"A French girl living a full-immersion experience in Cajun country"


Copyright : Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission

My presentation

I am currently a second year student majoring in Literature and Political Science at the University of Poitiers (France). During this curriculum, students must complete a semester abroad.
Wishing to improve my English and discover a unique culture, I decided to go to the United States of America and study at "University of Louisiana at Lafayette" (UL).

Why Lafayette, Louisiana? Why UL?

ecoleBy coming to study in Louisiana, I wanted to explore Louisiana culture. By coming to study in Lafayette, I made the choice to discover the Acadian culture, and above all, to be in the heart of Cajun country. If you are looking for large cities and oversized campus, go on your way! Instead, if you want to immerse yourself in both American culture and Louisiana culture, if you are interested in the common past of France and Louisiana, and history in general , if you are looking for authenticity and if you want to feel the hospitality of the local inhabitants, then you'll love Lafayette!

ecole sportBeing a student at UL means being part of a community of students who defends its colors (Vermillion Red and White) and unites at major sporting events. Moreover, there is a tradition, "Wear Red" (also here), which encourages students, members of the administration, faculty and supporters of the university sport teams to wear red (vermillion) on Friday, the eve of games!

cypress lakeBeing a student at UL is also having quality of life on a beautiful medium size campus where you will also stand alongside alligators and turtles living in the Cypress Lake! Living on an American campus is also an opportunity to discover how the Greek system works. And, if your school or college has no partnership with UL, be aware that UL is one of the least expensive universities in the USA!

Where to go when going out?

Louisiana has a considerable advantage over other U.S. states: culture. Indeed, the Cajun culture is omnipresent here: food (Lafayette was named "Best Food City in the USA"!), dancing, cultural events, names of buildings, etc. There is always something to do in Lafayette. There are festivals throughout the year that celebrate and perpetuate the Cajun culture. There are many fascinating places where you can discover this culture. I suggest you have a look at this website to discover them: http://lafayette.travel
Bars and clubs located Downtown are the place to go for students. This part of the city is bustling during weekends, from Thursday through Sunday night!

sarah life robin may

The equivalence of the American university system

High school ends, as in most of Europe, the year you turn 18, by the high school diploma.
In the USA, Universities are selective and expensive.

étudiantsIn Europe, three years are required to get a Bachelor’s degree. In the United States, four years are required to get a Bachelor's degree. The first four years, a student is described as an undergraduate. He/she will be alternately:

  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior

At the end of the fourth year, they participate in the graduation ceremony ("commencement"). They become "graduate students". It then takes 1 to 3 years to obtain the master and two or three others for a Ph.D. (doctorate).

The steps necessary to obtain a J- 1 visa (visitor, au pair, internships and exchange student for 1 or 2 semesters)

Above all, you need a valid biometric passport (note that it is recommended to have at least 6 months validity remaining after the expected date of return to your home country).

etudiants pairYou will first be put in contact with the Office of International Affairs (OIA) on campus and the person in charge of admissions for undergraduates or graduates students, depending of your situation. First of all, the OIA will ask you to fill out a form to receive a DS-2019 (form requested to ask for an appointment at the U.S. Embassy to get the visa). The first form requires a proof of the extension of medical coverage, an updated vaccine and a tuberculosis test and a financial proof ($8,000 per semester) certified by your bank. You will also need to provide a letter of recommendation, a certificate of your English level (see TOEFL - IELTS) and an official translation of the results obtained at your University.
Once the first form is completed, you will need to scan and email it to the person in charge of admissions who will follow a procedure in order to get your DS 2019. Also, you will have to pay fifty dollars to get the DS-2019 mailed to your home.
Once the DS-2019 is received, visit the website of the U.S. Embassy to request an appointment (the cost of the appointment request is $14).
You'll have to fill out the online form DS 160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application). At the end of this form, $180 will be required so that you can get the SEVIS, obligatory for making appointments.
Among the many documents to bring the day of the appointment at the Embassy, you will be asked to bring some 2” x 2” (51 x 51 mm) portraits, costing approximately 10 euros at a photography studio.
It also requires that you pay $160 (or 128 € according to the consular rate) for the visa, by money order.
Don’t forget to buy an envelope so that the Embassy will return your passport.
One last thing, bring with you some proof that you will return to your country once your visa has expired (letter of acceptance of UL, airline round-trip tickets, etc.) in order to prove that you won’t stay as an illegal immigrant in the U.S. after your studies are completed.
Once your visa is added to your passport, remember that you have the right to enter the U.S. territory 30 days prior to the date on your visa, and leave 30 days after the expiration date of the visa.
There is also a student visa (F-1) for those wishing to study several years or to get a degree.


The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is used to assess your level of English. The test costs up to $240 (it can be $200 or $220 according to your country).

toeflMy experience: I took the TOEFL iBT (internet version), graded on 120. It lasts about four and a half hours. The test is divided into four steps:

  • First, reading comprehension is assessed. It’s a series of texts and questions, generally about grammar, meaning of a term, main theme, etc. There are between 36 to 56 questions and you have 1 hour / 1:20 to answer.
  • Then, listening comprehension is assessed through records and questions.
  • A 10 minute break is given.
  • Evaluation of oral expression begins right after your break. It lasts for 20 minutes.
  • Finally, for 50 minutes, writing is assessed in the form of two essays written on assigned topics.

I strongly advise you to study for the 4 different sections in order to be aware of the type of questions and tasks that you will be asked to perform.

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
There are two versions of the IELTS: the academic version for university use, and the general version for people who want to measure their level for a professional purpose. IELTS costs 190€.
Unlike the TOEFL, the oral part is assessed through an interview with an examiner.
More information is available on the website www.ielts.org

Britanie Bernard

An American squadron in Rennes to strengthen the French in Louisiana

October 5, 2011

On the occasion of the new school year, the Centre for the Development of French in Louisiana and the Consulate General of France in New Orleans sent ten American students in master of business education at the University of Rennes, under the new program "Squadron Louisiana." Objective: To increase the teaching of French Louisiana.

In the reform he launched in 2010, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (Codofil) decided to build the future of the 22 parishes Acadania (known for their Francophone heritage) of a school immersion. A new mission is expected to open fifteen new institutions, in addition to the existing thirty in the state the most Francophile of the United States. "We have many teachers French, Belgian or Canadian but we wondered how we could train native of Louisiana to teach in immersion schools," said William Arceneaux, President of Codofil.

In charge of the program allowing Americans to become assistant professors of English in French schools, the latter wanted to establish a connection with the idea of increasing the body ultimately Louisiana French teachers. "In France, the English language assistants working just twelve hours per week. I got the idea that they could attend university to follow the rest of the time, a master of business education. "

Train two hundred teachers

In connection with the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, the Codofil has sent, on October 1, ten young people enrolled in master at Centenary College in Shreveport, in Rennes. For seven months they will take courses at the University of Western Brittany, in addition to their weekly noon as an assistant. "On their return, they undertake to return to teach in Louisiana for three years," said Philippe Aldon, the service of cooperation and cultural action.

Called "Squadron Louisiana" - a reference to the unit of American volunteers who formed in 1916 in memory of La Fayette, was formed to provide assistance to France during the First World War - this educational project aims to train 200 teachers Louisiana term, able to teach French from kindergarten to high school. The Codofil is in contact with two other French universities in Grenoble and Poitiers, to allow thirty other future teachers to learn the teaching of French in the best possible conditions.

In total, this project is around 430 000 euros for the year 2011-2012, in which France has invested nearly 20%, the remainder being supported by the Codofil (tuition at American master ) and the State of Louisiana.

Anaïs Digonnet

Source: The French newspaper of the United States - France-America


Testimony of Nicole Horne

When I was 13 years old, as most my age were committing to futures as doctors, lawyers and movie stars, I made a promise to myself to live in France and speak French. It's the earliest decision that I can remember making and seeing through with both determination and enthusiasm. I love the language and the culture, a taste I must have acquired subconsciously growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, whose French heritage is more than present in daily life.

I am here in Rennes, France, as an English language teaching assistant, a route I would advise any young person wishing to spend time abroad to take. Like most who study French in college, I was going to make it to France through a study abroad program in Paris. I met with the advisor in the French department at Louisiana State University, the university I attended, and he told me about the Teaching Assistantship Program in France (TAPIF). I immediately changed my mind and postponed my voyage.

Being a language assistant is a great way to spend time in France. The particular advantages are a light work load and a monthly salary. It is also the perfect opportunity to expose oneself to aspects of French culture, more specifically the French educational system, that may have not been seen otherwise. I absolutely recommend enrolling to take classes if that's what interests you. It is a great way to improve your French and make friends with local young people. In addition, I know other assistants who combined their teaching assistantship with a position as an au pair. They receive lodging and often a weekly stipend in exchange for a few hours a week of childcare.

My situation is quite unique, as I am here with nine other French enthusiasts from Louisiana through a new scholarship exchange program between the Académie de Rennes and the Center for the development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) called Escadrille Louisiane. We all work as teaching assistants in various high schools in the Académie de Rennes and take courses towards certification in teaching. I have been posting blog entries to document my own personal experience in France as well as an English teacher. For those who are curious, you can access the blog through the website www.NolaFrancaise.com , a website dedicated to all that is French in New Orleans – look for the blue and white logo for Escadrille Louisiane.

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