There is no doubt whatsoever that my children will choose an American college, over any European or Asian experience. It was a very easy decision for my siblings and I to make, after 15 years in the French system.
What a perfect opportunity, at the ripe age of 17-18, to live the American dream at its finest and most concentrated form. On US campuses, especialy those set in rural or semi-rural towns , the student becomes totally immersed into his life on campus.
My college was in Northampton, MA, an isolated town, 2 hours away from civilized Boston. I willingly joined the campus, with the motivation of a nun joining a convent. The fact that Smith College was a woman's only college was its single drawback. The beautiful grounds, the very comfortable housing, the state of the art facilities, the rich art museum and the talented faculty with their impressive courses made it enticing. Those factors were at the core of my scholastic experiments and in annex came the liberal American culture that surrounded me. I was encouraged to express myself, defend my opinions and grow. I arrived as a teenager and left as a mature young adult.
In contract to European universities, on American campuses the student is king and not the professor. The students certainly learn from professors, but they learn more from their peers. The Socratic method, which is the norm, even in the largest American amphitheaters, is a vehicle for student expression and sharing of ideas. Very few lectures are sermons like the ones in Europe!
Energy and casualness is what I discovered in those university years. The absence of formality created the ideal atmosphere for learning and achieving. Isolated as I was geographically from my family and distraction, I immersed myself in academia and Americana!