Life in Alabama

Alabama has 13 Metropolitan Statistical Areas that serve as home to prospering businesses, prestigious colleges and universities, nationally-renowned health centers and doctors, and an affordable housing market. There’s a reason why Alabama hospitality is legendary and our quality of life cannot be beaten.

As the 23rd-most populous state in the U.S., over 20 million people from across the world visit our state every year. But our lifeblood is our citizens—a culturally diverse group that knows how to get the job done when it’s time to work and enjoys life to the fullest when it’s time to relax.

Alabama boasts a geography that spans all different sorts—one of the most varied in the nation, in fact. From mountains and valleys to beaches and riverbanks, there’s a wealth of natural beauty on display when you need to get away. Total Area – 52,424 square miles; Highest point – 2,407 feet above sea level (Mt. Cheaha); 35,469 square miles of forest (71%); 1,776 square miles of water; 53 miles of coastline; 1,350 miles of navigable waterways.

State symbols are; Flower, Camellia. Bird, Yellowhammer. Song, “Alabama”. Tree, Southern Longleaf Pine.

Weather Climate

Alabama’s climate is as varied as is the geography of the state ranging from the coastal warmer climate overall year round to the more moderate diverse climate of the more northern areas of the state. Known for mild winters many from the northern states move to Alabama during the winter months and are known as “snowbirds”. Climate: In the winter the average daytime temperatures in the mid- 50s F (10 C), with lows in the 30s (-1 C). In the summer the average daytime temperatures can average over 90 °F (32 °C). Severely cold weather or even snow which is very rare in Alabama, though flurries can be seen in the higher elevation of North Alabama. Alabama is also considered a state with high humidity during some periods of the year when there is high rainfall.

Cost of Living

Alabama is well known for its low cost of living when compared to other states such as California, Texas, New York, Florida and most other states. Due to its moderate climate and location in the country along the US Gulf Coast housing, food and most living expenses are some of the lowest in the US.

List of Destination Spots

Points of interest include:

  • The Helen Keller birthplace at Tuscumbia
  • The Space and Rocket Center at Huntsville
  • The White House of the Confederacy
  • The restored state Capitol, the Civil Rights Memorial
  • The Rosa Parks Museum & Library,
  • The Shakespeare Festival Theater Complex in Montgomery
  • The Civil Rights Institute and the McWane Center in Birmingham
  • The Russell Cave near Bridgeport
  • The Bellingrath Gardens at Theodore
  • The USS Alabama at Mobile
  • The Mound State Monument near Tuscaloosa
  • The Gulf Coast area.

Alabama has over 22 state parks from the coast plain to the more mountainous northern reaches of the state. The Gulf Coast beaches of Alabama’s coastal cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are well known year round attractions for their welcoming broad expanses of beaches.

Stories Within the State Lines

  • Ambassador Rafael Alfaro, from El Salvador, graduated from Southern Preparatory Academy in 1980. He is a career diplomat, who has been Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador of El Salvador to Canada, Israel, Venezuela, Ecuador, Trinidad & Tobago, and Guyana. He was a representative of his country to the United Nations in New York, to the Organization of American States and Minister and Counselor of the Embassy of his country to the United States, in Washington D.C. He has also been Deputy Minister of Transportation in El Salvador.

    Ambassador Rafael Alfaro (Southern Preparatory Academy)
    Ambassador Rafael Alfaro (Southern Preparatory Academy) Southern Preparatory Academy
  • Athens State Success Stories

    While it's true no two students take quite the same path to Athens State, each is seeking a relevant education for a bright and confident future. We understand it isn't how you began your education that matters — it's how you finish. And a strong finish is only the beginning.  To scroll through the stories of our students, faculty and alumni go to:
    Many Athens State Grads Athens State University
  • The Instructional Leadership program at the University of West Alabama helped prepare me to become an educational leader in multiple ways. First, it challenged my educational philosophy. The program introduced me to curriculum and situations that allowed me to become more open minded in dealing with educational curriculum and specifically with people. Also the program prepared me to become a leader by allowing me to work closely with other leadership minded people from across the state and from various backgrounds. The professional relationships that I was able to form in my time in this program continue to pay off for me to this day. I use the advice and encouragement of my former peers often in my leadership roles.

    Adam M. Andrews (UWA), Assistant Principal, Wilson Hall Middle School
    Adam M. Andrews (UWA), Assistant Principal, Wilson Hall Middle School University of West Alabama
  • Samford University, and especially the business school, made a significant impact on my life.

    Patrick (Samford Univ.)
    Patrick (Samford Univ.) Samford University
  • Studying at the United States Sports Academy has been a rewarding experience. I've learned a great deal about sports management with the help of instructors who are always accessible and who offer great insights into how the world of sports works.  

    Wanyi from China (USSA)
    Wanyi from China (USSA) United States Sports Academy
  • Mario Camara, a native of Cancun, Mexico, is a graduate of Southern Preparatory Academy in the Class of 1993. Following graduation he attended the Universidad Iboamericana, Georgetown Law, Universidad Panamericana and the London School of Business. He is a certified lawyer in Mexico and abroad. Professionally he served as CEO of an online banking system, Director of Consultancy for Dubai International Finance Center, Head of Saxo Bank, and currently the Global Head of Legal and Compliance for an international online trading company. He currently resides in the United Arab Emirates.

    Mario Camara (Southern Preparatory Academy)
    Mario Camara (Southern Preparatory Academy) Southern Preparatory Academy
  • Coming to UWA is a very good choice for me. It gave me a lot of opportunities and chances to get to know people and learn more about the local American culture. With all the other international students, you are actually building the connection with the whole world. It was an awesome experience when I studied at UWA.

    Meiqi (UWA)
    Meiqi (UWA) University of West Alabama
  • I am confident that my education here has more than prepared me to be a successful member of society.

    Tanner (Samford Univ)
    Tanner (Samford Univ) Samford University
  • So far my freshman year at Gadsden State has been great. I have made many life- long friends, especially with the international students.

    Jonathan (GSCC)
    Jonathan (GSCC) Gadsden State Community College
  • "After one year, I think my studies and my life here are great. My studies are going well and my professors are very accessible and encourage students to communicate with them. I also have my internship which is helping me to get lots of hands on experience in my field of Public Heath.

    Trinh from Vietnam (UAB)
    Trinh from Vietnam (UAB) University of Alabama Birmingham
  • "Troy University is full of people with great smiles and open hearts. I never felt lonely or homesick. Being active on campus and having friends from all over the world makes me a well-rounded individual. I felt fortunate to be a part of Troy University. Go Trojans!"  

    Alina from Turkmenistan (Troy,BS, Accounting)
    Alina from Turkmenistan (Troy,BS, Accounting) Troy University
  • One year at Jefferson State has passed. There are so many experiences that I have treasured during class time, Phi Theta Kappa and summer activities.  I have learned a ton of knowledge from my friends, Jefferson State professors, and faculty.  Without help from these beloved ones, I could not have obtained those achievements that I’m having now. Thanks to Jeff State for always supporting and broadening students’ academic and career paths.

    Hoang from Vietnam (JSCC)
    Hoang from Vietnam (JSCC) Jefferson State Community College
  • “I think the best thing about college is that there are millions of options, and you have millions of directions you can go.  It really gives you the chance to explore, to find what you are interested in, to find what you’re passionate about, and then you get more options for the future.”

    Yilin from China (UA, B.S. in Psychology and Public Relations)
    Yilin from China (UA, B.S. in Psychology and Public Relations) The University of Alabama
  • "My experience with USSA has really helped me personally and professionally. I know there are many people who are in the same situation I found myself in as I started my coursework and I highly recommend them exploring opportunities at USSA."

    USSA Student
    USSA Student United States Sports Academy
  • "Troy University is located in a beautiful small town where the modern industrial civilization has not been impacted.  The school spirit is warmhearted, full of culture and history, and I am so proud that I could be one of the Trojans.  The professors at TROY are so personal.  In the class, they teach us devotedly.  Out of class, they always answer our problems gladly and carefully.  They are like a bright lamp enlightening our life journey."

    Ke from China (Troy)
    Ke from China (Troy) Troy University
  • Whether it be the dedicated faculty, the friendly atmosphere, or the flexible class schedules, I can positively state that Jefferson State prepared me to transfer to a four-year institution. Being an international student from Sweden, I did not know many people when I first attended Jefferson State. However, because of the Jefferson State Multicultural Association, I was able to develop relationships and grow as a person.

    Elinor from Sweden (JSCC)
    Elinor from Sweden (JSCC) Jefferson State Community College
  • “People will smile and say hi to strangers, which was really uncommon in my culture.  I was thinking it is hard to make friends, but after coming here, I feel like I don’t have to make an effort.  They introduce themselves and want to know me, and it came much easier than I thought.”

    Baheya from the West Bank (UA, Fulbright Student, Master’s of Library and Information Science)
    Baheya from the West Bank (UA, Fulbright Student, Master’s of Library and Information Science) The University of Alabama
  • I’m currently studying pre-engineering at Gadsden State. Gadsden State is a quiet place to study, and the people that I have met are very nice and friendly. One of my long-term goals is to continue my education to earn a master’s degree in the field of new technologies of information and later get a PhD.

    Naye (GSCC)
    Naye (GSCC) Gadsden State Community College
  • " If you are coming to UAB, I would first congratulate you because you have made an awesome decision to come here. It's not a mistake You are going to have loads of fun, and you are going to learn lots of things as well."

    Gabriel from Nigeria (UAB, Mechanical Engineering)
    Gabriel from Nigeria (UAB, Mechanical Engineering) University of Alabama Birmingham
  • "I do not have anything to suggest to improve the course. This was the best class I ever had in my entire live. I have more than 150 hours of University credits in total, so you can be proud to have been the one giving me the best course in all that."

    USSA Student
    USSA Student United States Sports Academy
  • Hello, my name is Zeinab and I’m originally from Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire). Coming to Jefferson State Community College was one of the best decisions I’ve made. The faculty and staff are all great and always willing to help. As an international and first-time college student, the small environment helped me build closer relationships with my teachers and prepared me for my transition to a 4-year institution. Jefferson State has provided me with so many opportunities for intellectual, social, and emotional growth. I have enjoyed my stay there and now I’m ready for new experiences to come.

    Zeinab from Cote D’Ivoire (JSCC)
    Zeinab from Cote D’Ivoire (JSCC) Jefferson State Community College
  • “What I like the most about here is all the opportunities you can get academically.  I just got involved doing undergrad research, which is something that would be unthinkable in most schools in Spain and probably many schools in America. The fact that Alabama has the necessary resources to offer students this opportunity to get experience before graduating, I think is really cool.”

    Pablo from Spain (UA, Junior, B.S. in Chemical Engineering)
    Pablo from Spain (UA, Junior, B.S. in Chemical Engineering) The University of Alabama
  • This past May of 2016 I went to Bundoran, Ireland for a study abroad trip with a couple of schools. That is where we were staying although we traveled all around exploring different places and towns every single day. It was one of the best experiences, I meet so many people there and learned so many new things about their culture. The friends I made on the trip I will have forever, we are already planning more trips together. If you get the opportunity to go abroad, then take it. You don't want it to be five or ten years later looking back thinking that you should've went. And it'll be worth the whole experience.

    Holli (JSCC, US Student) on JSCC Ireland Study Abroad
    Holli (JSCC, US Student) on JSCC Ireland Study Abroad Jefferson State Community College
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