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Study in Kentucky

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Situated at the crossroads of the northern, southern and mid-western groups of states, Kentucky presents a unique cultural hybrid, combining southern traditions with northern dynamism.

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Kentucky is the home of some of the most quintessentially American products, customs and historical figures: Chevrolets and Corvettes, bluegrass (both the plant and the type of music), bourbon (including famous brands such as Jim Beam and Wild Turkey), Abraham Lincoln, Mohammad Ali, canyons and of course Kentucky fried chicken.

The state is also famous for producing tobacco and for the annual Kentucky Derby, the US’s most famous horse racing event. 

With a culture largely founded on its rural and agricultural past, Kentucky (like so many US states) has lots to offer for lovers of the great outdoors. Standout natural features include the aptly-named Mammoth Cave National Park (the world’s largest cave system) and the Red River Gorge, a stunning canyon system on the Red River.

Louisville is the largest city, and Lexington (‘horse capital of the world’) the second largest. As well as state capital Frankfurt, other notable cities include Ashland, Richmond, Covington, Pleasure Ridge Park, Owensboro, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Bowling Green and Paducah.

Kentucky: Fast facts

• State capital is Frankfort and largest city is Louisville

• Located in the ‘upper south’ region of the US; borders with West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio

• The only US state to be bordered on three sides by rivers (the Mississippi to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and the Big Sandy River and Tug Fork to the east)

• One of four states which is officially a ‘commonwealth’ (with Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts)

• Mammoth Cave National Park has more than 300 miles of surveyed cave passages, making the cave at least three times bigger than any other known cave

• As well as fried chicken, Kentucky’s signature dishes include Kentucky burgoo (a mixed meat stew) and Kentucky hot brown (an open sandwich topped with turkey, bacon and Mornay sauce)

• Famous people from Kentucky include writer Hunter S. Thompson, actor George Clooney and boxer Muhammad Ali

Top universities in Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is ranked 383 in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings, and is based in Lexington, the state’s second largest city.

The university offers more than 120 different undergraduate majors, across 16 colleges. Its student community is large and diverse, including international students from around 100 countries.

Other public universities in Kentucky include Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University.

There are also lots of good private colleges and universities, including Center College in Danville, Berea College in Berea, Transylvania University in Lexington, Asbury University in Wilmore, Bellarmine University in Louisville and Georgetown College in Georgetown.

More states in the Upper South:

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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