The capital of Massachusetts, Boston is a big, bustling metropolitan city with a lot to offer. The city is incredibly student-friendly, with over 35 major universities in the area. Whether you like quiet nights at home with your friends or enjoy being out on the town, Boston has a space for you.
Top Colleges in Boston
Located in Cambridge, a suburb of Boston, Harvard University is one of the top universities in the world. One of the Ivy League colleges, Harvard University has an incredibly low acceptance rate of 5%.
Another very highly ranked university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best colleges in the world. Home to brilliant minds, the university has produced, 98 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists as of 2022 alone.
Famous for its co-op program Northeastern University is located in the heart of the city and is perfect for students looking to get valuable work experience while they study. The University has a beautiful campus and is perfect for students who want to experience a blend of campus and city life.
Located along the Charles River, Boston University is a great college famous for having some of the best dining halls and on-campus accommodation in the country.
Best Neighbourhoods in Boston
Brookline is a great neighbourhood for students to live in. The area is incredibly convenient and walkable for students, with plenty of grocery stores in and parks in the area. Brookline can also easily be accessed by the green line on the MBTA. The area is great for Boston University students, with part of the college’s campus located in Brookline.
Things to do in Brookline:
- Go shopping at Washington Square, Brookline Village and JFK village
- Watch a movie at the Coolidge Corner Theatre
- Take a stroll at Hall’s Pond Sanctuary in Amory Park
Cambridge is a major suburb of Boston, with major universities like Harvard University and MIT and very close to Tufts University. The area is home to a diverse population of students and families. Cambridge is a great place for students who want to live in an area that has all the conveniences of a big city, with the community and feel of a smaller neighbourhood. The area is easy to access by several bus routes and the red line on the MBTA.
Things to do in Cambridge:
Hang out in Harvard Square and enjoy the ambience, cafes and shopping
- Visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History
- Go shopping at the Cambridgeside Mall, located along the Charles
- Go Kayaking on the Charles River from Kendall Square
Located in the heart of the city, the Fenway-Kenmore neighbourhood of Boston is home to a very large number of students from Northeastern University, Boston University, and the Berklee College of Music. The area is extremely walkable, full of grocery stores, and shopping outlets and close to many different universities. Students can also use the green line of the MBTA and several bus routes to travel around the city from the area.
Things to do in Fenway-Kenmore:
- Go for a baseball game at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox
- Go bowling with friends at Kings Dining or Lucky Strike
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Allston is the perfect location for Boston University students with many of BU’s facilities and colleges being located here like the College of Arts and Science, Questrom School of Business and the Alumni Auditorium. The area is home to primary students and young working professionals, giving it an incredibly young and vibrant atmosphere. The area is located along the MBTA’s green line, making it extremely accessible.
Things to do in Allston:
- Enjoy a meal at one of Allston’s many Asian restaurants like Coreanos, Oli Toki and Shabu Zen.
- Watch College Football games at Harvard Stadium located here.
- Go thrift shopping at Boomerangs, Vivant Village or Zen Networks.
Student Housing in Boston
Students have several options to choose from when choosing accommodation in Boston:
- On-campus: On-campus accommodation will give students the chance to live with their classmates and fully immerse themselves in their college experience
- Off-campus: Students can also choose to live off-campus if they want to experience life in the city and live like the locals
- Private Accommodation: Students can also choose to find their own private rentals in the city. Rentals can be found by the student themselves, or they can enlist the help of a broker.
- Purpose Built Student Accommodation: Different from regular rentals, PBSAs can be found either on or off-campus and are specifically designed for student needs. While most rentals come unfurnished PBSAs will be fully furnished and have a range of amenities for students to choose from. All PBSA properties will also include wifi, electricity and hot water costs in the rent itself, so you won't have to worry about paying different bills each month. All properties even include laundry services and most even have gyms, parking, and building security and all PBSAs are CCTV secured.
There are also different room options for a student to choose from. Students should make sure to choose a room that best suits their needs and preferences.
- Studios: A studio will include a multi-purpose living space - that can be either single or dual occupancy, a bathroom and a kitchenette.
- En-suites: An en-suite is equipped with a private bedroom space with an attached private bathroom, and the kitchen and living space will be shared among residents.
- Non-en suites: A non-en suite is equipped with a bedroom - that can be either single or dual occupancy and the bathroom, kitchen and living spaces will be shared among residents.
Best Student Housing in Boston
Located on Commonwealth Avenue, just steps from some of the City's most important sites and institutions, Reservoir Towers is a great place for students to live. The building features a range of facilities like co-working spaces, a fully equipped gym, laundry facilities in the building and building security. All rooms come furnished with a bed, bedding, desk and wardrobe. Students can browse through a selection of private rooms offered here starting at $445 a month.
Located near Fidelis Way Park, The Overlook At St. Gabriel's is very well located with Fischer College nearby and Emerson College 14 minutes away. The building provides students with in-unit laundry, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and plank vinyl flooring. Every room comes furnished with wifi and all utilities are included in the rent. Students can choose from a range of studios and en suites starting at $2509 a month.
Cost of Living in Boston
Food & Groceries
If you're shopping for groceries regularly and cook at home often, food shopping should cost you around $350 a month. The cost of groceries will vary according to your dietary needs and preferences but we’ve tried to provide you with a rough estimate. For further reference here are some average o basic groceries:
- Milk: $3.51
- Bread: $2.82
- Eggs: $2.52
Boston is one of the few US cities with a very good public transport system, so students won't need to hire a car to get around the city. The MBTA provides bus services, trams, and commuter rails throughout ou the city and most major universities can be reached through public transport. Students can get a charlie card and use it on the subway and o buses. A monthly link pass which allows you to travel using the subway, buses and even some commuter rails costs 90 dollars and is a great option for students who anticipate a lot of travel during their time in the city.
Unless you choose to live in a PBSA, you will likely have to pay for all your utilities separately and set them up yourself. These will likely include, electricity, hot water, heating and cooling and wifi. These costs will vary depending on the area you live in and whether or not you have roommates to split the bill with, but on average these can cost you around $150–200 per month. Check with your university to see whether they recommend any phone or wifi plans as some colleges partner with different service providers to get their students discounts or offers.
Best Restaurants in Boston
Located in Fenway, Hojoko has a great ambience and is perfect for a night out with friends, with karaoke nights and a menu full of delicious Asian-fusions dishes.
A great spot for brunch and all-day breakfast, Friendly toast is located in Back Bay and is very popular among students.
Lolita is a Mexican restaurant and bar located on Summer Street. A student favourite, the restaurant can get pretty busy over the weekends.
Local Attractions in Boston
The MFA is one of the best places to go for anyone interested in art and culture. The museum has a host of different exhibitions all year round and most universities provide students with discounts on tickets and some even ensure free admission.
Boston Commons is a beautiful central park in downtown Boston. In the summers the park is full of people enjoying the warmth and in the winters Boston Commons transforms into a winter wonderland with snow-covered trees, ice skating and Christmas decorations.
Part-time jobs in Boston
If you’re an international student make sure to check how many work hours you’re allowed based on your visa status.
On-Campus Jobs: Students will be allowed to work within their university’s campus. Most universities will have on-campus jobs like:
- Teaching assistant
- Research Assistant
- Administrations Assistant
Off-Campus Jobs: Students can also find different off-campus jobs at authorized workplaces. Some different jobs they can find include:
- Retail: Working at shops, stores or malls
- Hospitality: You can find work at cinemas, hotels and even restaurants
- Different Industry Jobs: Part-time jobs are great for your resume, so if you can find a job in a field you’re interested in like finance, media or law, it may even help you in your job search
What is the weather in Boston like?
Summers in Boston are bright and sunny with temperatures staying under 80° F (27°C to 28°C) and winters can get pretty cold with temperatures going down to 5 °F (-15°C). Spring and Autumn are incredibly pleasant and is the best time to visit the city.
What are job prospects in Boston like?
With countless tech and biotech startups popping up every day and an impressive range of big companies with their headquarters in the city, the city has a rich job market for students.
Boston is undoubtedly one of the best cities for international students in the US, with a diverse, welcoming population, good public transport and a very large selection of top-tier universities for students to choose from. For anyone who gets the chance, studying in Boston will no doubt be an incredibly fulfilling experience