardized tests might not be available. So, NYU wants to make sure everyone, regardless of home country, is able to apply. It is worth noting that if you are applying to other universities in the U.S. that require it, you should take them. However, the advantage as an international applicant is that you have the freedom to choose which test reflects your academic performance better (if you decide to take a standardized test). If your leaving exam grades are better than your SAT, send those in. If not, send your SAT scores. That’s how simple it is! You get to decide how the Admissions Office sees you academically. Perfect for prospective international students wanting to shape their story.  

2) The International Yin-and-Yang

The International Student Center

To say that I love the International Student Center (ISC) is an understatement. It probably is up there with my favorite places on campus. ISC is a hub for cross-cultural exchange and a place to meet other fellow international students. The programs offered range from U.S. Pop Culture 101, to English Conversation Hours, to specific Regional Hangouts, to Foodie Friday (my favorite!). Honestly, it is just a great platform to use for making friends and finding your own community. Personally, I met my current roommate through a European Regional Hangout, I met other 3rd Culture Kids on campus, I won a travel voucher through a postcard challenge where I got to travel last Thanksgiving. Overall, a great resource perfectly designed to help international students thrive in a new environment.

Students enjoying food at the Foodie Friday event hosted by the International Student Center
This is what Foodie Friday looks like. Quite offended that I'm not in this picture considering I attended every single one last year. Anyway...

The Office of Global Services

The Office of Global Services  (OGS) works along with the International Student Center to create the best experience for you. From immigration and visa questions to helping you tackle the U.S. job market, they are (and should be) your go to resource as an international student. They constantly communicate with you in regards to any legal updates so you can keep your visa on track. As a matter of fact, they expedited my new I-20 during COVID so I could make it back to the U.S. on time. OGS is just a magnificent resource providing lots of support for NYU international students. 

3) Student Life... but make it International

The international aspect of NYU’s resources is reflected in the student life. NYU has cultural clubs such as the European Society, the Brazilian Society, and the Caribbean Students Association to name a few. These clubs are designed for students from the same culture to meet. Also, for people interested in the culture, they have a way to discover it. This promotion of cross-cultural exchanges helps international students adapt to U.S. school club culture. You get more and more chances to find your perfect community at NYU.

Apart from cultural clubs, NYU also has cultural floors through its residence halls. These are themed engagement communities designed to unite students with a shared interest. Like, the French or Spanish Floor at Lipton for freshmen, or Take-Off’s and Landings at Gramercy for upperclassmen. This is an even easier way to meet people and resolves the uncertainty of residence hall life for international students.

 

Picture of the King Juan Carlos I Center of Spain, a Spanish cultural house for international and domestic students alike
King Juan Carlos Center I of Spain, hub for Spanish cultural events
Washington Mews: a cobblestone street that hosts most of NYUʼs international houses.
Washington Mews: a street that hosts most of our international houses.

If you thought this is where all the cultural stuff stops, you are wrong. Finally, NYU boasts a good amount of cultural centers such as La Maison Française, the King Juan Carlos I Center of Spain, or the Africa House. These centers, like the clubs, promote bigger cultural events associated with their respective country. Some host film festivals and some have renowned guest speakers. For example, I attended a Spanish Short Film Festival and witnessed amazing works by fellow Hispanics. The amount of intellectual exchange and learning opportunities that these centers provide is uncountable. All in all, NYU does allocate its resources to perfect the learning and community experiences of international students.

A Perfect Campus

The view from our Kimmel Center for University Life

I know you’re thinking “but you don’t have a campus?” Or, “isn’t NYU all about a campus without walls?” While yes, we don’t have a traditional campus in NYC, we have a global campus. NYU is a network of colleges around the world with an emphasis on a global education. It’s the reason Go Local is an option this semester. They leveraged their global network to provide an in-person aspect for those who couldn’t make it back. They had to cater to the needs of international students since we represent more than 1/4 of the student body. And they did. This global mindset is what makes NYU so perfect for international students. They value you, truly.