Hi! Wouldn't normally turn to this but as i'm having a minor breakdown over it - i'm going to apply for a semester abroad next year in the States (January till May). Most people I talk to either are a) biased or b) have no idea what they're talking about, so I thought I might get a better response here.
We have to put three in preferential order - I think i've got it down to the three with San Francisco State University, Uni of Massachusetts and Uni of Maine. I have some family in California and the idea of living in such a cool city for six months is pretty appealing (+ added benefit of being able to go to Coachella, etc) but i'm not sure the actual uni itself is so great/homely and so on. The University of Massachusetts/Maine are fairly standard big campus universities, sort of have a fairly studenty-town near them, east coast, could travel to Boston and probably New York during my time there. The former is probably the best ranked and best for my course (though I sort of think as long as I get the grades that isn't very important given i'm not over there long) but both fairly nice, though it's hard to get an idea just tapping stuff into Google (apart from knowing that Black Francis and J Mascis both went to UMass).
It sort of feels like a trade-up between a city and a proper American university experience which makes me question what I want from it... both seem very appealing. If anyone has studied in the States/knows anything of these universities/can offer any general advice it would much appreciated! Applications open tomorrow and as i've been balancing writing an essay at the same time it's been hard to think clearly about it so i'm a bit concerned about ballsing it up.
(oh and in case anyone knows loads about any of the others, others on the long-list include George Mason University, Framingham State, and University of Missouri/Rhode Island/Alaska)