There’s a lot more to Alabama than just college football, fried chicken, and politicians who sound like Foghorn Leghorn. If you’re into any of those three things, there’s plenty of them to go around. Stereotypes sometimes have truth to them, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to paint a whole state with a broad brush. Remember that there are stereotypes about every place: New Yorkers are rude, Californians are shallow, and so on. We’re living in a very politically divided climate right now, and while trying to understand unfamiliar people and places alone isn’t going to solve everything, it’s always good to take a closer look at something and decide for yourself rather than just writing it off completely because you’ve already made up your mind. In the broadest sense, the world needs more open minds and less closed ones. Look more closely at a place or group of people, and you’re bound to find some things that are truly great.
Alabama higher ed
The South is full of high-quality colleges and universities, and Alabama is no exception. The University of Alabama is the school’s flagship campus, and there’s a lot more to it than just sports. UA hosts the only public law school in the entire state, for one. There are more than thirty thousand undergraduates on the Tuscaloosa campus, but there are also about five thousand graduate students who are studying everything from Engineering to Creative Writing.
You don’t have to go the public school route, either. Many people are looking for a faith-based approach to college education, which you’ll find in schools like Faulkner University in Montgomery. The school is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and while you can certainly study theology there, you can also get a degree in fields like computer science, theatre, and criminal justice. Speaking of criminal justice, Faulkner University also has a fully accredited law school.
Anyone who tells you that you have to go to gigantic cities to really see anything worth exploring is lying. Alabama has a ton of smaller locales that are full of small-town charm. Take Dothan, a dwelling of about seventy thousand people located in the southeast corner of the state. People from all over the South visit Dothan for the National Peanut Festival, which is held every fall at the end of the peanut harvest. If you want to feel like an authentic Southerner, ask for your peanuts to be boiled and salted. The city also offers concerts, shows, and fine dining all throughout the year. You don’t have to worry about getting snowed in when you visit a place like Dothan. The town is located just a few miles north of the Florida state line. Watch out for those tornado warnings, though, especially if you’re visiting in spring or summer.
People end up in Alabama for all kinds of reasons. Once they arrive, many visitors find that life the Yellowhammer State is a great alternative to the daily city grind they left behind. Just don’t forget to say, “Roll tide!”