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J’adore the New French Students on Campus!

Have you walked around campus lately hearing bunch of students talking French? And you kind of feel like the French students are slowly taking over NCSU? Well don’t worry. NCSU will not mute into a French university anytime soon. However, it will welcome French students from the SKEMA Business School.
On September 21st, 2010 the official announcement was made that NCSU was chosen by SKEMA Business School for a partnership. This expanded NCSU’s international relations, giving the opportunity for French and American students to interact more efficiently.
SKEMA leases about 18,000 square feet on Centennial Campus, providing the SKEMA students with their own administrative staff and teachers. In January 2011, over 240 students from France (undergrad and graduate) relocated to Raleigh, NC. They will be staying for four months until the next set of students arrive for the fall semester.
Originally being from France myself, I must say that I was wondering what was happening at first. I felt like I was walking on a French campus in January, so I jumped on the opportunity to get more involved. I am now a volunteer to help the French students feel at home through a number of different activities. I try to spend time outside of classes with various groups of students, one of which includes Damien Tilly, Fabien Chenel, and Raphaël Tressieres.
On one Friday night when we were all out at dinner, I thought it would be a good idea to ask them what they thought about the overall experience and that city of Raleigh. Raphaël mentioned that “the campus is huge. It seems more like an actual city than a campus. There is this great feeling to be a part of something bigger than yourself. The school spirit, the sports, and the interactions between students are awesome!”
Damien said, “the campus is nothing like we are used to in France. It’s greater, bigger… and it’s fascinating to feel like it’s a more of a city than downtown Raleigh is with its own cinema, police…As far as the program goes, we are glad to study in GTI. The program is perfect for French people, and the speakers that come interact with our program are really interesting.”
Finally, Fabien has shared the opinion that it’s “sad that the SKEMA campus (on centennial) is so far from the actually central campus. The building is great! But I wish it were closer to where all the students are.”
I then asked them what their impressions of Raleigh were. As a whole, they shared the same opinions that Raleigh feels like a “ghost town”. They said the city is not very dynamic. The thing that stood out to them was Glenwood Avenue.

Raphaël said, “it’s a nice and fun environment with the bars, and clubs, and a lot of live music. I just wish there was more to it”. Fabien answered that; “It would be much easier if the students were provided cars. The fact that we have to go everywhere in a bus is not convenient, and taxis are too expensive.” Overall, the French students seem to enjoy the program and all have had fun. They try to use their free time to travel along the East Coast as well!

So next time you see a big group of French students, don’t be scared! Introduce yourself because interacting and learning about each other is what will help make this world a better place.
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