One of the first things you will notice about Louisiana (besides the heat) is the slow, soothing Southern drawl of the people who live there. After a time, you may start referring to others as “y’all!” You will also see some of the most beautiful homes in America—the Georgian style mansions. The sweet rhythms of jazz, blues and rock-n-roll, were all born in Louisiana. Another outstanding feature of Louisiana is the food. Your host family will probably eat a lot of seafood, and flavour it with hot Cajun spices. A few of the dishes may seem a bit strange. As one student observed, “Down here they eat everything that moves!” Fried alligator, frogs legs, turtle and catfish are just some of the unique foods that you may encounter. Don’t be shy, they’re really delicious!
Most people live in small towns throughout the countryside, often with great distances between them. Since public transportation is not readily available, many students participate in their school activities such as sports and clubs to meet new people and make friends. Football is the most popular sport, and the games are very big events. Many host families do make trips to the larger cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which resembles a European city, with cobblestone streets, uniquely constructed buildings and quaint shops. EF students are usually overwhelmed by how friendly the people of Louisiana are. They are interested in learning more about your culture and will openly share their own. One student commented that Louisiana’s residents are like “one big family smiling to each other.”