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Get to know Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a Midwestern state in the southern part of the United States. Except in the east, the land is remarkably flat and stretches on for miles into the horizon. The west is composed of high plains. The name “Oklahoma” comes from a native American word for “red people.” It has the largest population of American Indians of any state in the nation. Oklahoma has more manmade lakes than any state and it is the third largest gas producer in the nation. Its largest cities are Tulsa and its capital, Oklahoma City. Oklahoma’s economy today is based on agriculture, machinery, oil and energy. It ranks fourth in the nation in cattle production and wheat.

State Capital: Oklahoma City

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More about Oklahoma

EF students in Oklahoma usually live in small communities that may be some distance from larger towns like Oklahoma City and Fort Smith. Since public transportation is not readily available, most students must rely on their host families or friends to take them places outside of their community. For that reason, students here are very involved in their schools, playing sports or participating in special interest clubs. On weekends host families watch movies, shop at the mall and attend religious events. Church youth groups are very popular, and are fun social occasions. As Oklahoma is a large cattle state, you will find meat is served in many meals. There are also a lot of Mexican dishes, due to Oklahoma’s proximity to that country.

All our students say the people of Oklahoma are friendly, outgoing and excited to learn about other cultures. You may notice the people speak with a slight Southern accent, and you could even acquire a slow drawl in your speech! The Sooner State is also famous for rodeos, so get yourself a “ten-gallon” hat and cowboy boots in preparation for your journey to this frontier state!

The Cherokee Heritage Center, southeast of Tahlequah, includes the Tsa-La-Gi Ancient Village, a re-creation of a Native American Indian village. Cherokee Indians give tours from May to early September.

The Wichita Mountains, in southern Oklahoma, are 59,020 acres of wildlife refuge, home to herds of bison, elk, deer and Texas longhorn cattle. Twelve lakes make for terrific summer and winter recreational activities.

The Kirkpatrick Center, in Oklahoma City, is the location of the Air Space Museum. Attractions include the International Hall of Fame, the Omniplex Science Museum and the Red Earth Center.

The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, in Oklahoma City, displays famous paintings and sculptures of the American West. The center includes the Rodeo Hall of Fame, a re-creation of an old pioneer town and Native American Indian village.

The National Softball Hall of Fame, in Oklahoma City, has paintings and historical displays of the sport.

The oldest zoo in the Southwest is the Oklahoma City Zoo. 2,800 animals are located on 110 acres of simulated natural habitats.

The Oklahoma Museum of Natural History was founded in 1899 on the future site of the University of Oklahoma. Around five million artifacts native to Oklahoma are on display.

Oklahoma City is not just the state capital. It is also the home of the International Finals Rodeo, the pre-eminent rodeo competition in the world.

Oklahoma is large enough to have distinct climates: the southern and eastern parts of the state are hot and humid, while the northern is cooler and drier. Winter temperatures can range below 0 to 10 degrees Celsius; in most areas, snow is very rare. The notoriously hot summer weather rarely dips below 20ºC and often reaches near 40ºC!

  • Brad Pitt – actor known from movies such as Seven Years in Tibet,
  • Garth Brooks - Country music star
  • Maria Tallchief - One of the first great American ballerinas
  • Mickey Mantle - New York Yankees legend, baseball Hall of Fame
  • Carrie Underwood – Country artist and singer
  • Ralph Ellison - Author of The Invisible Man
  • L Gordon Cooper Jr - Astronaut