The Start-Up Culture of the New Midwest

In America, people on the East and West coasts love to hate on the Midwest. Ask someone from New York or San Francisco what type of image comes to mind when they envision the Midwest, and chances are the informal Rorschach test will involve things like cornfields, NASCAR, farmers and amber waves of grain.

However, if you’re an international student coming to study abroad in the Midwest, the region is far more than the sum of its stereotypes. In fact, it’s filled with fresh start-ups, cutting edge companies, and has an entrepreneurial spirit rivaling Silicon Valley. Sure, there are cornfields, farmlands and enough open space not to feel claustrophobic every time you step outside (that’s a dig at you, NYC), but more importantly there are thriving, business-minded communities and the potential for career advancement. For all these reasons the Midwest has been dubbed the Silicon Prairie.

Before You Go

Students have long been coming to America to study. In 2011, roughly 775,000 visas were issued to international students. A passport and visa are required documents. However, before you hop on a plane to America, it’s also important to plan things like accommodations, transportation, and the type of budget you want to work with. In order to safeguard against expensive medical costs, health insurance for international students in the U.S. is also a must. America is expansive and idiosyncratic, and while the phrase has lost some of it bite because of globalization and technology, culture shock is a possibility. However, it will pass just like that bout of homesickness.

The Midwest is the Best: Get Here and We’ll do the Rest

The people in places like Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio are known for their friendly demeanor and strong work ethic. Throw in top-tier universities and you have a region that’s primed for innovation and new ideas. In fact, these types of characteristics are ideal for starting and branding a new business, and it’s part of the reason why the Midwest has a successful start-up culture. As an international student studying in the U.S., this must sound like music to your ears. The Midwest is no longer up-and-coming; it has arrived. Communities are growing and thriving, and there are numerous opportunities to start a career and advance in your field.