3 Ways to Help Your Kids Embrace Diversity in Lafayette

3 Ways to Help Your Kids Embrace Diversity in Lafayette

Living in the Lafayette area is pretty special. The Cajun culture runs deep, and along with that, there are so many other cultures that are in the area. Lafayette has that small town feel but urban city experiences. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for you and your family to embrace the diverse cultures that are represented here … but how do you do that? 

1.Learn to say “hello” in different languages! 3 Ways to Help Your Kids Embrace Diversity in Lafayette

When we worked with a campus organization at UL (the University of Louisiana Lafayette), part of our job was to participate in a weekly “coffee hour” at the Office of International Affairs (OIA). There was no coffee, and it was definitely longer than an hour…but our organization would serve food that had been donated by other restaurants and businesses. It would be a social time for international students to gather and interact with one another. We met so many amazing people through this experience, and since we moved back to Lafayette, we’ve even run into a few of those former students/friends in stores and at events! 

Lee (my husband) would ask the international students how to say “hello, my name is” and “thank you” in their native languages. By the end of our time with the campus organization, he had learned 26 different greetings! Now we have Google translate that can help us even more. When you meet an international friend or someone from a different culture, ask them! They will be so happy to share with you their culture and language.

2.Listen to music from different cultures.

My family is super into music. We all have our favorite songs and artists that we listen to on the regular, but listening to different music is intentional. You may find some that you don’t like, but you may find some new ones to add to your playlist!

Lafayette has so many opportunities to listen to Cajun music LIVE (and a lot of them are for free!), and then when Festival International rolls around, there is the opportunity to listen to music from around the world! 

music in different languages

Speaking of Festival International – it is the best experience to see a variety of art and products from around the world! When we celebrated Black History Month at Broussard Middle School, one of the Caucasian female students who participated in the program was wearing a beautiful African skirt. On our way back to class, I asked her where she had gotten it from. She said that her mom bought it for her at Festival (In Lafayette, most people can just say “Festival” and we KNOW that they are talking about Festival International! It really is a thing!) 

I thought it was the coolest thing that her mom had bought her a skirt from Africa to share the culture and experience with others! 

3.Try new restaurants!

Lafayette is blessed with a variety of restaurants! You can literally experience food from around the world. The options in this area do not disappoint! Most of our local eateries are quaint, small places that are filled with love! The owners are proud to share their love for their countries with their customers. When you become “a regular” at these places, they can come to know you by name. If you’ve ever been to Masala’s Indian Kitchen or Poseidon’s Greek Restaurant, you know that the owners will walk around greeting tables and asking about their food. They have so much pride in what they do! 

If eating at an international restaurant is not in your comfort zone, know that it is ok to ask questions about the menu and tell them what you like or don’t like as you ask for suggestions. They will help you pick the best options for you. They want you to enjoy the food that they love! 

restaurants in Lafayette*If you’d like my personal favorites as an inspiration – Go to Poseidon’s! You will love the atmosphere! It is so fun in there and always decorated so cute! I LOVE the Gyro Pita Wrap with fries! SO authentic…and if you go to Priya’s Indian Food (made with Love) or Masala’s Indian Kitchen, the butter chicken is my fave!! 

I really could go on and on … because you know, food is life! Eating local in Lafayette is one of our families favorite things to do…even with small kids, it is great to introduce them to a different world of flavors – and they know kids … so there are chicken nuggets and fries on most menus!

Lafayette is a better place because of our diversity! If we were all the same, liked the same things, cooked the same foods, the world would be such a boring place! We can become warmer and less rigid when we open ourselves to new experiences. As we model this for our children, we can help them become more open to loving and accepting others who are not like them, and it will make the world a better place!  

Bri Blakney
Bri grew up in the small town of Buras, Louisiana, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. She and her husband Lee, who have been married for over 20 years, moved to Lafayette in 2007 to work with a campus organization at UL Lafayette until 2012 when they moved to Colorado. After 9 years of living in Littleton and then back in Buras, she and Lee returned to the Lafayette area to raise their teens/preteen Bella, Brennan, and Breelee. Bri has been a classroom teacher, an ELA Master Teacher, and recently became an Instructional Leader at a middle school in LPSS. You can usually find her journaling, reading books, taking long walks with Lee, and serving in her local church with her family.


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