Study in Michigan
When you ask Michigan natives where they live, they will often hold up one hand and point to a spot on it, saying, "I live in the thumb" or, "Right about in the middle of the mitten."
This behavior often confuses those unfamiliar with the area; however, looking at a map, you'll see that the lower peninsula of the state is actually shaped like a mitten. If you're looking for a place to study English that fits you like a glove, then Michigan is the place for you!
Study in Michigan
What kind of place is the state of Michigan?
It is composed of two strikingly different peninsulas (Upper and Lower) bordering four of the five Great Lakes and connected by the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world.
The magnificent beauty of the dunes, cliffs, and beaches along its 3,200 miles of shoreline rivals any ocean coast state.
Moving inland, our natural beauty has been preserved in an extensive system of National and State Parks where visitors can enjoy swimming, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and camping in the summer, and snow-boarding, skiing, snow-shoeing, and snow-moiling during the winter.
The farther north you go, the more wilderness there is for you to enjoy. If you'd like to be able to ride your bike through the forest or walk along a river trail after class, look for an English program in the Upper Peninsula, where you'll be within minutes of a peaceful, natural area.
But is Michigan a wilderness state, without any civilization?
Absolutely not! In fact, it has always been a leader in the economic development of the United States.
From the founding of Sault Ste. Marie, the third oldest city in the U.S., as a trading zone, through the innovations of the Detroit automobile industry, to today's computer industry, and the growth of multinational corporations, Michigan is a centre of U.S. economic activity.
Students of English who eventually hope to find work in an English-speaking corporation can make valuable contacts during their time here, and English language courses with business components can be an excellent resource for these contacts.
Does Michigan have an active cultural life?
Indeed it does. Art lovers can spend years travelling the state and never see all of the exhibits, from small community galleries featuring talented local artists to immense museums showcasing the world's talent.
Music lovers are never at a loss here either. Students who want to experience North America's largest jazz festival can attend the Ford Montreux Detroit Jazz Fest held every summer.
Those who are seeking a more intimate experience with Midwestern musical culture can attend any of the hundreds of music festivals held across the both peninsulas.
These are perhaps more interesting for international students because they preserve the spirit of blues, bluegrass, country, and folk music in the United States.
Students can pitch a tent at the campground, mill around talking to people, listen to the variety of bands, and even participate in the show if they'd like to!
What about Michigan's educational system?
Students of English interested in pursuing higher education in Michigan will surely find the perfect institution for their academic goals. Numerous community colleges offer one and two year degrees that can be transferred to any of the state's fifteen state universities.
Some of the country's most prestigious research institutions are found here, and students can pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at institutions such as the University of Michigan, Western Michigan, and Michigan State University, all famous for their exceptional research facilities.
Other institutions, such as Michigan Technological University and Lake Superior State University are best known for their attention to quality undergraduate education on small campuses, where the low faculty to student ratio ensures students receive individualized attention from their professors and advisors.
What kinds of people live in Michigan?
The people of Michigan are renown for their openness, generosity, warmth, and friendliness, so making a friend in Michigan is making a friend for life.
Many residents have been attracted to the state from all over the U.S. and the world, so students have the opportunity to explore American culture and to experience other global cultures as well.
In addition, Michigan's Native American communities are experiencing a cultural renaissance, enabling international students to witness and participate in such unique cultural events as the Pow Wow, giving insight into North America's oldest culture and its features in contemporary society. You can visit the world right here in Michigan.
Consider your goals carefully, research the options, and join the millions of students who've said Yes! to Michigan.
By Gigi Ignatowski, Director of English as a Second Language, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
This article first appeared in Studying Business & Management Abroad.