Student Experiences

“This program made my semester, absolutely. I learned so much with Dr. Kozhanova in class about the reality of issues in the environment, in the economy, and in society, all three facets of the greater goal: sustainability. Seeing how France was combating these issues was intriguing and has given me a lot of ideas for how I’d like to make my life and potentially others’ lives (at Georgia Tech in Atlanta) more sustainable. I was able to learn even more about the people and culture of France while out on our visits, not to mention the huge boost to my French speaking skills as a result, as well. These classes were my favorite of the semester, hands down, and that could be attributed to my pre-existing passion for the environment and discovering new ways that I could help. However, I believe that they had a genuine, positive impact on my understanding of the global issues that we’re facing in trying to live right by the planet.”

– Blake, SLS-France Student

“I really like the program and I like how we have so many options for field trips each week and how we talk about normal things like the environment and the world all in French. It helps me work on my French. Each field trip when we speak French and discuss topics that we are familiar with it allows us—at least me—to learn a lot of new things while communicating. Every field trip I am often asking how to say things and when I learn these new words and use them in real time it’s more effective than just in the classroom. And speaking of the classroom we are always learning useful things and how people talk in real life instead of just grammar in a textbook. With what we learn in class I am able to speak to people I meet Metz such as a French firefighter where we got to discuss the Amazon fires—a topic we covered in class!—as well as practice my French in writing emails to my professors that speak French and English. I could go on!”

– Morgan, SLS-France Student

“I learned more French during this half semester in the SLS-France Program than I have in my previous 5+ years of traditional classroom French studies. This was because the program allowed each one of us to take our studies and apply them outside of the classroom. We met with numerous different organizations around France that I had never heard about… yet each of them is doing amazing things in the areas of service and sustainability. For example, we visited organizations like Carrefour, a society that houses young refugees and helps facilitate their integration into French society; several different waste treatments plants who are moving towards more sustainable treatment; and volunteering with young school classes to help improve their English.

In addition to workshops on composting and zero-waste living, we visited the city of Strasbourg, to explore all the positive ways in which they are improving public transportation. I never would have thought that I could apply my French language course work to an area that I’d like to focus on after college – sustainability.”

– Raven, SLS-France Student


“It has been about six weeks since I started volunteering with Metz à Vélo. At first, I had no idea what to expect from the association, but now looking back I am so grateful to have chosen this organization to work with. Whenever we walk into the room everyone greets us with warm smiles on their faces and grease on their hands. Despite not understanding a lot of the vocabulary at first, everyone has been working to help us learn more each and every week. Not only are we improving our French skills, but we are getting hands on experience taking apart bicycles. For me the work is very cathartic. Each week at GTL we have to focus on school and studying, but Metz à Vélo is my own little sanctuary from that where I can just mindlessly take apart a bike and help promote recycling in Metz. If you have the opportunity to volunteer here, you do not have to be any good at the work, I definitely am not, but the women in charge Jennifer and Caroline are definitely worth the experience alone and I highly recommend it.”

– Catherine, SLS-France Student


“I am volunteering at Couleurs Gaies this semester. This organization interests me because I am a member of a similar organization at my university in the US. I like that I can meet the locals and learn their ways of life. It’s a bit difficult because they speak very fast, but this is a very good experience to improve French. My main job at Couleurs Gaies is to attend the bar and talk with the people who enter the lounge. Many people come here, young people, families, and many others. Most of the people who work there are young too, so it’s a lot of fun.”

– Josh, SLS-France Student

This semester, I am a volunteer at Carrefour. At Carrefour, I teach an English course to residents. Although there have not been many regular students attending the class, I hope I can better advertise the English class to Carrefour residents by preparing a poster with class details. In addition, I hope to get feedback from residents on the best time to schedule the course. Next week, I will also teach young Carrefour residents how to play American football. I am confident that these volunteer opportunities will help me improve my French and also make it possible for me to create true intercultural friendships.”

– Brendon, SLS-France Student