Here we have: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
I have noticed a couple of things regarding the South West. I'll categorise them into Pros and cons:
-The weather is fantastic. Not too cold in winter and mild in Spring and Fall and if you can survive the hot summer- you are good to go.
-The people are kinda nice (southern hospitality) I found out that international students are not too self conscious about their heritage and most of them have respect for older people; persons of authority etc. This really helps because most people show respect to you if you respect them (I am digressing from my point).
-Life is pretty cheap. You can afford to live on a small budget (if you stay away from the big cities). I find groceries especially easy to find.
-The schools are affordable compared to other states. So far in my research; I have found colleges in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee to be very reasonable and if you are an innovative person, you can pretty much pay your way through school without parental assistance.
- I'll update the list as my research progresses.
- Jobs are not that easy to find. HOWEVER: If you have a degree and a particular level of expertise and you are willing to work in semi-urban and rural settings: Then it is much much easier to get a job. The reason for this phenomenon is that a lot of people are moving up north and to the west coast to start their careers because that is where the major demands are - depending on your trade of course.
This means that the south has a shortage of professionals especially in the rural areas and if one is willing to move there, then the chances are there. The pay is pretty decent too. But if you are a student looking for the usual jobs (cleaning mostly) then the chances are pretty slim and you can get one if you are very very lucky.
Most of the schools here are not as competitive as they should be. I did an in-depth research on one of the four year institution in the south and found out that the graduates from the school could not compete at the same level as other schools thereby undermining their chances of getting into the job market.
Other than that, the sun is good, the food is fantastic though not gourmet and life is not as expensive. So if this is your basis of criteria, then the south is for you!