Tips for anyone studying abroad in Kentucky

I originally wrote this post as part of a blog series as an Insider’s Guide to the Year Abroad ambassador for my University. I wanted to give people tips and advice on how to approach your year abroad and cool things I did. I am incorporating parts into this blog because I think this information is relevant to everyone studying abroad! After I returned I got a lot of Facebook messages and questions about the year abroad, the process and if I would recommend it. I will probably make a post on my overall experience at some point but in the meantime here is a little list of things you should do if you study abroad in Kentucky! Feel free to ask questions about everything!

Here are a few of my favourite things that I did in Louisville. Some are applicable across America as a whole. This is definitely not an exhaustive list! There is tons to do!

1. Shoot a gun
Honestly, I slightly hated this as my boyfriend chose a gun with way too much recoil so I wasn’t strong enough to hold it still. When in America though!
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2. Go to a sport game! 
University of Louisville is right next door and has a huge football stadium. There is also a baseball team in Downtown Louisville. You could also stay closer to home and see a Lacrosse or Basketball game at Bellarmine who has top-rated teams for each!
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3. Drink Bourbon 
If you drink alcohol and like Bourbon then Louisville is the place for you! They have a Bourbon trail where you can visit distilleries around Kentucky. They are a little far out in the middle of nowhere so if someone is talking about going definitely see if you can join as it may be difficult to get there by yourself! I went on the Maker’s Mark Tour and it was more fun than I anticipated. You even get to dip the bottle in the wax.

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4. Kentucky State Fair
This will be happening as you arrive. I went with my roommate and it was a good way to get to know her more. They have deep fried everything and prize winning cows and chickens and it did make me feel like a bit of a displaced city girl but it is a lovely memory to have.

5. Go Hiking
There are a lot of hiking trails in Kentucky and huge parks. I went to Eagle Falls which is a bit far out, but also went kayaking close by. It is lovely to do in the summer even if you’re not that outdoor-sy.

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6. Eat BBQ and Southern Food
I have included a list in this guide to point out some good places to eat. If you have left Kentucky without trying grits or biscuits you’ve done it wrong. Trying cultural food is a really nice part of any travelling experience.

7.  Go to a Frat Party 
If you can do it, why not? Live out your cliche American movie dreams.

8. The Kentucky Derby
What Kentucky is famous for! It is at the beginning of May and if you have the chance to go definitely do! Unfortunately I was not able to and went to a Derby party instead but I would love to go sometime!

9. Thunder over Louisville
Reported to be the biggest firework show in America it’s definitely not something to miss! There is an airshow beforehand and the entire downtown area of Louisville is shut down for the fireworks over the river.
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10. Go to Indiana
It is literally across the river and there is a walking bridge which is nice to do!

11. Go to Dairy Kastle 
It’s an institution and adorable.

12. Go Ice Skating. 
I love ice skating and they have a sweet little rink in Downtown Louisville at Christmas with the tiniest Christmas market (nothing like Birmingham’s)

13. Travel
This one is obvious, but if you have the money and time to – travel as much as you can. I did not travel that much but I did visit Mexico, Tennessee, Ohio (for Thanksgiving with my roommate), Florida and I spent the summer interning in California.

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