By Victoria Taylor
The United States of America offers many great places to study: California, New York and Massachusetts seem to be drawing increasing numbers of students each year, according to Forbes’ Top College list.
However, one place that may not have immediately occurred to you is Washington State (not to be confused with the capital city Washing D.C). This beautiful state is famous for its apples, the Space Needle, and Bill Gates and has a lot to offer in terms of academia, city life and striking natural scenery that you won't find anywhere else in the world.
If you’re considering attending a university in Washington State, you’ll want to know what there is to do socially and culturally. First and foremost, this state has gorgeous natural scenery that is famous in its own right: it is renowned for the Blue Mountains in the south east, which offer a multitude of camping and hiking opportunities. Alternatively, Ruby Beach, well-known for numerous sea stacks along the shoreline is a great idea for a day trip. There are a ton of other destinations just a few minutes away from Ruby Beach: ten minutes down the road, you may be fortunate enough to spot a humpback or orca whale, as they swim through another stretch of coastline when migrating each year. The Hoh Rainforest is also nearby, and offers three trails of varying length: perfect for any nature lovers or keen photographers! Though it’s a little further away, Lake Quinalt is extremely picturesque and has lush rainforest on its borders that are perfect for a peaceful weekend retreat. As well as embarking on hikes through the nearby Quinalt Rainforest, those who prefer the water may choose to take a canoe or kayak out on to one of the state's lakes.
For a more cultural experience of Washington State, you may wish to take a look at some of the museums. Seattle, for example, has the Museum of Flight, which covers everything you’d ever want to know about aviation, ranging from commercial flying to historical planes, so a visit is a must for any history/engineering students. On the other hand, the Tacoma Art Museum provides something for the more creatively minded visitor. This fascinating place not only displays exhibitions, but holds special events throughout the year for all age groups, like lectures from artists, film screenings, an open art studio where various techniques that relate to the exhibits are practised and a summer camp program. Though the experience only lasts a week, participants get the chance to make art of their own and attend various field trips. A great day out that’s both creative and educational: there’s not much more you can ask for!
Of course, one of the major attractions in Washington State is Seattle. It is Washington State’s largest city, and is a great place to explore and immerse yourself in its distinct atmosphere. The larger attractions on offer include the Space Needle (and with an observation deck 520 feet in the air, make sure to bring a camera to photograph the mesmerising horizon!), and the Seattle Great Wheel (which at certain times of the year, has a spectacular LED light show!) There are also plenty of places perfect for shopping, like the Northgate Mall or the Pike Place Market, which has over two hundred businesses and restaurants amongst its stalls. Here you’ll find the Farmer’s Market, which is famous for being the first of its kind in Seattle and is open 362 days a year! It offers a wide range of seasonal goods too, which makes it perfect to visit all year round. Seattle is also of course firmly established as one of the world’s greatest centres for rock music being the home of ‘Grunge’ where both Nirvana and Pearl Jam originated in the early 1990s. The city retains an extremely vibrant music scene with lots of live venues offering something for all tastes.
As you can see, Washington State is incredibly varied in what it has to offer you if you choose to study here: it is a placed steeped in culture and history, a fantastic urban centre that is coupled with vivacious nightlife, and has a wide range of natural beauty spots that will take your breath away so why not consider it? You’ll have the time of your life!
Read more about study in the USA.