Study in Arkansas, United States
Known as ‘The Natural State’, Arkansas is a gem tucked between America’s Midwest and the Deep South. Its numerous state parks, beautiful valleys to the west and rugged Ozark Mountains make this a great place for international students who love natural beauty.
However, Arkansas has more to it than just countryside dotted with grazing horses. Firmly part of America’s Bible belt, the state is welcoming and popular with tourists. Although often teased with the image of being ‘banjo-picking hillbillies’, Arkansas locals are friendly but with a steely determination.
You won’t regret studying in Arkansas.
Arkansas State supports two major university systems – the Arkansas State University System and the University of Arkansas System. You can study a postgraduate course in Arkansas at some of the following universities:
- Arkansas Tech University
- Henderson State University
- Southern Arkansas University
- University of Central Arkansas
- Hendrix College
- Harding University
Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).
Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).
Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.
Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation.
Immigration and visas
If you want to study a postgraduate course in Arkansas you will have to apply for a non-immigrant visa.
The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
In order to apply for a student visa for a graduate program in Kentucky you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial backing, a university acceptance letter and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.
Life in Arkansas
Arkansas’ culture revolves around having a good time, generally outdoors in the sunshine. A typical pastime – and a great way to get to know your new neighbours – is the barbecue cookout and football game. Locals will head to the game laden with barbecue equipment and some of the most delicious food you can imagine.
Culturally, Arkansas’ major cities of Little Rock, Fort Smith, Springdale and Jonesboro have plenty to offer. The state is known for its festivals, particularly its role in growing blues, bluegrass and rockabilly music.
If the cities get too much, you can always head out into the wilderness. Popular Arkansas pastimes for international students include fishing, hunting and hiking.
Working in Arkansas
Traditionally a hotbed of agriculture and farming, modern day Arkansas has evolved to meet new consumer demand while utilising its natural beauty through tourism.
Although only 3% of the state’s population are employed in farming, it still remains a large contributor to Arkansas’ economy. Arkansas is the largest producer of rice in the US, and also ranks in the top three for cotton, turkeys and broilers. Forestry and car manufacturing are also important industries for Arkansas’ workforce.
More recently, Arkansas has become a popular destination for tourists, both American and international. The state has 52 national parks and its major cities have been encouraged to develop vibrant music and culture scenes in a bid to attract more tourists.
Most postgraduate coming to study in Arkansas will choose to find accommodation through their university. Most institutions offer graduates guaranteed accommodation providing they apply well in advance. The benefits of postgraduate accommodation is that you have somewhere to live as soon as term starts, you will normally live near your campus and you will also get to meet fellow students.
However, if you do decide to look for private accommodation, you should still contact your university initially to find out about good areas to live, transport to the university and reputable estate agents.
Weather and climate
Arkansas has a humid climate with hot summers and mild, dry winters. Daily high temperatures are around 32C at the height of summer in July, while winter is at its coldest in January when temperatures hit 8C.
Arkansas is known for its extreme weather, with thunderstorms, tornadoes, ice storms and hail all common.
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