East or west coast: which of these is the best region for your exchange in the United States?
The USA is a huge country, with an extremely rich history and a diversity of cultures unmatched in the world. Each state has its own laws, customs, traditions and ways of life. And, whether on the east or west coast, you’ll notice that while values and ideals are similar, most likely a California resident will never have the same lifestyle as a born New Yorker. And this is just to stay in the most obvious example.
For this reason, a feeling of rivalry (healthy, can be good) developed among the inhabitants of the different coasts, in a clash style São Paulo x Rio de Janeiro. And if you intend to embark to study in American lands, knowing a little more about the different sides of the country can help you discover which coast is right for you.
East or West Coast: Climate
In the east, the climate varies widely and basically follows the patterns of the four seasons. In other words, in the summer you will enjoy the sun and heat and (the further north) in the fall, you will see those wonderfully colorful scenery of dry trees. In winter, snow will be a constant companion in the northern states as well. Don’t expect to come across it, for example, in Florida, which is far south.
New England, which is the northernmost region on the American East Coast made up of the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, is famous for its super well-defined seasons. So, if you really want to experience the four seasons to the fullest, you can plan your exchange to a city in that part of the country.
The west coast, on the other hand, is much more consistent when it comes to climate. With mild winters in California and hot but not scorching summers to the north, temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year. As a general rule, the further south, the hotter and drier the climate will be. And the further north, the greater the likelihood of rain.
East or West Coast: Urban life
The east coast is the oldest part of the United States. As a result, there you will come across more of the country’s history, through ancient architecture well preserved in most urban centers and the strong presence of some of the best historical museums. In addition, the population density of cities is also generally higher. Another positive factor is that cities on the east coast are usually easier to get around and have more developed public transport systems.
On the west coast, however, cities are generally less densely populated and more spread out. This means that there you will live with more open spaces in the cities, in addition to encountering larger accommodations. The downside is that, as things get further away and the public transport system is not as developed as on the east coast, not having a car makes daily activities very difficult.
From the historical point of view, it can also be said that the west coast is a little behind, since, in general, the cities on this side of the country are much younger. As a result, there are fewer historical attractions to see.
East or West Coast: History
Speaking of history, it is said that the east coast has more evident European roots. When Europeans landed in the east and began to build their colonies, much of the architecture used in the works was inspired by the styles of the old continent. So nowadays walking through some of the cities on the east coast is like taking a trip through time.
Some of the most historic sites include the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania); the Lincoln Memorial and the White House in Washington, DC; and Colonial Williamsburg, an open air museum in Virginia. And you don’t even need to talk, of course, about New York, with its already well-known architecture. There, you can even understand more about the history of immigration in the country on Ellis Island.
On the west coast, history is closely linked to the frenzy caused by the gold rush and the formation of the old west with the expansion of American territory towards the Pacific Ocean. Mix this with some land wars and religious freedoms and you will have some of the most decisive moments in the history of the United States.
East or West Coast: Time zone
There are some countries in the world that span two or three time zones, but many fall into just one. The United States is such a big country that it spans four time zones (and that’s just in continental America – 9 in all!).
The west coast has the Pacific time zone, which also covers parts of the west coast of Canada and Mexico. On the east coast there are three time zones: the Rocky Mountain time zone; the central standard time zone and the eastern time zone.
The difference between the two sides of the country is 3 hours, which means that when it is 9 am on the east coast, it will be 6 am on the west coast.
East or West Coast: Cultural influence
On the east coast, New York is an essential city for culture, especially in the world of music, theater and fashion. People from all over the planet come to the city to watch Broadway productions and performances by internationally famous orchestras and ballets. In addition, New York Fashion Week takes place twice a year, bringing together stylists, models and fashionistas from all corners.
When it comes to cinema and television, New York also plays an important role, but nothing compares to the power of Hollywood, in Los Angeles, on the west coast. It was also in this part of the country that the coffee culture was born and developed and spread to all other American states (and later the world). Did you know, for example, that Starbucks was born in the city of Seattle?
East or West Coast: Nature
The best thing about the United States is that, between the two coasts, you can find basically any type of landscape. There are beautiful beaches, vast deserts, snowy mountains and green forests. The national parks on each coast are extraordinary, and if you like to hike, ski or swim, you’ll find unforgettable adventures on both sides.
The east coast is known for the Appalachian mountain range, which stretches almost 3200 kilometers from Canada to the state of Alabama, USA. On the west coast, the Sierra Nevada mountain range (located between the states of California and Nevada) is a great option for lovers of trails and hikes.
East or West Coast: Lifestyle
Many cities on the east coast (especially New York) are known for their hectic pace of life. People are always in a hurry, walking quickly to catch the subway or bus and trying to fit all tasks into a tight schedule. While this can be a challenging lifestyle to adjust to, it is exciting to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle of so many people doing so many things at the same time.
Now if you enjoy a more relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, the west coast can be your place. There, people are much more relaxed and accustomed to a lifestyle more connected to nature and valuing health and fitness. You will notice that haste is not so common in cities on the west coast (at least not when compared to those on the east coast).
East or West Coast: States and main cities
The east coast is made up of 14 states: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, in addition to the District of Columbia.
The main cities in these states are: New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Wilmington, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Charlotte, Columbia, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Portland, Manchester, Dover, Concord, Providence, Newark, Jersey City, New Haven, Paterson, Annapolis, Harrisburg, Trenton, Raleigh, Bridgeport and Stamford.
The west coast is made up of far fewer states: California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. But the latter, for geographical, historical and demographic reasons, is part of a completely different reality.
The main cities on this coast are in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Anaheim, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Riverside, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield.
In other states, Portland, Gresham, Vancouver and Eugene (in Oregon) stand out; Seattle, Spokane, Bellevue and Tacoma (in Washington); and Anchorage (in Alaska).
East or West Coast: Top universities
The two coasts concentrate most of the most renowned universities in the country. According to QS World University Rankings 2021, of the top 30 institutions of higher education in the United States, 15 are on the east coast and 6 are on the west coast. Among them are universities like MIT, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke, Cornell, Columbia, NYU, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, University of Washington and Caltech .
The list includes the states of California (5 universities), Pennsylvania (3 universities), New York (3 universities), Massachusetts (2 universities) and North Carolina (2 universities).