French Exchange Students Feel at Home at NWF State College

French exchange students 1

Pierre Guilet, Pierre Fonteneau, and Antoine Norrito-Liquiere may live an ocean away, but during their short time so far as students at Northwest Florida State College, they say that everyone has been so welcoming that it doesn't feel like they're very far from their homes in France.

"I feel like I've lived here for a long time," Guilet said.

Fonteneau said the three will be talking to each other in French and other students will overhear them and strike up a conversation.

"People are really nice here," Norrito-Liquiere added.

Guilet, 20, Fonteneau, 20, and Norrito-Liquiere, 21, are the first students to attend NWF State College under an agreement with the University of Nantes' University Technology Institute (IUT) at La Roche-sur-Yon. The memorandum of understanding was introduced and finalized by the now retired Dr. Cliff Herron. In March, Dr. Jeremy Ribando visited the university to rearticulate NWF State College's commitment to the exchange program and provide information to faculty and staff.

While at NWF State College, the three French students are studying in the Bachelor of Applied Science program in Management and Supervision. The trio say they have noticed differences between the academics at NWF State compared to their university back home.

Guilet said the instruction style at their school in France is more lecture-oriented, with teachers doing all of the talking and students just listening.

"Here it's more of a discussion between students and teachers, and I prefer this style," he said.

Norrito-Liquiere noted that here the students take fewer classes at a time, but they have more homework.

The French students also have noticed a wider variety in students' ages here, and say they like that some of their new classmates have been in the workplace and are able to bring real-world examples and perspectives to class discussions.

Some other observations the French students have had since arriving in Northwest Florida:

  • Military -- Norrito-Liquiere said the strong military presence in this area is very noticeable and it's obvious how important the military is to this community.
  • Weather -- "The weather is real nice here," Guilet said. "It's always summer here," Fonteneau added.
  • Beach -- Have they been to the beach yet? Norrito-Liquiere: "Oh, yeah."
  • Gas prices -- "Gas is cheaper here," Norrito-Liquiere noted.
  • Food -- "Your seafood is very great," Fonteneau said. "There is a lot of fast food everywhere," Norrito-Liquiere said, adding that they are making sure to try it all while they are here.
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