BALLYNAHINCH engineering student Abel James Gibson was one of a number to recently enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip offering the opportunity to experience the French way of life in ways not available to a casual visitor.
He and his fellow engineering students from South Eastern Regional College’s Lisburn Campus undertook a five-day educational trip to leading French engineering College, Lycee Brossaud-Blancho, as part of an exchange programme.
The visit, organised by SERC as a result of their cultural exchange partnership with Lycee Brossaud-Blancho College, was the first of its kind and aimed to provide opportunities for students to develop professional skills and French language proficiency as well as helping to increase the students understanding and tolerance of other cultures.
A SERC spokesperson said, “The programme provided students with the opportunity to travel to St Nazaire on the west coast of France to gain a unique insight into the French way of life through a family living experience. “The students got the chance to experience amazing new insights, from learning a new culture, cuisine and language, to making new friends from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds, as well as sampling some of the courses offered by the college.
“They were given a wonderful opportunity to learn about their hosts’ local cultures and customs, make lifelong friends and have hopefully brought back a wealth of fascinating stories about their stay abroad.”
The students had the chance to work one-on-one with their French peers, participating in a range of engineering challenges, including fabrication, machining and fault-finding diagnostic software that leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus presented to the students. Highlights of the trip included a tour of Airbus and a day-long visit to the shipyard at St Nazaire where many of the world’s biggest and best holiday cruise ships are manufactured.