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About USA
Around 630,000 international students, of which over 60,000 are Indian students, chose to study in the US last year. The sheer number of world-class institutes of higher learning is one of the key factors that have made the US the premiere destination for Indian students from all over the world. The reputation of American universities coupled with the comprehensive curriculum offered at these institutions which are valued by students and employers alike. Another major reason that draws international students in large numbers to study in the US is the array of courses on offer: from highly academic programmes like nuclear physics to very creative courses like art and film direction. For graduate students, probably the number one factor in choosing a US university is the amount of funds spent on research. The US tops the list of money spent on research, followed by the UK.

Many students who arrive in the US will probably have a preconceived image of American culture, either positive or negative, from what they've observed on television and in movies. However, American mainstream culture is extremely diverse and complex, and varies from one geographical region to the next, between rural and urban areas, and can be particularly influenced by the ethnic communities found in each region. Today, regardless of one's ethnic, religious or social background, American culture values individuality, where independence and self-reliance are taught from a young age, competitiveness is encouraged and achievement praised.

The United States is a land of delicious eating from coast to coast and neighborhood to neighborhood. But its cultural and culinary mix makes it impossible to characterize in a single byte or even a string of them.

American cuisine has come a long way since the early days of corn, beans and squash and along the way it has spawned some eminently forgettable food. Nonetheless the US remains a great place for great eating. Delicious regional styles remain and the new blood of immigrants sparks the imagination of the finest chefs while making for great inexpensive food in the cities.

Some of the strongest influences on US cuisine came from African slaves, the people who least intended to be here. American food is inconceivable without barbecue in its many variations, all kinds of fritters and a mess of greens. Indeed Africans brought with them important techniques including smoking meats, frying grains and legumes into fritters, boiling leafy green vegetables, and making up hot, spicy sauces. Since African-Americans ran the kitchens on Southern plantations, they played a major role in molding the renowned cuisine of the South. Years later when railroads began to cross the continent, Black men ran the galleys and carried that influence north and west.

The United States includes a wide variety of climate types due to its large size, range of geographic features, and noncontiguous arrangement. In the contiguous United States to the east of the 100th meridian, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical.

The Great Plains west of the 100th meridian are semi-arid. Much of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the Cascade Range are alpine. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington. The state of Alaska—on the northwestern corner of the North American continent—is largely subarctic, with an oceanic climate in its southern edge and a polar climate in the north. The archipelago state of Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is tropical.
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