The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2) and with over 325 million people, the United States is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area and the third-most populous. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Since there are no obstacles to the descent of cold air from Canada, almost all of the country can experience sudden cold waves in winter, but they have different durations depending on area: they last a few days in the south, and lower the temperature a few degrees below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in winter, while they are intense in inland areas, in the highlands and in the north-east. The summer heat waves can be intense as well, especially in inland areas. In general, the western half of the country is more arid than the eastern one, with the exception of the north and central coast of the Pacific, which is wet.
Personal transportation is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of 4 million miles (6.4 million km) of public roads, including one of the world's longest highway systems at 57,000 miles (91700 km). The world's second-largest automobile market, the United States has the highest rate of per-capita vehicle ownership in the world, with 765 vehicles per 1,000 Americans. About 40% of personal vehicles are vans, SUVs, or light trucks. The average American adult (accounting for all drivers and non-drivers) spends 55 minutes driving every day, traveling 29 miles (47 km). However, ridership on Amtrak, the national intercity passenger rail system, grew by almost 37% between 2000 and 2010. Also, light rail development has increased in recent years. Bicycle usage for work commutes is minimal.
English (American English) is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2010, about 230 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language. Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in 32 states. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii, by state law. Alaska recognizes twenty Native languages as well as English. While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French. Other states, such as California, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents including court forms. Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan is officially recognized by American Samoa. Chamorro is an official language of Guam. Both Carolinian and Chamorro have official recognition in the Northern Mariana Islands. Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico and is more widely spoken than English there. The most widely taught foreign languages in the United States, in terms of enrollment numbers from kindergarten through university undergraduate studies, are: Spanish (around 7.2 million students), French (1.5 million), and German (500,000). Other commonly taught languages (with 100,000 to 250,000 learners) include Latin, Japanese, ASL, Italian, and Chinese. 18% of all Americans claim to speak at least one language in addition to English.
The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a representative democracy, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the U.S. Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. For 2016, the U.S. ranked 21st on the Democracy Index (tied with Italy) and 18th on the Corruption Perceptions Index. In the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local. The local government's duties are commonly split between county and municipal governments. In almost all cases, executive and legislative officials are elected by a plurality vote of citizens by district. There is no proportional representation at the federal level, and it is rare at lower levels.
Learning or improving your English skills are the main reasons why many students go abroad. Certainly, being surrounded by English and using it on a daily basis can be a great and easy way to improve your language skills. English is the language of business and if you want to be successful in your career, you need to speak it well! But the success depends on many factors.
America consistently holds the top spots for the best universities in the world, which says a lot about the quality of post-secondary education. Those who study at American universities will be happy to know that their credentials will be universally recognized.
he USA is home to many different kinds of people from all over the world. As a result of the winning combination of a diverse population, the best brains in the world, high quality institutes and being home to the world’s biggest metropolises, the USA may be your launch pad to an international career.
The US is home to the world’s largest number of international students, and to support this population, there are many resources in place that make studying in the USA as easy as possible.
The American curriculum emphasizes that students be well-rounded individuals so that they can learn life skills that are applicable to many professions and situations.
The “American Dream” is a popular ideal in many countries, and the USA is the only place where you can try your best and reach it.
It is common that students enroll in community colleges for 2-3 years before transferring into a nationally ranked university, so they have time to discover and explore the topic of their choice. The result is a very flexible, accommodating degree that you can customize to suit your interests.
America is home to people of every country. The well mixed society will allow you to integrate into American society.