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Feels Like Home: Finding Happiness in South Louisiana

Oct 2, 2019

John Rahat and his family packed up their lives in 2005 and moved more than 8,500 miles across the world to reside in the sunny city of Orlando, Florida—a drastic change of scenery compared to the home they left behind in South Asia or, as John likes to call it, “the land of Royal Bengal Tigers.” John went on to study his undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he later decided to relocate to the Cajun heartland of South Louisiana to advance his educational career.

Welcome to Cajun Country

John was drawn to UL Lafayette’s prestigious Master of Computer Science program, for its status as the first of its kind in the nation and the first PhD program in the state. After moving to Lafayette in the fall of 2012, he quickly fell in love with the vibrant culture and diversity that South Louisiana had to offer. In his words, the warm southern weather, affordable housing, and ever-expanding career opportunities made it the perfect place to lay down roots and build long-lasting relationships with good-hearted people.

John attributes his relatively smooth transition to the warm hospitality he received upon his initial move to the Pelican State. Having zero contacts starting off, he found comfort in the outpour of help and support he received from the people of Lafayette. Aside from the minor challenges he faced navigating the city during the humid summer months that followed, he was able to integrate himself into his new surroundings and the unique culture of Cajun Country with ease.

Home Sweet Home

Looking back, John says the moment where South Louisiana “felt like home” wasn’t instant, but as soon as he experienced the true feeling of Cajun community by being surrounded by caring people, delicious food, and great music, he knew Lafayette was home.

Like a true southerner, John’s favorite way to “pass a good time” in the area is gathering around a table for laughs and unforgettable food with good company. When he’s not socializing with friends, you can find him frequenting his “happy places” scattered throughout South Louisiana. His top picks? Lake Martin, Vermilionville, Blue Moon Saloon, Artmosphere and Downtown Lafayette’s Wurst Biergarten—we can’t argue with that!

John’s Advice to Future Movers

Now a Computer Programmer at CGI Federal Center of Excellence – LFT and a seasoned Lafayette local, John has years of first-hand experience under his belt to share with those considering relocating to the region:

Take advantage of the many opportunities that South Louisiana has to get involved in the community and meet new friends.There are endless organizations at your fingertips, from government, education, health, economics, and social clubs. Just choose an initiative that you are passionate about, and get active! In his opinion, coming together in solidarity to make South Louisiana the happiest place it can be is the best way to fall in love with your new home and the beautiful people around you.

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