Thank you to our guest blogger Sommy Khalaj, who is a BS/MS student in Mechanical Engineering and ALIS studying at Georgia Tech-Lorraine this semester!

Students in the French – Sciences – Sustainability: French Immersion Program at Georgia Tech-Lorraine have the opportunity to learn in a hands-on way about sustainable development in local French communities. They are encouraged to engage with local businesses and organizations in such a way that they may practice French conversation and begin to enjoy the nuances of French culture. For example, students recently visited a local organization in Metz known as Maison du Vélo, where volunteers share their love of biking by teaching others how to bike. The immersion program students may opt to help out by repairing bikes in the shop, purchase a bike for a very fair price, or even join Maison du Vélo members on biking trips.

Students also had the opportunity to visit a local LGBTQIA+/minority organization known as Couleurs Gaies. One of the longest-standing members of Couleurs Gaies spoke to the students for about an hour about the history of the LBGTQ and minority community in the area and how the organization came to be.

With regard to sustainable development, the students were exposed to one organization that contributed to the city’s environmental well-being at Maison du Vélo, while students learned about the city’s social well-being at Couleurs Gaies. Experiences like these where students interact with the local community often become the highlight of their study abroad experience.