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Study in Nebraska

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In the past Nebraska has characterized itself as the beginning of the West. Indeed, vast swathes of this vast state can feel like the wild, unexplored territory suggested by this.

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Lying to the south of the Dakotas and north of Kansas the state falls within the Great Plains region of the US; its landscape made up largely of gently undulating hills and grassland.

It is a rural state, with much of its economy fuelled by agriculture, and could be considered something of a haven for lovers of nature due to its largely untouched character (there are only 24 people for every square mile of the state).

The vast majority of its population is concentrated in its two main urban centres, Omaha and Lincoln, both of which lie to the east of the state, towards its border with Iowa.

The former – the largest city by far – is something of an economic hub for the region, with several Fortune 500 companies operating in the town, and claims to have the highest number of millionaires per capita in the country.

It is famous for its cultural and historical attractions, which include the country’s largest community theatre, the Joslyn Art Museum, and the annual Omaha Blues, Jazz and Gospel Festival. Its alternative music scene – the ‘Omaha Sound’ – is also celebrated.

Lincoln, the state capital, is the home of the main campus of the state’s public university system. It is known for being a sporty city, with a scene centring on the university’s teams – particularly the American football one. It is also reportedly the most healthy city in the country, but if you’re not feeling sporty, then there are plenty of music venues, cinemas and theatres from which you can get your kicks.

Nebraska: Fast facts

•    Nebraska, with a population of 1.8 million, is one of the least densely populated states in the US

•    Kool-Aid was first concocted in Nebraska in 1927

•    Union Pacific Railroad – the largest rail operator in the US – is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska

•    In Blue Hills, Nebraska no woman wearing a ‘hat which would scare a timid person’ may be seen eating an onion in public

•    The Nebraska National Forest is the largest hand planted forest in the US

•    For a state with a relatively small population, Nebraska has produced quite a few famous people, including Sioux chief Red Cloud, former US  vice-president Dick Cheney, actors Fred Astaire, Henry Fonda, Nick Nolte, and Hilary Swank, musicians Elliott Smith and Coner Oberst, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, multi billionaire businessman Warren Buffett and civil rights activist Malcolm X

•    The 1986 Nebraska gubernatorial election was the first in the US to be contested between two women (Kay A. Orr and Helen Boosalis, with Republican Orr coming out on top)

•    Tinned meat product Spam is made in Fremont, Nebraska

Top universities in Nebraska

In 2011, the only Nebraskan institution featured in the QS World University Rankings was the state’s flagship public institution, the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, which ranked in the 401-450 range.

Based as the name suggests in Nebraska’s second largest city, the university is a Land Grant institution with a student body of just under 25,000. The vast majority – around 80% – are undergraduates, studying one of the 150 majors on offer (a further 100 are offered at graduate level).

The university has several museums and galleries within its grounds. It is famous for being the birthplace of ecology as a discipline and was the home of the world’s first undergraduate psychology laboratory. Its digital humanities programs are also well respected.

The universities sports teams – the Cornhuskers – are a large part of university life.

The state boasts many other high quality schools, including well respected private institutions such as Creighton University, and Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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