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A multicultural experience for X 2017 international students - part 1

26 international students who entered the Ingénieur Polytechnicien program are currently doing an immersion internship at the French Institute of Languages and Services (IFLS) in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, a beautiful city in the south-west of France. This cultural and linguistic internship lasts 4 months and contributes to their successful integration.

From September 19, 2017 to January 15, 2018, 26 international students follow an intensive language program at the French Institute of Languages and Services. These 26 students coming from China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine and Greece have 15 weeks to perfect their French before the start of classes in January on École Polytechnique’s campus.

A total immersion program

This linguistic program is very intense: besides 6 hours of French lessons per day, students are surrounded daily by the French language and culture. They are accommodated by French families who host the students during their whole stay. With their families, students learn everyday life vocabulary, discover how they live and last but not least, the French cuisine! They also have plenty of activities with the IFLS such as visiting cities and villages, outdoor activities, vineyard visits, discovery of the local radio… Moreover, they have to join an association, that they select, and each Wednesday afternoon, they take part in it: art, sport, volunteering, culture… the choice is wide!

Denis, 21 years old, Russian, coming from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Denis comes from a town in Siberia, 3 000 km from Moscow. He is a great sportsman: in Russia he practices volleyball, soccer, running and snowboarding. From now on, he is in the rowing club of Villeneuve. What he loves the most in Villeneuve: the weather! There is a huge contrast between the temperatures in his town in Siberia and in the south-west of France. His main difficulty is the oral comprehension but after 6 weeks at the IFLS, he already feels the progresses he has done. His stereotypes before living in France: a very good gastronomy, best vines in the world and a very romantic country. He would like to take part in the theatre association at l’X. One word about the linguistic stay at Villeneuve: great!

Zhiyuan, 21 years old, Chinese, coming from Nanjing University

Zhiyuan lives in Tianchang, a 600 000 inhabitants city, near Shanghai. At her arrival in Villeneuve, the cultural shock was strong! In China, she plays badminton but in Villeneuve, she goes to a gym club. She likes Villeneuve because it is a small but very welcoming and pleasant city. She is crazy about the French gastronomy, especially the one of the south west. She has decided to study at l’X for its worldwide reputation and its multidisciplinary formation. She would like to take lesson in social sciences, such as history or geopolitics and she would like to learn Spanish and Arabic! She gets along very well with her host family: she is convinced that the best way to learn a foreign language is to be in total immersion. During her studies at l’X, she would like to take part in the dance association.

Sophie Sebahi, president of the association “L’art en toit” (8 students joined the association)

The association “L’art en toit” (a play on words, meaning the art in you and the art in roof) was created in 2008, in the city of Saint-Denis in the suburbs of Paris, to allow underprivileged children to have access to art (several kinds of art, such as pottery, painting, drawing, mosaic…) She came to settle in Villeneuve 5 years ago because she fell in love with this beautiful and inspiring region! She works then with the IFLS, she met Valérie Raspaud, the president during a farewell ceremony of the X students. According to her, the international students are a real link between the people of Villeneuve; they enable them to meet each other and to create connections! The international students are well welcomed in the village and everyone is very happy to receive them!