University & Region Description

Columbia, Missouri was rated in the top ten places to live in the US by Livability in 2019 (#6 to be precise).  Read on to find out why we love CoMo and think you will be pleasantly surprised by this gem of the Midwest!

The University of Missouri is the flagship campus of the UM System. With over 30,000 students, MU, or Mizzou as it is called, has a reputation for excellence in scholarship, research and student services. One of only 34 public university members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), MU offers over 300 degree programs. A member of the SEC Conference, Mizzou competes nationally in 20 sports at the division 1-A level. The MU Counseling Center was founded in 1946 as University Testing and Counseling Services, and its training program started in 1950, with the Psychology Internship program gaining accreditation by the American Psychological Association in 1970.

Columbia and the Central Missouri region offer a high quality of life, with numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, arts and music, sports, shopping, and community service. Columbia is a small city, with a population of 120,606 in 2016 ( It has many of the conveniences of larger cities but with better accessibility to work, shopping, activities and entertainment. Columbia is home to numerous city parks, Rock Bridge State Park, nature areas, extensive walking and bike trails, and many bike routes on city streets. There are 102 music venues and counting, including those attracting a wide variety of nationally known performers, such as the Hearnes Center and Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus as well as the Historic Missouri Theater and the Blue Note downtown, among others. Restaurants and coffeehouses are plentiful and varied. Annual festivals and events include the True/False film festival, Heritage Festival, Art in the Park, First Night, Summer Music Festival, Roots ‘n Blues ‘n Barbecue Festival and others. Amateur, intercollegiate and professional sports opportunities abound. St. Louis and Kansas City are each about two hours distant by car, and the Lake of the Ozarks is an hour and a half from Columbia. Columbia is a regional center for medical services with four major hospitals and is home to the main office for Shelter Insurance and a regional headquarters for State Farm. An educational hub as well, Columbia is home to Columbia College and Stephen’s College in addition to MU. For Columbia residents 25 years and over, 51.9% have a bachelor’s degree; 24.7% have a graduate or professional degree, forming a very highly educated populace. Columbia is a very affordable town: The March 2016 cost of living index was 87.1, with the national average set at 100. (source: The unemployment rate is below the national average at 2.4% making it a great place for interns’ partners to also find meaningful work (source:  For further information, go to the official city website at

Links to a few local points of interest (in no particular order – we love them all!):